The Ultimate Bucket List for Foodie Travels

If, like me, you live to eat rather than eat to live…you’re probably on the hunt for some of the best things to eat around the world and adding to your food bucket list as we speak. Foodie travels are the best, right?

Do your travel plans revolve around which restaurants you want to eat at? Or what delicious delicacies you can dip into? Your daily itinerary takes food into account more than sightseeing?

Yes, yes, and yes?

Yep, you’re a foodie! I like you 🙂

After binge watching Netflix’s Somebody Feed Phil I became just a little bit more obsessed with food and how it fits in so well with my passion for travel. Eating in foreign destinations is one of my most favorite things to do. Some of my favorite food memories while traveling include a pulled pork sandwich in Edinburgh, seafood Pad Thai in Koh Phi Phi, butter chicken and garlic naan on a beach in Goa, and the most tender and delicious calamari in Cape Town.

Food is one of the greatest ways to get to know a destination. To delve into its culture, its people, its land, and to figure out what makes it tick. No matter where you go, you’ll likely find something delicious. Though, some places are better than others. And there are certain delicacies around the world that would appeal to more palettes than others. Then there are the foods that are just so damn delicious you won’t truly have lived until you’ve tried them.

These are the foods worth traveling for. The foods that are just so much better when enjoyed in their origin country. The foods that will leave you speechless.

So, for the foodie travelers out there. For the guys that dream about food in far flung destinations. Here is the ultimate food bucket list of things to eat around the world.

Side note: you may want to have a few snacks nearby as you’ll most definitely be salivating before the end of this post. I’ve already dipped into my stash…

Let’s dig in!

Related Read: Best Culinary Tours Around The World

Foodie travels: The ultimate food bucket list

Pizza in Italy

Yes, yes. It’s a bit cliché. But the best things are, aren’t they? That’s why everyone harps on about them. The original pizza originated in Naples, so if you’re the traditional type then that’s where you should head over to. Though, you’ll still find mouth-watering pizza’s all-around Italy – with Rome and Florence being other top spots.

Don’t expect all the toppings. Pizza in Italy is kept basic, as it should be, with the classic margherita being a favorite throughout the country.

While you’re here, you must of course indulge in every kind of pasta available, antipasti, gelato (here’s the best gelato in Rome), cheeses, Parma ham, desserts, Limoncello, and true Italian coffee.

Buon appetito!

Foodie travels: pizza in Italy
Pizza in Italy

Pastel de natas in Portugal

Pastel de natas are like little parcels of heaven, in the form of custard. Nowhere else in the world will you get a custard tart (pastel de natas) like you’ll get in Portugal. These simple tarts are best served fresh, warm, and sprinkled with a bit of sugar. And don’t make the mistake of ordering only one…

One of the most famous places to enjoy these heavenly treats is Pasteis de Belém in Lisbon. Queues often stretch out along the pavement – so go early.

While you’re in Lisbon, other foods to look out for include seafood, piri piri chicken, Bacalhau, and bifana (a beef sandwich).

You’ll want to pair your pastel de natas with a coffee – here’s how to order a coffee in Portugal.

Pastel de natas in Portugal
Pastel de natas in Portugal

Sushi and sashimi in Japan

Head to the source for some of the freshest sushi and sashimi that you’ll ever taste. Be sure to first learn what the difference between sushi and sashimi is before you go. Sushi is combined with other ingredients, namely rice, raw fish, seaweed, cucumber, soy paper, and avo. Sashimi on the other hand is thinly sliced raw fish, like tuna or salmon.

When in Japan, you can enjoy sushi and sashimi all over, from market stalls and simple take-away joints to fine-dining restaurants.

Other foods to try while in Japan include tempura, sukiyaki, ramen, karaage, okonomiyaki, udon, and dumplings.

We love Japanese food so much that we have a few posts about what to eat in Japan, check them out:

Food bucket list: Sashimi in Japan
Sashimi in Japan

Croissants in Paris

We’ve all had the day dream…sitting at a sidewalk cafe on a busy (though, not too busy) side street in Paris sipping on espresso and eating an endless supply of fresh croissants.

Yep, that’s the dream. It’s as simple as a fresh, flaky, buttery, and steaming croissant. We don’t ask for much, do we? Just keep ’em coming.

If you manage to pull yourself away from that quaint cafe, make sure to head to a bakery and pick up some of the other delicious pastries that the French love to produce (pop in a few macaroons while you’re there). Add your patisserie finds to a picnic basket filled with French wine, cheese, cold meats, a baguette, some Le Beurre Bordier butter, and a few chocolates and head to the Eiffel Tower for a picnic. You can’t get more bucket list than that now, can you?

For more Parisian delicacies, check out our guide to food in Paris.

Croissants in Paris for foodie travelers
Croissants in Paris

All the food in Mexico

It’s hard to choose one particular food that you absolutely have to eat in Mexico. Tacos, tortillas, carnitas, nachos, quesadillas, fajitas, and churros are the typical favorites. But then there’s also pambazo (a Mexican sandwich dipped in salsa), flautas, tlacoyos, tostados, and beef barbacoa. Everywhere you look will be something new and different.

It’s a definite food bucket list, that’s for sure. Even vegan travel in Mexico is possible!

Add some tequila, mezcal, margaritas, and a few local beers and you’ve got yourself a good time. And if you love cooking, then check out this culinary experience of learning how to make mole poblano sauce.

P.S – here’s how to avoid food poisoning in Mexico!

Tacos in Mexico
Tacos in Mexico

Bagels in New York

Visiting New York is on many a bucket list. It’s famous for its skyscrapers, Broadway theatres, cinemas, and electronic billboards. It’s also famous for its bagels – you can find them everywhere, from bagel shops and corner delis to street carts. 

You also get all kinds of flavors, like poppy seed, sesame, cinnamon raisin, garlic, dried onion, and salt. They can be eaten plain or smothered in butter and cream cheese. Some have fillings like smoked salmon, red onions, tomatoes, or meats.

Some other typical foods of the Big Apple include pizza, hot dogs, cheesecake, Manhattan clam chowder, pastrami, corned beef, and baked pretzels.

Foodie travels in New York
Foodie travels in New York

Street food in Bangkok

Walking through the streets of Bangkok is an assault on your senses, that’s for sure. The smells, sights, sounds, and tastes that waft through the streets is a unique experience all on its own. From fragrant curries, satay skewers, stir-fries, noodles, and fresh seafood to sweet desserts and a few surprises (hint: they have more than four legs!). 

The best part is that it’s cheap – so you can try a little bit of everything!

Some foods you absolutely must try in Bangkok include Pad Thai, anything that starts with crispy (chicken, pork, beef, duck), Tom Yam (soup), Yum Woon Sen (spicy Thai salad), and sticky mango rice.

Chatuchak market is one of the most popular markets in Bangkok – and you’ll find some great food there!

Add Bangkok to your food bucket list right now!

High Tea in London

Get your tea-drinking pinky finger and best High Tea outfit ready. The scones are waiting! For lovers of the finer things in life, experiencing a typical High Tea in London is top of the list. It can be pricey, but there are quite a few spots around the city offering their own version of this tea time tradition that you’ll likely find a place within your price range.

London’s food scene is buzzing, any foodie will be in gastronomy heaven in the city. Some of the world’s best restaurants are found here, with foods from around the world.

High Tea in London
High Tea in London

Tagine in Marrakech

Like Bangkok, walking through the markets of Marrakech is packed with colorful sights, sounds, and smells. Experience the elaborately poured mint tea in the traditional Riads and take in the colorful pyramids of spices at the markets. Then, when the sun sets, settle down and enjoy a traditional tagine at one of the local restaurants – saffron and lobster is a popular choice.

Full Scottish breakfast in Scotland

Learn to start your day off the hearty way with a traditional full Scottish breakfast. Like a typical British fry-up with eggs, sausages, bacon, beans, and toast, the Scots also add in tatties (potato scones) and a slice of black pudding.

Not everyone is a huge fan of black pudding, but it’s just one of those things that you must try at least once. Even if it’s just to confirm that you don’t like it :).

Check out these other regional British foods to try out and these places to find vegan Haggis in Edinburgh!

Here are a few more of our foodie travels posts:

The Ultimate Collection of Road Trip Tips

There is nothing fun like piling everyone in a vehicle and going for an old-fashioned road trip.

The allure of the adventure and the fact that it is such an economical option as compared to a vacation. As the miles start to increase and the weariness sets in, everyone starts to feel tired and bored. 

But, don’t worry. We’ve got the ultimate collection of road trip tips to make sure that you have an epic, memorable road trip with your friends or family.

Let’s dive straight in…

Planning a Round-The-World Trip
Planning a road trip

The Ultimate Collection of Road Trip Tips

Top tricks to make your road trip safe and memorable for the whole family.

Before you leave

Make sure you take your driving license. It’s so obvious, yet so forgettable.

Take your specs too, if you wear them for driving, and some sunglasses.

If you’re old or have a disability that affects your ability to drive, check with the hire company if they have any restrictions on people like you.

Compare quotes from different hire companies. There are a number of recognized stores in the US and they’re pretty similar in terms of cars and service, so try to get a good deal.

If you can, get your map or GPS before you leave. At least try to get directions from the car hire place to the main road!

Carry a First Aid Kit 

Before you get into the driver’s seat and drive off, make sure you have a complete first aid kit with you. Make sure you have a variety of items in the kit to cover a wide range of emergencies.

With trips being so unpredictable, you need to make sure the kit is extensive enough. If you had a kit before and used some items on a previous trip, you need to find out what items are missing and you replace them.   

Travel as a Group 

A road trip will be very boring if you decide to go on your own. At first it may seem fun due to the freedom you feel, but with time, you start getting bored. Having a group will be more ideal because you will be able to interact and have fun. 

One other thing about travelling in a group is that you will feel safer when you have other people around you. In case your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, you are less likely to be at risk of getting burgled as compared to when you are travelling alone.

Therefore, when planning a road trip, ask your friends and colleagues and plan on travelling together.   

Find Something Unusual 

There are many places along the road that you can make a stopover to turn your trip into an interesting one – all you need to do is find the places. Use the billboards on the roadside or use a search engine to find any attractions along your route.

Find a way to incorporate the site into your trip so that you have something to talk about many years to come. Additionally, most of these attractions are normally near the highway and inexpensive. These locations may also serve as educational stopovers for the children especially when they represent landmarks that are a part of history.   

Add an Element of Safari to the Trip 

Major highways have one or more wildlife attractions located near the highway. It would be a nice experience to see animals you have not seen before in your life. It will also be a lovely surprise for the kids to see some wild animals for the first time in their life. After a long and tedious journey, it is usually nice to just glide through a park so that you and the rest of the group can have a welcome distraction.   

Leave Details Behind 

Most of the time you find that the apprehension of going on a long road trip makes you forget the most important thing about any journey – safety. One way that you can be sure of help when something happens is by telling someone else about your travel plans. If you are not at a specific place after a given period of time, the person will let the authorities know. It is also good to let someone know by calling every time you reach a given place.   

Learn Some Road Trip Games 

There are several games that have been invented both for the adults and the young. These road games are not only for entertaining the travellers but also to keep everyone alert. Some of these games include “I Spy” which involves clues and guesses. Such games will keep everyone engaged and entertained for a long period of time.   

Road trip tips
Road trip tips

Carry Some Snacks 

If the journey is long, getting cranky is easy especially for the young ones. This usually happens due to hunger. Well, you can tackle this problem by carrying snacks of various types for the children as well as adults. Make sure these snacks are appropriate, fun and delicious for everyone that is on the trip.

Also have snacks that are specific for a particular type of condition suffered by any member of the group. This applies for people suffering from conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and ulcers.   

Choose Quiet Rest Stops 

Along the way, you need to stop time and again to rest. When choosing ideal places for stopovers, consider quiet rest stops especially if you have children in the group. Such stops will offer you a more relaxed environment to sit and cool off the hassle of the journey.

Additionally, the children will have enough space to run around before getting into the car for the second stretch of the trip.   

Bring Great Music or Audio Books with You 

Every road trip needs some music. You need to sit down and find out what every member of the group likes in terms of music and collect enough last the whole trip. Many people who have been on road trips can remember what happened on the trip when a particular song plays on the stereo.

It is also advisable for you to get sing-along music that all of you can join in and sing. You can also get some audio books especially for the little ones.   

Double Check Your Vehicle 

The vehicle is what will make or break the trip. Make sure the vehicle is spacious enough to hold all the travellers and in a condition to move long distances. You can have a mechanic to double check everything just to be on the safe side. If you have any doubts about the car, you can go ahead and rent one for the trip. When it comes to such a situation, you need to work with a reliable car rental service.   

Here are the top features to consider in a vehicle when taking a road trip:

Exterior

Whether a fan of driving an SUV or wanting to ride in a sedan, there are a few features that are important when driving through different climates and various environments. Depending on individual preference, these features to be helpful during a road trip.

  • Privacy Windows Featured in Rear Sides and Back of Vehicle

Interior

The most important thing I am looking for when on a road trip is to be comfortable for consecutive hours at a time. This means I need room to store all my gadgets, maps and snacks within close proximity to reach when needed. Also, breathing in fresh air, singing to the top of my lungs and knowing which direction I’m headed tops my list.

So while most of these popular features are optional, they sure do make the road trip more enjoyable.

  • Dual Zone Automatic Climate Control with AC and Heat
  • Sterio System with USB port and iPod Connectivity
  • Sunroof or Moonroof
  • Bluetooth
  • Dashboard Navigation System
  • Power door locks and Power Windows
  • Auxillary Power Outlets
  • Cruise Control
  • Cup Holders, Cargo Space and Overhead-and-Center Consoles

Related Read: Tips for Sleeping in Your Car

Performance

As long as you can get from point A to point B shouldn’t be your only worry, having a high-performing and safe vehicle is very important to consider before going on a road trip. Make sure the vehicle’s breaks work, engine is tuned-up and any other mechanical specs are up to par before hitting the open road.

But besides the standard performance of the vehicle, these features make the road trip more conveniant and safe.

  • Rear Parking Assist Sonar
  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Advance Airbag System
  • Tire Pressure Monitor System
Road trip tips
Road trip tips

The do’s and don’ts of road trip safety

Aside from choosing the right tunes to play on the radio, staying safe on your road trip is vital to having a trip that will make the memory books.

Follow these road trip tips for safety do’s and don’ts before your wheels hit the pavement!

  • DO try to blend in. There’s nothing wrong with being a tourist, but being confident is one of the top theft deterrents, so trying to blend in like a local allows you to exude just that. Don’t leave maps out in plain sight, and if you need to consult one while walking around town, do it discreetly. Follow up our guidelines of how to avoid pickpockets.
  • DON’T try to reach the next gas station when you’re at a quarter tank. If you’re not familiar with the route, don’t risk it! Being stalled out on the side of the road with no gas and maybe even a lack of cell phone reception is certainly a safety risk.
  • DO look at your backseat when you get into your car. We hope your road trip will only be a happy one, but crimes do happen. Take a look in your backseat to make sure no one has stowed themselves inside, ready to take control of your car when you put the key in the ignition.
  • DON’T keep washer fluid or hard objects in your backseat. If you’re going 45 mph and need to stop suddenly, you can imagine how any fluids, toys, or books are going to fly around your car. Harmful fluids can even open and spill. Keep it neat and trim for you and your passengers’ safety.
  • DO stash an emergency kit in your car. The old adage about being safe than sorry always rings true. Keep a box in your car filled with water, snacks, a flashlight, a warm blanket, flares, a first-aid kit, and jumper cables if your battery dies.
  • DON’T stay on the first floor of a motel. It may be easier to carry your luggage in to a room on the first floor after a long day of driving, but it’s also easier for thieves to break into your room. Even better – get a room facing the parking lot so you can keep an eye on your vehicle. Read all about the difference between a motel and a hotel.

Road trips are a rite of passage and are often unforgettable adventures, but it’s important to keep an eye on your personal safety and security while traveling on the open road. Use your common sense, and if a situation or area doesn’t feel right, go with your gut and get out of it!

Travelling is not easy especially when you have children in tow. You need to make sure you meet the demands of both the young and the mature so that you can make the trip amazing. Use the above road trip tips to make your road trip safe and memorable.


The Ultimate Guide to Staying at a Hostel

Yesterday one of my good friends asked me a few questions about hostels in prep for a trip to New England and today, she came back with a few more… and it dawned on me- even domestic (read: in the US) staying at a hostel is still pretty foreign to most people.

Well, I’m here to help!

I’ve stayed in hostels since I was 16 and travelled all around the world so I have a really good understanding on what makes hostels tick, what to do, what NOT to do and where to go.

But first I want to explain how freakin’ awesome and amazing hostels are so you understand why you should consider staying in one.

Staying at a Hostel in Los Angeles
Freeland Los Angeles – a top hostel in the USA. Image courtesy of HostelWorld.

Top reasons to stay at a hostel

Price. Hostels are cheap (obviously).

Some even dirt cheap (and some not so cheap but we can get into that later.) Traveling solo or even with a friend, you would be hard pressed to find any accommodation as low in cost with as many amenities as your typical hostel. Which brings us to…

Fun! Hostels are fun, seriously seriously fun. 

Those ‘amenities’ mentioned in 1. can be anything from a rocking bar inside the hostel to pool tables, grills, a full kitchen, swimming pools, community guitars- you name it, I’ve probably found it for free (or cheap) to use in a hostel.

Location. 

Hostels cram a bunch of people single room with bunk beds (you can pay more for a private room but why would you?) which means they bring in some cash during busy seasons which really means they can afford the high rents in busy, “travel destination” locations.

  • This a. ROCKS because you are in the middle of some awesome city
  • and b. means the hostel is usually somehow or another accessible by public transit which is always great too.

The Staff and other Backpackers. 

80% of traveling is the people you meet and same goes for staying in hostels. From the young, vagabond staff to other travelers staying in the hostel, everyone is there to have a good time. Most hostels have activities set up from city tours, pub crawls, themed dinner nights and even open mic nights to bring everyone together but even without all of that fun activity stuff, staying in a hostel is an amazing social experience that you just don’t get at your local Motel.

There are hostels all over the US so even if you just want to plan a rowdy weekend getaway by yourself or with a few friends, there is probably a rockin-good-time (and sometimes totally-chilled-out) hostel much closer to you than you think.

If you wanna check out hostels in your area, I recommend hostelworld.com because of their rating system (you can get a better idea of what to expect before you go.) I can play around on that website for hours, looking at prices and rating of where I want to go and what activities the hostels have planned. It’s rad. Go ahead and check it out. Really. I’ll wait…

Welcome back! I’m assuming now you are super stoked to finally plan that crazy weekend trip with your best girlfriend so I’ll give you a few tips on what to do when you get there.

BOOK YOUR NEXT HOSTEL STAY ON HOSTELWORLD!

HI San Francisco - City Centre
HI San Francisco – City Centre – a top hostel in the USA. Image courtesy of HostelWorld.

Tips for staying in hostels

Get a travel backpack

Backpackers usually stay in hostels and backpackers are called ‘backpackers’ because they (usually) carry a backpack… not a suitcase. Hostels are notoriously NOT roller suitcase friendly. There are typically stairs (if you are physically disabled there are certainly options here though) and tight quarters.

If all you have as a big ass roller suitcase than by all means, take that but if you have carry options of a duffle bag and a backpack instead, I would recommend that simply for easier mobility.

We highly recommend any of the Osprey Farpoint backpacks. They offer various sizes for both men and women.

You need to lock your shit up. 

No, hostels are not the hangout places for shady characters and thieves like some people have made them out to be but here’s the deal- just like you would lock your car even if you live in a safe neighborhood, you should lock up your stuff, even if you’re in a safe hostel.

There are a few ways to do this. Most hostels will assign you a locker with your bunk bed that you can put your stuff into and most of the time it is in the same room as the beds. It’s super convenient but you NEED TO BRING YOUR OWN LOCK. Let me repeat that, for 98% of any hostels that you stay in you will NEED TO BRING YOUR OWN LOCK. A little combination lock from Amazon is really all you need. I personally use a little Burton snowboard lock that stretches so I can lock it around my pack on trains or buses but totally anything will do.

Hostel Kitchen Etiquette. 

An awesomely amazing thing about most hostels is access to a full kitchen. Not only is it a really fun way to meet people (in the AM cooking breakfast, at night making beer munchies) but it is also super super super convenient (can you say, beer fridge?!)

Check out what’s stocked in the kitchen before you go shopping so you know better what to buy. A lot of time, people will stay at the hostel and leave whatever extra food they bought behind which usually becomes a communal food supply. Anything from bread to condiments to boxed meals- you can totally score big in the hostel kitchen. Most stuff will be labeled or marked and obviously, don’t take anything that’s not yours but it’s safe to say the huge ass container of generic brand peanut butter that’s not specifically labeled “STAFF” is fair game.

Always clean up after yourself (cleaning supplies provided) and label your stuff with a Sharpee or Post It… and I always write “COMMUNAL” or “Up for grabs” on the stuff that I leave behind.

Kitchen at the Firehouse Hostel, Austin
Kitchen at the Firehouse Hostel, Austin – a top hostel in the USA. Image courtesy of HostelWorld.

Lock Outs and “Work to Stay”.

Some hostels have something called a LOCK OUT which is anytime during the day that the staff basically kicks out everyone in the hostel for a few hours to clean and prep or whatever. Lock Outs are usually boldly stated on whatever you sign to check in and I have to say, they are not common in US hostels and seem to be fading in Europe as well. Some people get all bent out of shape about Lock Outs but I figure as long as it’s not before 10am, who cares? A little forced sightseeing never hurt anyone (and that’s kind of why you’re traveling, right?)

“Work to Stay” is a really cool thing about hostels too. Work to Stay means just that if you are planning on staying in a place for a week or more, sometimes you can talk to the staff there and set it up that you work a few shifts in return for free room and board. Super super money saver and it gives you a whole new perspective on where ever you’re traveling through as well. Admittedly, that is more of an “experienced” hostellers’ thing but still rad.

The Layout and What to Bring when staying at a hostel (that’s different from a hotel)

Hostels come in all different shapes and sizes (isn’t that cute?) and I love them all.

Your average hostel is pretty predicable though so let me walk you through one…

Most hostels have a courtyard or outdoor space set up with some sort of chairs and tables and a grill. The courtyard is where everyone meets up and chills at night either before they hit the bars or if money is tight, they just hang out there all night. If you want a quieter hostel experience, request a dorm room away from the outdoor area.

Lobby/ Front Desk. 

Hostel lobbies and front desks are super laid back so don’t expect a door man or even any help with your luggage. The staff is usually some 20-something who came to visit from some foreign place and never went back and almost always they are super nice and helpful.

Dorm Rooms. 

Down the hall from the ‘lobby‘ (if you can call it that) will most likely be the dorm rooms. The rooms vary as much as the hostels themselves with 2 to 12 bunk beds, single sex, shared (which means both guys and girls) and even private if you want to pay more (again, why?) You walk into your little assigned room and throw some clothes on a open, clean bed, sometimes tape the little paper they gave you on the bedpost and BAM- you’ve claimed your bed (if the bed number wasn’t already assigned, those are the really organized hostels though.)

Bathrooms. 

Think college dormitory bathrooms. Shower stalls that you walk your little shower bag or caddy to, stalled toilets and usually outlets by the sinks to shave and blow dry your hair. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the cleanliness of most hostel bathrooms. Some people wear flip flops in the shower, some don’t. Some people walk from their dorm room to the bathroom in just their towel, some change in the actual bathroom. Whatevs.

Community Rooms and Kitchen. 

Aside from the outdoor area, front desk, dorms and bathrooms, the communal rooms are a toss up. A hostel in Hollywood has an upstairs bar with lounge couches, a big screen TV and fooseball table. A hostel in Amsterdam has a pool table, bar and “smoking room” complete with a communal bong and beanbag chairs. Some hostels have night clubs, some have computer rooms, usually you can get an idea of what the hostel has from their website but if not, it’s just going to have to be a fun surprise!

Staying at a hostel in New York
The Local NYC- a top hostel in the USA. Image courtesy of HostelWorld.

What to Bring. 

When you pack, pack kind of like you are crashing at a friend’s house. Bring your own toiletries and towel but almost always the hostel provides bedding (it will be boldly stated if not the case.) Bring a lock and your sparkling attitude and you’re set!

Ready, set, EXPLORE!

Book your next hostel stay on HostelWorld!