A few weeks into the new year most people have given up on their resolutions but there’s still the promise of something more exciting – a full bank of vacation days.
KAYAK reached out to me to work with them on a post sharing my favourite travel hacks for 2018. Travel hacking is simply using tips, tricks and tools to get the most out of of your trip so you can travel more confidently. I thought it was fitting to share how I find the best food around the world.
I love the idea of a fresh slate with a new year to explore new countries and mostly
Where am I going to eat this year?
This year I’m returning to old favourites like Mexico and Spain, where I can just jump on a plane and figure it out from there. But I’m also tagging in some new countries like India, which require a bit more planning.
My hope is that 2018 is the year I finally make it to Cuba, which requires a lot of research and planning if I want to eat traditional Cuban food, I’m not likely going to find that on a resort.
While I love travel planning I know others find it so stressful, with too many choices and fear that you won’t have the ultimate experience. So let me share a few of my favourite travel hacks.
Perhaps the most stressful aspect of traveling is getting the best flight deal. I use the KAYAK travel app and there are lots of great features like getting notifications for delays. (Side note: once I received delay notices on the KAYAK app before the airline app).
However, the best feature is being able to book a trip with confidence. With the price alert feature you are notified when the price for a flight or hotel you want goes up or down, so you never miss a deal.
PRO TIP: The lowest price isn’t always the best price, sure a stop over may be $75 cheaper but you’re guaranteed to spend that money in the airport waiting for your flight. I like being able to filter on KAYAK by the cheapest price or shortest flight.
I’m all about local tips from people I can trust. I don’t use TripAdvisor, Yelp or other sites like that because food is so subjective I don’t have a relationship with the community there. Maybe someone who left a great review completely different taste than I do. This is often the case so a restaurant may be rated the number one restaurant on one of these sites but it’s not likely the restaurant I’d rate as the best in a city.
But Instagram is a great way to get a visual idea of what restaurants are like. You can scroll through someone’s profile and get a better sense if they travel and eat the way you do.
I search for local hashtags for food and drink. If I see someone who is an authority on food or is a cook I’ll often leave a comment asking for tips. As a solo traveler this can be a great and a few times I’ve met up with local Instagram friends.
I’ll admit I have an unfair advantage of having a website so I have a large group of people to pool from when asking for advice. However, when I asked for advice on India on the Bacon is Magic Facebook page, the people who responded were regular friends. I had no idea they had been to India and they gave me great advice.
Can’t find the information from your friends, send me a message. I’m happy to ask on the Bacon is Magic Facebook Page or direct you to great blogs if I haven’t been to a destination.
Don’t Ask Your Hotel Concierge!
When it comes to booking restaurants, keep in mind that concierges often have a relationships with restaurants, which is sometimes incentivized. Sometimes they get a kick back but not always.
It seems natural that you would ask. I once made this mistake in Brussels and ate at the touristy restaurant locals avoid.
However, DO use your concierge to make a reservation. In Rome I stayed at the InterContinental De La Ville Roma Hotel, just behind the Spanish steps. I know that Roscioli was a great restaurant as many of my Instagram friends told me to go.
Yet, I also knew reservations were tough and my Italian was too basic to call. Our concierge was able to make same day reservations at the bar.
Bonus Tip: If you want to find hotels close to the action, KAYAK has a feature called hotel heat maps, so you can choose if you want to be near attractions or shopping.
Do Ask Your Server
If you have great service and like your server ask them where they go for a drink with friends. Where would they take friends to eat. Let them know you want a local place so it doesn’t have to be famous, just where locals eat. I’ve discovered lots of amazing places that aren’t on any
Do Read Blogs and Watch YouTube
Obviously I’m biased but I have several go to blogs for food if I’m unfamiliar with a region. There are several bloggers who look for the same, local experiences as I do and so for India I went to Migrationology, Sam and Audrey and Legal Nomads.
Not all blogs are the same. I read lots of posts about places I’ve visited and would never recommend places some bloggers rave about. But again it’s all about personal taste. Not everyone is as comfortable eating in local places and would prefer to stay on a resort and eat there. That’s completely OK.
You should be comfortable on your vacation, so choose sources that like to have the same vacation as you. I just ate Mexican jungle rat in a Mayan community, I understand that’s not for everyone.
Take a Food Tour
I love taking a food tour my first day in a city. It helps me get a sense of how a city works and the most typical food to find. It’s an easy way to get the most basic information about the food culture. But the best part is that you have a guide who is ready to answer any questions you may have. I always come with a pen and paper and grill the guide on local eats.
Now it’s your turn, what are your travel hacks to find the best food around the world?
Disclosure: This post was a paid partnership with KAYAK. I really do use their price alert app and I’m happy to partner with them to provide useful content for you. Start your 2018 travel planning at KAYAK.com