For the culinary traveler, there is nothing more invigorating than circumnavigating the globe looking for the best and most exotic cuisine. Not only is it good to experience new things, but science shows that doing so can actually make you happier as well! Those who have been doing it for years know all the best tricks and tips along with the best restaurants on every continent.
If you are new to the world of culinary travel, we are here to help. We have compiled some of the lesser-known techniques for making your trip as safe and exciting as possible. Let’s look at what you need to know before your first trip, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider these tips, and your culinary debut will be smooth and satisfying.
Planning Your Trip
Although it may sound exciting to jump off of the couch and travel headlong to your first destination, without proper planning and budgeting, you will be at a loss once you get there. When it comes to your budget, it is not only about your lodging and transportation but also about the food you hope to buy. Write out your plan for each day. During which meals will you eat out and when can you pack a lunch? Also, factor in the maximum amount of money you hope to pay for any given meal.
Of course, to know how much you may have to spend, you will want to research the cuisine in the area you are traveling to ahead of time. If you go to a new destination, you will want to eat like a local, so research the best dishes in town. You may also want to learn a bit about the language so you can properly place your order. While you are budgeting, look at what food you can afford to eat this time and what should probably wait for your next trip.
When planning for your trip, hydration should be your top concern, especially if it is a warmer season or if you will be walking around a lot during your stay. A big tip is to bring or buy a refillable bottle that you can fill when necessary. You will want to do some research ahead of time about the water quality at your destination so you know what you should and shouldn’t drink. As a rule, if you are served an unsealed container of water, and you are unsure of its quality or origin, avoid it at all costs.
Traveling and Sickness
When you are traveling to a new place, safety is key, especially during COVID-19. It is more imperative now than ever to be aware of your surroundings and avoid touching people and areas that have not been sanitized. Pack or buy a container of hand sanitizer and use it after eating, shopping, or any other activities that involve using your hands. Before you leave for your trip, engage in a quarantine of sorts for 14 days while you avoid large gatherings and avoid contact with those you don’t live with so you don’t get sick for your trip.
Even without the coronavirus, you always want to take a minute before any trip to check the travel restrictions of the state or country that you are visiting. Some areas may require you to quarantine before heading out into public, and they may restrict what you can bring. Before you go on any international trip, visit your doctor and ensure that you are up on your vaccinations and that you have enough medicine to last the length of your visit.
If you deal with an ongoing condition, such as acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), then you know the struggle associated with eating specific diets to manage chronic conditions. Research the food at your destination ahead of time so you know what to avoid, which may include spicy food, citrus fruits, and even chocolate. Laying down for an extended time after eating can lead to a buildup of stomach acid, so take that time to walk around, tour the sights, and scope out your next dish.
Transporting and Shipping Considerations
There is a good chance that you will travel to a destination with food so tasty that you absolutely must ship some home. It’s a good idea, especially if you want to share the dish with a loved one, but you must be aware of travel and shipping restrictions. Research this information ahead of time, so you have realistic expectations.
When shipping food, you want it to arrive at its destination in as good of quality as possible. To do so, ship the package as early as you can, making sure to label the outside of the box with the word “perishable.” If you want your food to remain cold during its travels, be sure it is insulated. You can do that by purchasing an insulated bag and then putting that inside of the shipping container. Of course, any box you send home should be properly sealed and secured.
If you are thinking about bringing home any smaller items, then you may be able to pack them in your suitcase, but keep in mind there are restrictions there as well. Most beverages are limited to 1.3 gallons. Many types of food can be placed in your carry-on without issue, including bread, candy, and cereal, among others. However, for special items such as seafood, oils, and sauces, you will almost always have to put them in your checked bags. You can research every type of food on the TSA website linked above.
With all that said, congrats on your first trip as a culinary traveler! You are sure to have a blast. Consider the tips we have discussed here, and you can stay ahead of potential complications. We are excited about the new foods you will taste and experience.
About the Author
Adrian Johansen craves adventures and knowledge almost as much as she craves sushi. She writes both to learn and inform others and loves conversations that teach her new things. You can find more of her writing here.