Healthy [kind-of], Budgeted, Local Eating While Abroad

HI GUYS, TODAY I HAVE A GUEST POST FOR YOU AND I AM SUPER EXCITED!! So while I am off registering for classes and trying to find my way around this campus I have a very good friend here to talk to you. Jenn and I go way back…all the way to high school. She also just recently traveled abroad so I thought it would be a good idea for her to share a post, seeing as some of my readers are currently studying abroad or are going in the future. So I’ll hand it over to Jenn and enjoy!!

Hello Kat’s Meow readers!

Jennifer here from The Gourmetour, and I am so excited to write this guest post for Katherine. Katherine and I have been long time friends, dating back to the early years of High School. Unfortunately Katherine and I were out of touch for a little while we adjusted to life at our respective Loyola’s [Maryland for Katherine, Chicago for me!], but fate led the way and she and I were reunited through our love for food and blogging!

Katherine and I started our blogs around the same time and have been mentoring and encouraging each other along the way. I am so blessed to have such a great blogger friend as Katherine is!

I created The Gourmetour as a reference to my friends, family, and anyone who was interested to learn a little about food, find yummy restaurants, and quickly track down a recipe or too. I must say The Gourmetour has grown up a bit since the original days, but with that my love for the blogger community has grown too. I hope you find a second to stop by and check it out, I’d love to see you there!

Anyways, enough of the sentimental history lesson and onto the whole reason for my guest post: International Travel!

Over the summer I spent a month gallivanting around Europe [6 countries to be exact!] with 3 of my best friends. We saw a lot of sites, and tasted a lot of foods, and with those experiences I was able to form a better understanding of various cultures and what it means to be a guest in each culture.

I want to offer out a few tips and guidelines to follow while abroad, they helped me tremendously and I have faith that you can take something away from them too!

1.) Always go where the locals go.

You may be wondering: “But how do I know where that is?” Well, my answer to you is to spend the day, or evening, wondering around neighborhoods that are not listed in city guide books as tourist destinations. This may be a no-brainer to some, but it’s actually harder to do than one would imagine.

Take note of cute side alley restaurants and pubs. Wonder in and out of local markets and boutiques.

2.) Speak the language.

Not fluent in that language [or even a second language.. ehem ME]? Don’t worry about it. Master key phrases such as typical conversational lines and questions about where the locals go. Word of thumb is always greet locals in their language [and put a solid effort in pronunciation!] and after they have responded, proceed to ask if they speak English.

Ask people where their favorite places to go are. Ask them for the most reasonably priced restaurants that offer their favorite meals. Do your research, not in travel books, but through human interaction.

3.) Find the local Restaurants, and eat recommended dishes.

Apply all of the above rules and you will find yourself here, in the restaurants of the locals. Ask for dish recommendations by both the people who recommended the spot to you, and by the waiters. If you are able to eat that dish [no allergies, etc.] but you are unsure of how you will like it, then the answer it simply to try it. End of discussion.

4.) Split dishes.

If you find your way to the local restaurants you’re already saving money. Restaurants located in tourist destinations almost always have a price mark-up. Remember that. But, another way to save money and to allow yourself to try new foods is to share dishes with your friends. Your friends may pick something you never would have, or you can split a portion to save money and calories without compromising your selection! Whether you want to share two dishes or split one you will get to try new things and/or save money!

5.) Follow their schedule.

Are you one of the thousands of Americans that eats dinner between 5:30 and 7:00pm? Well then, this rule is for you. Europeans don’t typically eat lunch until 1:00 or 2:00pm (13:00 or 14:00) and dinner after 8:00pm (20:00). If you want to be treated like a local and eat like a local, well you better well follow this rule. You’ll find your experience during their hours to be much more enjoyable than your hours.

6.) Drink their drank.

Seriously. The house wine is the best wine [usually]. Ask their recommendation, in their language, and you’ll be sure to have a wonderful bottle glass of wine. The prices will be way lower and you’ll be much happier. There’s really not much more to say about it.

I hope you all enjoyed my tips and tricks! Enjoy!

Let’s talk:

Do you follow any of these rules already?

What are some rules not listed here that you would recommend to international travelers?

What are some of your favorite culinary destinations abroad?


3 thoughts on “Healthy [kind-of], Budgeted, Local Eating While Abroad

  1. Pingback: A mini vacation « the kats meow

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with Jennifer re locals etc. She’s right on with ALL her suggestions!!! Unfortunately when I was in Paris I couldn’t get my friends to think this way!!!! That’s why I’ll travel alone in the future. I won’t miss much the next time!

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