If you’ve ever traveled hundreds of miles to get a taste of sautéed crab from Maryland, if your bucket list of places is organized by the foods you want to try, or if you simply enjoy food that is authentic to the region in which it is served, you probably merit the title of “foodie.” And you’re not alone; with the advent of food tourism services like Eatwith, Airbnb experiences, and Withlocals, trips to satiate the cuisine-curious are on the rise.
Food tourism goes beyond indulging in a few dishes prepared by expert chefs; people who travel for food do so with the intention of connecting more deeply to the region. The source of the ingredients matters. The way it’s prepared and who’s doing the preparation are also things to consider. Tasting some amazing pasta is nice, but going to Italy and having an Italian nonna teach you how to make homemade tagliatelle while she regales you with tales of her youth is even better.
The term “culinary tourism” can sometimes come off as elitist, but people engaged in this sort of tourism are just as likely to be found queueing up for some street food among hungry locals as they are in 3-star Michelin restaurants with the well heeled. The price of the food isn’t what makes the trip special; it’s about engaging with the locals and their authentic cuisine to become more fully immersed in the place.
Eatwith, a service dedicated to connecting foodies to local providers, offers dining experiences, food tours, and cooking classes that allow those hungering for more than food alone to engage with the culture. Instead of taking a classic walking tour of Athens, why not sample phyllo pies on an evening food tour led by a local Greek? Rather than trying your luck on the first few macarons you see in Paris, how about taking a macaron-making class with a MasterChef and sipping champagne as your creations bake?
Eatwith has over 25,000 hosts in 130 countries, all eager to share their generational knowledge with those interested. If the foodie in you is intrigued, contact me so we can start planning your culinary adventure!
If you are a parent, you may know that taking trips with kids requires a little extra planning; if you are a grandparent, you may be doubly familiar with this sentiment. Traveling with little ones can be a rewarding experience for everyone involved - it just takes a slightly different approach from planning adult-only travel.
Thinking ahead is key. First off, children are often scheduled in myriad activities, so even just finding the time to take a vacation can take some doing. If you’re a grandparent taking your grandchildren without their parents, you will be coordinating with the parents’ schedules; you may also need a letter of permission from the parents if you are taking your grandchild out of the country.
Aside from those initial logistics, it’s a good idea to try and make the actual traveling process - the planes, trains, and automobiles part - as smooth as possible. You can apply for the TSA pre-check program to minimize your time waiting in airport security lines, select your seats to ensure that you are sitting together and in the seats you want, book nonstop flights to decrease layover times or transfers, and arrange for ground transportation ahead of time so that you have fewer logistics to think about when you arrive in a potentially unfamiliar location. Your travel agent can help you get all of these things in order.
When it comes to the destination itself, plan now to make things easier later for both you and the children with whom you’re traveling. Even the most seasoned travelers can get turned around in a new place; being responsible for children at the same time can compound the stress of the situation. Booking a guide for your activities can help take some of the pressure off your shoulders. Also, building in down time and giving the kids some space (whether that’s an adjoining room or a workshop for kids) will keep everyone in better spirits.
Introducing children to traveling at such a young age can be a fantastic way to give them exposure to new cultures and worldviews, while at the same time deepening the bond that you share with them. All it takes is a little planning, which is something I’d be happy to help you with. Let me know when you’re ready to begin planning your next family adventure!
Author: Debra Harris
As founder of Life’s Journey Travel, I’m deeply passionate about creating custom travel experiences that allow my clients to truly savor the journey.