When Tuck & Tate decide to take a vacation, there is a very high chance that what we eat on that vacation matters just as much, if not more, as where we stay and what we see. Meals abroad have provided some of our best travel memories, whether that is eating at a three Michelin star restaurant or at a food truck on the side of the road. Food is also a gateway into the culture of where you travel and a great study in society and cultural constructs.
Creating An A & B List
We are not “group travel” kind of people, so an extensive (bordering OCD) level of planning goes into our trips. To start planning any vacation we make an A and B list of everything we want to eat, see and do on our trip. The historical places, museums, and landmarks are comprised by a number of Google searches and the purchase of a country guide book. The food list includes everything from particular restaurants to “must eat foods” that we should keep an eye out for as we walk about town. This is composed after reading a lot of blog posts and looking at the most updated versions of our favorite food lists (see below).
The A list items are the base of our itinerary. We geographically frame the trip around making arrangements and reservations to go, see and eat at these spots. The B list items become fillers when we have extra time, are located near an A list item, or realize that something on the A list isn’t the right fit. You’ll find our A and B lists within each travel post and we recommend that you do the same based on what you would like to eat, see and do during your time traveling.
Sources for Restaurants in the US & Abroad
Knowing what and where to eat abroad is a big challenge, particularly when visiting a country where you don’t speak the language. Here are a list of some of our favorite food resources to help you plan your vacation:
- www.eater.com – great resource for major cities in the US and some cities internationally.Each city’s site features the Essential 38 Map and the Eater Hot List- maps that seasonally update the most popular or “essential” restaurants for that city. What we love about this site is that you will find a full range of prices and atmospheres – you aren’t limited to upscale pricey options.
- The World’s 50 Best List – this list is created by the team at San Pellegrino each year ranking the top 100 restaurants in the world. This is the list to look at for ultra high end dining. The list receives a lot of criticism for how it’s created, but if you have no idea about fine dining options where you’re traveling, this is a great place to start.
- Food and Wine World’s Best Restaurants List – this list came out in the summer of 2019 and is a smaller, yet more approachable list compared to the World’s 50 Best list.
Creating A “Must Eat” Foods List
This is an extra step for the average traveler, but is a great way to encourage exploration while on vacation. Many restaurants and food markets abroad won’t have an English menu, so having some familiarity of common dishes that you might enjoy is a great way to prepare for your trip and make creating positive eating experiences. At Tuck & Tate we provide you with our list for each country we visit in our travel guides as a jumping off point for your own vacation planning.
Downloading a Translator App
Regardless if you use this for food, this is very useful if you’re traveling to a country where you don’t speak the language and cannot read the letters of the alphabet. Having an app that you can hold up to a menu or street sign that automatically translates for you is game-changing abroad. Some of our best food-related travel memories come from visiting food markets throughout Asia. Many of the vendors in these markets don’t speak English, so having an app to help guide you makes your interactions much easier and creates a better experience while ordering and interacting with locals.
Look Into Local Transportation Options
We highly recommend checking to see what transportation apps are available in the country you are visiting. After spending our first day in Paris, we realized that Bird and Lime scooters were everywhere in the city, and quickly activated our cell phones so that we could travel via scooter for the rest of the trip. Not only did this save us a money on Ubers, time we would have spent aimlessly walking, but we were able to see everything at street level instead of being underground on a subway. If a boulangerie looked amazing, we pulled over and ate something from there. When Dior had the most incredible Christmas window display, we stopped and had a quick look around. Even in chilly December, we loved the scooters for the flexibility it provided us as we were moving about the city.