This blog post was updated on August 4, 2021.
We live in a time where so much of the information we need or want is at our fingertips 24/7. With this convenience often comes information overload, making it difficult to answer one of the most common questions my travel mates ask me: “where should we eat?”
Have no fear, here are some tried and true tips for sorting through that information and choosing a restaurant while traveling internationally.
Get a Feel for the Local Landscape
One of the first things you should do after dropping off your bags is to stroll the neighborhood where you’re staying. Pay special attention to which restaurants seem to have a good crowd and who is eating there. If a restaurant seems to be full of locals, make a mental note (or take a photo) to remember to eat there at some point during my stay. Don’t be afraid to ask locals (in shops, etc.) where they like to eat and check out those spots during your trip.
Follow Food Writers on Social Media
Depending on how much time you have before you hop on those cheap international flights and jet set on your adventure abroad, try to do some research on restaurants beforehand (or on the plane). One easy way to start this research process is to find some food writers on social media who seem to have similar tastes to yours. Follow them on social media and sort their posts by hashtags to see their recommendations for various locations. One easy way to keep track of this info is to screenshot restaurant recommendations and store them in a photo folder on your phone.
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Check Out Some “Best Of” Articles
Although being mentioned in a publication doesn’t necessarily mean a restaurant is worth your time and money, reading through some “best of” lists will give you a feel for the types of cuisines and price points that are available in various locations. You can find these anywhere from well-known online publications to print media and magazines. (And, for all you street food lovers out there, we also have a bunch of excellent recommendations here on the blog!)
Peruse the Reviews
Once you’ve identified a few places you want to try, check out the reviews these restaurants received to see what other travelers and locals are saying about these spots. Of course, you can’t believe everything you read online, but scrolling through a dozen or so reviews will give you a better idea of what to expect about various restaurants you come across.
Remember That Diversity is Key
Whether you’re an avid traveler, or about to embark on your first cheap international flights, one of the things you’ll quickly learn (or already know) while traveling internationally is that dining out is way more enjoyable if you diversify your culinary choices. Headed to Cairo? It’s a melting pot of many international cuisines, so you’re in luck! Try out some traditional Egyptian cuisine one night and switch over to some Mediterranean food another night. Mixing it up like this keeps things exciting and allows me to experience a variety of restaurants that I might not have otherwise thought to try in that particular location.
Team Up to Makes Your Culinary Dreams Come True!
Remember, you don’t always have to be the one who answers the question “Where should we eat?” Spread the fun (and sometimes work) around by having your travel companions research and choose restaurants as well. Since we all tend to gravitate to certain types of cuisines and restaurant experiences, this is a great way to diversify your experience and your palette.
Have any tasty tips for choosing the best places to eat abroad? Let us know!
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