Foodie travelers like me fantasize about eating one of those delicious Austrian cakes in a Viennese café. Or perhaps we dream of sampling delicious international foods while traveling to faraway places. Whatever the case, it’s hard to deny food and travel go hand-in-hand. For most food enthusiasts, meals are a highlight of any vacation. But foodie travelers know how to plan the perfect trip!
If you’d love to plan a culinary adventure trip for yourself in the new year, be sure to read these tips. They will help you plan your fantastic, food-centric vacation so you can enjoy some of the best food in the world.
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How to Plan A Foodie Trip for Yourself
CONTENTS: In this article, you will learn all about foodie tourism, how to plan a foodie trip for yourself (or with help), and you will be well on your way to being among the best foodie travelers. This includes:
- What is A Foodie?
- What is Food Tourism?
- 1. Embrace the Mindset of A Foodie Traveler
- 2. Decide on A Food Focus for Your Trip
- 3. Consider Traveling to The Best Foodie Destinations in the US and Worldwide
- 4. Plan Your Tasting Itinerary
- 5. Consider Whether To Book Foodie Travel Tours
- 6. Decide if You Want More Help Planning Your Foodie Trip
- Final Thoughts on Planning a Perfect Foodie Trip
What is A Foodie?
A foodie is someone who especially appreciates “good food.” They may seek gourmet food, farm-to-table dishes, organic ingredients, home-cooked meals, and world cuisine.
Some common foodie phrases that are a sure tip-off you might be a foodie include: “artisanal,” “deconstructed,” “kitchen-driven cocktails,” “carefully curated,” “slow food,” and “re-imagined.”
Guilty? Read on.
What is Food Tourism?
Food tourism is traveling to understand and experience a place through its local and traditional cuisine. It’s also called culinary tourism and gastronomic tourism. According to the World Food Travel Association, travelers spend between 25-35% of their travel budget on food and drinks.
Sound good to you?
Then here’s how to plan your perfect foodie trip.
1. Embrace The Mindset of Foodie Travelers
If you’re a world traveler, chances are you’ve already got the right mindset to a certain degree. (For more on how to be a more mindful traveler, read this article.)
In short, foodie travelers needs to have an open mind and an adventurous palette.
Most travelers know it’s important not to judge different cultures and their traditions. The same is true about world food—at least not without first tasting it for yourself.
Of course, there may be things that make you squeamish.
And that’s ok.
You don’t have to try those, unless of course, you aspire to be like Andrew Zimmern of ‘Bizarre Foods’ food travel shows fame.
If you have allergies or aversion to a particular ingredient, you’ll also want to be sure it’s off the menu.
Once your mindset is right, as they say: “the world is your oyster.
You can expect the foods of the world to delight your palate on some of the best food vacations.
2. Decide On A Food Focus
When you’re planning a foodie trip, you have a unique opportunity to “put the cart before the horse.” What I mean is, rather than starting by choosing a destination, you might instead plan the trip around a certain food experience you want to have.
Here are some different foodie themes you might consider when planning your trip around food.
- Street Foods
- Food Lifestyle (Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, etc.)
- Michelin Rated
- Immersive Cooking experiences
- Regional Specialties
Would any one (or more!) of these food experiences be the kind you’d like to embark upon as foodie travelers?
Whether you swoon for sticky gooey Baklava flavors from Greece, or have a hankering for Thailand’s traditional Mango sticky rice, you can let your tastes guide your travel decisions while you sample food around the world.
Love Seafood? How about planning a trip to a place known to have some of the freshest seafood and cuisine…let’s say The Amalfi Coast? Not only is it one of the most picturesque places in Italy, it’s one of the best food destinations, too.
If you’re a fan of French cuisine, you might enjoy an informal taste test between Croque Madame vs. Croque Monsieur, sampling from the best cafés in Paris.
Love a little bit of everything? Then a tapas experience in Spain would be a perfect fit.
These are just a few examples of letting your food interests guide you to travel all over the world.
Another way is to choose from the best travel destinations for foodies, which follow.
3. The Best Foodie Destinations in the US and Worldwide
Once you decide on a theme, the next question to answer is, “How far will you travel for it?”
You might start by considering the best-rated foodie destinations in the US and around the world.
Most people know you’ll find delicious offerings when it comes to French cuisine, or even at a
But don’t overlook other foodie destinations near and far. Here are some of the best places for food tourism around the world.
Best Foodie Cities in the US for Foodie Travelers
- Charleston, SC
- Chicago, IL
- Los Angeles, CA
- Napa Valley, CA
- New Orleans, LA
- New York City, NY
- San Francisco, CA
- Savannah, GA
- Seattle, WA
- Sonoma, CA
You’ll find some great international foodie destinations, too.
Best Food Cities Worldwide
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Florence, Italy
- Kyoto, Japan
- Lyon, France
- Mendoza, Argentina
- Oaxaca, Mexico
- Paris, France
- San Miguel de Allende
- San Sebastian, Spain
Countries with the Best Food for Foodie Travelers
Hint: Start a foodie bucket list.
Foodie Travel Near You
Rest assured, you may not have to go far to enjoy authentic cuisine; it might be enough to visit a local neighborhood in a food city near you.
Even if you’re not in one of the top foodie cities, you’ll find that many cities have their own Chinatown, “Little Italy,” and other delicious pockets of world food and drink and culture.
Here’s what I mean.
Near or far, break out your foodie road trip planner and hit the road. Sometimes you’ll discover fantastic world foods right under your nose.
4. Plan Your Tasting Itinerary
Now that you have an idea on the kinds of foods you’re looking to try, and have chosen your destination, you’ll want to plan specific stops on your itinerary.
Spend some time thinking about and doing research online as to what stops you might like to try. Keep in mind whether you have a certain theme or just want to try a bit of everything.
Foodie Travel Themes
Then, consider working some of the following into your foodie travel itinerary:
- Regional foods and favorites
- Famous Restaurants
- Cute Cafes
- Specialty Stores (for cheese, chocolates, olives, etc.)
- Bustling Food Markets
- Savory Street Foods
- Interesting Cocktail Lounges
Where to Find Restaurant Reviews
Always make sure you take a good look at reviews you can find before committing each stop to your plans.
Here are some popular places where you’ll find other diners’ opinions to scout out the best places to visit for foodies:
- Food travel blog reviews
- Facebook Comments
Sites like TripAdvisor and LonelyPlanet tend to give you an excellent overview of the favorite food specialties in each destination.
Another great way to map your foodie travel tours is to take inspiration from Instagram. You can identify the best places for foodies including the most popular restaurants and coffee shops in no time. You might even DM someone directly to ask questions about their experience.
While your experience might be different, doing enough research ahead of time reduces the likelihood of making an obviously bad choice and instead, finding top food destinations.
What if You Can’t Find Online Recommendations?
If you don’t find recommendations, reviews, or feedback online about a particular restaurant, trust your instinct. The more you embrace your role as foodie travelers, the better your instinct will become.
If a restaurant is crowded, that’s a good sign! But keep your eyes out for hidden gems, too. Who knows? You might discover the next “best kept secret.”
What to Put on Your Foodie Itinerary?
My suggestion is to plan out 1-2 specific food stops per day that coincide with your travels, but also to leave room for some impromptu stops or the local’s “must try” recommendations.
When drafting your itinerary, pencil in plenty of time for getting to and from the destination, as well as ample time for dining at a leisurely pace. You might want to add a little buffer for the unforeseen, too.
Sometimes as important as the food itself is the ambiance.
For instance, good foodie travelers know a charcuterie board paired with sparkling wine is delicious—but it’s even better served on the deck of a schooner on a sunset sail.
Likewise, you can count on a Michelin-rated dinner for an outstanding meal—but it’s made all the more magical at a table on high overlooking the city lights.
Do you get the idea? You want to take into the actual dining experience in addition to the food.
Here’s another tip that is somewhat obvious:
If you’re not sure what to order, you can always ask the waitstaff for their recommendation. They usually know the specialties of the house and region, and which dishes on the menu are crowd-pleasers. They can also help you choose something based on your tastes.
Even when the wait-staff’s recommendation isn’t what I would have chosen, I’ve never been disappointed—sometimes Wowed!—by their recommendation.
5. Consider Whether To Book Foodie Travel Tours
If this all sounds like a lot of work, it can be. Especially if you’re planning a big trip.
In that case, you might book a foodie tour for some or all of your culinary experiences. The good news is, you can find plenty of high-quality foodie tour programs who know the ropes and offer the best of the best.
A foodie tour typically combines a few tasting stations in one region or city. Some tours also let you learn some preparation secrets with an immersive cooking experience.
If you’re heading to Italy, for instance, you can join a pasta tour where you’ll travel and cook, learning how to make your own pasta.
You’re accompanied by a guide, which means that you can get access to the behind-the-scene stage and preferential prices in restaurants. This is like gold card status for foodie travelers!
Remember, you don’t even have to travel out of the country to enjoy food tours. They are a lot of fun even when they are close to home.
4. Do You Want More Planning Your Whole Foodie Trip?
If your foodie trip requires significant travel or is a multi-day excursion, you may want to enlist further help with your planning.
A full tour, for instance, will allow you to skip the hassle of finding your flight and hotel, and plan out your daily activities. Then, you don’t have to worry about any additional travel authorization and documentation as your travel agent and the tour company will take care of everything for you.
In fact, some travel agencies will plan the entire trip on your behalf, including transport, flight, accommodation, food tours, and other activities, even if it’s not part of a full tour.
You might think this service comes at a big cost, but if you’re not comfortable planning extensive or overseas trips, it’s a good idea to rely on knowledgeable professionals to save you from wasting money. They can often find the best deals and sometimes even guarantee the lowest price.
In either case, it’s worth inquiring before you go it alone.
Should I Book By Myself?
If you are comfortable navigating the online spaces and ready to book your next trip by yourself, then by all means book your transportation yourself. Booking your flight and hotel without an agency forces you to look around for the best travel deals.
This is a task that many savvy travelers have down to a science. But even beginners will have success with websites such as CheaperBookings. They give you better chances of finding a budget-friendly solution that ticks all your boxes. Plus, you can find a lot of foodie destinations if you spend some time searching.
So, what’s the right approach to a foodie trip?
There is no right or wrong answer. It depends on what you’re more comfortable doing.
A fully scheduled tour via an agency can be hassle-free. On the other hand, you can blend into the local culture by taking the matter into your own hands.
Or, you can have your cake and eat it by combining a planned food tour with some free time for off-track visits.
Final Thoughts on Planning a Trip for Foodie Travelers
Hopefully, you now have a better sense of what’s involved in planning a fun foodie trip and becoming more of a food traveller.
A final thought: One of the most important things to remember is that whether you plan a world food trip or a foodie trip to Boston, you just never know when you’ll discover the best culinary destination in the world. Bon appetit!
Are you a foodie? What’s your favorite kind of food and where do you find it? Do any of these ideas inspire you? Let us know in the comments below!
This article is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate links. As always, all opinions expressed are my own. For more information, please see the following Disclosure.
Photo credits: Photo – Lindsay Lenard, Woman eating – Pablo Merchán Montes (Unsplash); Chang Mai – japanibackpacker, Steak – RitaE, Cheese – Engin Akyurt (Pixabay)
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