The business of eating is a big part of any travel experience. While experimenting with local foods can be a highlight of your trip, it can also be the source of grave discomfort. Not only is it easy to eat the wrong thing and get sick, but a lack of food planning can strain your budget and lead to unnecessary annoyances and even bickering among your companions. The pitfalls of eating as a traveler fall into three categories:
- Being stuck without food at mealtimes
- Spending an arm and a leg three times a day
- Getting sick from suspicious food.
With a little forethought, however, there are thing that a traveler can do to minimize the risks and expenses. The trick is to dedicate a little forethought and follow common sense preventative measures. Very little is certain when you are on the road, so the better prepared you are, the less risk you run of coming up short when your tummy is rumbling. Here are 5 foods that might save you the next time you travel.
1. Fruit with a peel: This is nature’s lunch box. Not only is fruit great for energy and for maintaining a strong immune system, it doesn’t need refrigeration and it comes with its own biodegradable wrapper. Grab an apple and a banana from the continental breakfast buffet at the hotel on your way out the door.
2. Trail mix:
Buy it ready-made, or save some money and throw together some peanuts and raisins. Add a few chocolate chips as a treat. Should push come to shove, it is possible to live perfectly well on trail mix alone for a long time—at least until you find a restaurant.
Number 1 and number 2 together plus a bottle of water are all you need to prepare for a day’s excursion. Many parts of the world eat at distinct times, and there may not be a restaurant where you thought there would be one. Taking the precaution of taking filling snacks along frees you up to go with the flow.
If you do need to eat in a restaurant that seems suspicious, soup is often your safest bet. At least you know it’s been cooked well. Avoid pork and beef in these situations, and be aware that many soups in Asian and South American countries can be very spicy.
4. Daily Special: Another good trick when visiting a restaurant sight unseen is to just order the special. In theory, this dish will be something fresh. Another good rule of thumb is to scan any dining room for locals—the more there are the better.
5. Pasta with red sauce: When Marco Polo brought pasta to Italy from China, it was just the beginning of a trend. This might be the world’s most successful food import. You can find it almost anywhere, it is very mild on the intestinal tract and best of all, and kids love it.
In order to save money, maintain a high energy level, and avoid food poisoning, it pays off to follow these travel eating tips. While eating at a nice restaurant is an essential part of any vacation, it can get boring and unhealthy if it’s all you do. Packing snacks, picnic lunches, light meals, and the occasional luxurious dinner out is highly recommended for a well-rounded and healthy travel experience.