Where Should I Eat When Traveling Abroad?
Smartphone Applications and Travelling Tips That Will Help You Eat Happily and Healthily
Travelling for both a good experience and a food trip? Wanting to see a whole country but don’t want to compromise to the local supermarkets or fast food store? Ever been visiting a foreign land when you suddenly ponder the question of, “Where should I eat?”?
Well, you have come to the right place to relieve those burning questions! This article will help you become equip with smartphone applications and travelling tips and tricks to add culinary destinations to your travelling experiences.
I. Your Travel Buddies: Smartphone Applications Instead of Google Searches
Traditionally, tourists would initially buy tour guidebooks, magazines and books to get around a new country. However, printed information can be dated or simply not as updated as it may seem and are subject to change. Tour guidebooks may show timings and schedules of events, but these can be easily changed due to sudden circumstances. Magazines are made to feature and encourage people to visit and travel, hence, are subject to bias and subjective information.
Books about places and countries may be dated as the listed attractions may not be active or open by the time the reader goes and visits it. Even if these prints say and boast that they are the latest edition, these can take a year to publish! I may be bursting your bubble here, but I do have an alternative solution for you to find you way around the country on your travel plans. It involves using a smartphone and its cellular data.
Google Maps – Free on iOS and Android
This application, that is powered by Google (of course), can list and pinpoint the restaurants, cafes and stores around your location. With Google Maps, you can simply allow the app to know and access your location and then type whatever it is you are looking for in the search bar. May it be a generalized word like ‘restaurant’ or specific food or restaurant names like ‘ice-cream’ or ‘lasagna’.
If you want to search for places to eat near you, you can easily find breakfast or brunch cafes, lunch spots and restaurants open for dinner in the search bar and even sort and filter them according to the relevance of the restaurant from your search words, by how far away it is from you, the number of stars it has or if it is open at the time! Talk about all in one, huh? But that’s not all. Google maps now has a new feature where a short beam of blue light on the map will point out which direction you are going. You also don’t have to worry about searching the web on what the restaurant you want to go to looks like as its information and images are available at the bottom part of the screen.
The app also has features like bookmarking or saving places and restaurants that you might want to go to later or places you’ve already gone to, but you want to remember the place and name for your scrapbook or blog. A major tip for those who travel with friends and family, you can share your location and the venue you’ll be going to through the app! So, make sure everyone else has this app on their smartphones too!
Yelp! – Free on iOS and Android
If you’re looking for an app that is more beginner-friendly when looking for restaurants and places to eat, then you must download ‘Yelp!’ on your smartphone. Yelp has pre-written categories, recommended searches and phone numbers ready to be tapped buttons. Its interface is similar to that of Google Maps (i.e. features, fillers and bookmarking), but it’s easier to go through for first time users. However, Google Maps shows all places like malls, supermarkets, buildings and houses while Yelp! only searches for restaurants.
Zamato – Free on iOS and Android with in-app Premium
This app’s interface is better for those who are exploring and looking for restaurants beforehand than at the moment. It’s designed to feature restaurants, cafes and stores with food based on which is already separated into filters and categories (i.e. places open for takeaway, dine in only, best in the city, experience finer dining, and trending this week). What’s great about this app is it’s for both researching and on hand pinpointing. It has the some of the features of Google Maps like bookmarking and the information of restaurants are within the app itself, but it doesn’t direct you where to go on a map. It does have the address of the restaurants, but for it to show you where it is on a map, it’ll redirect you to your default maps application or Google Maps if you downloaded it. But you don’t have to be overwhelmed with the lists of categories, filters and featured restaurants as there are tutorials in each page on how to search and explore through the app.
If you’re looking for an application that’ll guide and help you in the process of choosing which restaurant to eat in with reference to your health and allergies, it is:
CDC, Can I Eat This?
This useful app was created by the Centers for Disease Control to help you avoid acquiring a food-borne illness in another country. It does say which restaurants are safe and not, but rather, it shows which foods may be unsafe to eat. This way, you don’t have to type out specifics on and consult safari or chrome. The app helps you by answering yes-or-no questions that gives immediate results when it finds a culprit. So, be sure to remember what you ate at the restaurant and what type of food it is.
All these applications have their pros and cons, but I think you should download multiple applications to fit all your needs of researching, exploring and mapping the restaurants of the area you’ll be travelling to.
II. Tips & Tricks on Deciding Which Place to Eat
Travelling abroad is an opportunity to learn and experience new cultures. But it can also be a hazard to your health and infection to diseases. So, here are some important tips and neat tricks that’ll not only keep you healthy and germ-free, but also leave your tummy satisfied too!
Eat local or regional dishes to get the best food quality and save money. If you choose the restaurants or food stores that mostly serve tourists, then it is more likely that you’ll be spending more than you should’ve. So, ask the locals on which restaurants they usually go to. What better source is there than the local town folks that eat and live there every day.
Eat Something New
Try eating dishes that don’t seem too familiar. This adds to the whole travelling experience. If you’re going to eat something you already eaten in your hometown, then what’s the point of going to a whole new country just to eat something you can buy a few blocks away from your home? Although, if eating something familiar in a foreign land would make your tummy happy, then be my guest! If you’re uncomfortable eating new cuisines and food, then there’s no need to eat them! Just remember to make yourself happy when travelling, and that includes your tummy!
Eat at Restaurants Filled with Customers or Stores with Long Queues
The indicator that a restaurant is a good place to grab a bite, aside from its online reviews, is the amount of customers they have. More customers mean quality food and good service. However, the same doesn’t really apply for tourist hotspots and attractions. This usually indicates that the businesses in and around this hotspot can inflate its product costs and services. It’s best that you keep an eye out for these superficial yet helpful-to-your-wallet indicators.
Bring Bottled or Manufacturer-Sealed Water
Most countries either charge you for each glass of water or it’s from the tap. But you’re better off drinking cheap bottled water from the local supermarket anyways. Remember to pack at least one which ever place or restaurant you may eat at.
While exploring and walking on the sidewalk of a mysterious yet beautiful town, you are sure to feel hungry even if you just ate. This money-saving tip will allow you to fill that tummy of yours for a short time while you look for the next restaurant you want to conquer. Packing snacks like peanuts and granola bars would stop your tummy from grumbling while you travel and look for your next food destination.
Fight the Urge to Overspend
Whenever you come across food, dishes or menus that seem to cost too much, it is. You must always stick with your logical side of your brain if you want to spend your money wisely. A quick trick to avoid overspending is to ask yourself if you won’t regret purchasing and eating it afterwards. But if you’re locked and ready to try the food out no matter the price tag, then have at it!
Avoid Raw Produce and Food Sitting at Room Temperature
You can get sick from undercooked, raw and contaminated foods and beverages. Be sure to ask the waiters or front of the house if the food is fresh and cooked when ordered.
Remember, you are still the boss of your own travelling experiences. These tips and tricks are only here to guide you and refer tips to you. But it is still your decision in the end.
III. Main Takeaways
If you have a smartphone at hand when travelling, use the following applications to make sure you’ve chosen the right restaurant or café that is to your liking, is the closest to you when travelling, or is safe to eat at:
1. Google Maps
4. CDC, Can I Eat This?
Although researching about the restaurants and dishes available in the city or country you’re travelling to is better than waltzing right in with no clue on how to get by or where to go. This applies for those who want to maintain their average weight, to eat specific dishes and to know what you will be (or won’t be) eating. However, if you’re in a hurry to take the next plane out of the country or you just can’t wait to take a vacation right away, remember the following reminders:
1. Eat locally to ensure food quality and save money.
2. Eat something new to add it to the travelling experience.
3. Eat at restaurants filled with customers or stores with long queues as these are indicators that the restaurant has quality food and good service.
4. Bring bottled or manufacturer-sealed water to avoid overspending or risking your health.
5. Bring snacks when talking strolls or exploring a place for long hours.
6. Fight the urge to overspend to save money for other experiences and food.
7. Avoid raw produce and food sitting at room temperature to avoid getting sick. Well, there you have it! You are now ready to face the world’s food and restaurants. Just don’t forget to have fun exploring and tasting yet being cautious at the same time!