Savvy Travel & Family Time

10 Things to Think About When Choosing Restaurants on Vacation

Taking a trip to a foreign destination can be a great opportunity to see the world and taste some of its fantastic foods. Dining out abroad is a great way to experience the culture of the country you are visiting and broaden your tastes by trying new and exciting dishes.

Making the right decisions can often be intimidating, and you could have your family or fellow traveling guests relying on you to choose a good restaurant. This quick guide should offer you plenty of food for thought when eating out in a foreign country, with ten top tips to stop you picking the wrong place and spoiling your evening.

Know the Local Cuisine

Anytime you are traveling somewhere it is worth doing a little research on the local cuisine and specialties. Food is culture, and if you travel a long distance just to offer your taste buds the food they are used to, you are missing out on the chance to taste the world as well as see it. Get online and have a look at what local delicacies you can expect when you go out on the town at your vacation destination.

Think About Your Fellow Diners

Your fellow travelers may have special dietary requirements that you should bear in mind. When traveling with children you should always make sure there is a recognizable option for them to keep them feeling comfortable. Fortunately, a plate of French fries is available just about anywhere in the world, and fast food outlets have spread out to every corner of the world, giving children something they know and love to eat wherever they are in the world.

Look Online for Reviews

You are never the first person to travel to your destination, and many people today review foreign restaurants and post their reviews online for other travelers. There are many websites that help you. For example, if you are traveling to Marbella in Spain, you read more about these restaurants, and the site can offer you valuable insights into what you can expect to find at your holiday destination. Reviews like these can be very valuable if you are looking for child-friendly places, or to make sure special dietary needs are provided for.

Ask a Friend or a Guide

You may well have a friend who has visited your holiday spot before and knows a good restaurant or two. You may even make a friend while staying at your destination that can offer good advice, or a friendly worker at your hotel might have some top tips for your stay. A little knowledge can be a powerful thing, and people love to share a good restaurant tip so be sure to ask around.

Try to Call Ahead

English is probably the world’s most widely spoken language, and if you are traveling abroad you are likely in an area that is used to English-speaking tourists looking for a place to eat. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call a restaurant to make inquiries. If the first person you speak to doesn’t have great English skills, the chances are there is someone else on the staff that has the vocabulary to help you out if you hold the line.

Speak to ‘Ex-Pats’

‘Ex-Pats’, or people who have emigrated to another country from yours, can be found in just about every country and major city. You will often find websites and forums online where these communities exchange information, and you should go and have a look to see if there is any information about your destination from an emigre. You may well find this community when you reach your holiday location, and they will often be happy to help someone from back home find a good place to eat.

Find a Regular Place

It’s a good idea to always have a good restaurant to fall back on if your plans to go elsewhere don’t work out. If you find a restaurant that everyone in your traveling party likes, perhaps something recognizable from home like a local chain outlet, you should always keep this place in mind if you go somewhere else and don’t like the look of the menu or the establishment. This way, if you need to find somewhere in a hurry, you already have a place to go to.

Make Sure You Look Around Too

If you do find a place you like, don’t get too used to it. Many travelers find a single restaurant and eat every night there, but this is missing a great opportunity to experience other tastes, sights, and sounds of the culture you are visiting. Make sure you look around when you are exploring, and even ask your regular restaurant if they have any recommendations for different places to eat.

Check Social Media

Social media apps and sites like Facebook and Instagram can often be a valuable source of information about your vacation destination. Many apps use GPS technology, so with your location information, your apps may start recommending local businesses to you shortly after you land. Sites like Groupon are also invaluable, as they can offer you details on popular local restaurants as well as discounts and deals.

Buy a Travel Book

It may sound like an old school solution but finding a place to eat abroad is an old school problem, so buying a travel book for your destination is often a wise plan. Many people will have faced the same dilemmas as you, in the same place, and you can learn from their experiences with a decent travel guide. There are even books specifically aimed at solo travelers or travelers with young children, to help you find the right place to dine out abroad.

Eating out when you are in a foreign country can be intimidating, especially if you have a family relying on you to make their choice for them. By taking just a few of these steps you can make sure you get a good taste of your destination’s cuisine, without wasting a good meal in a bad restaurant.

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