“I read I can just buy from grocery markets there”.
This was a comment from a young girl I helped build a trip to Europe. She is 18 years old and has never been away from home before. My initial reaction to her sounding surprised that there are supermarkets in Europe was one of humour. I mean, there are supermarkets everywhere in the world though they may not all look like the big Walmart chain stores she would be used to.
Her being worried about food while traveling and her fathers insistence that she pack some army ration packs “just in case” made me realise that not everyone knows how to feed themselves while traveling. If it is a first trip and you are already full of uncertainty then worrying about where your food comes from just becomes another thing on the worry list.
To remove that one worry I thought I would share some of my food tricks and knowledge from countless adventures from around the world.
- You do not need army ration packs. Unless you are going backcountry hiking you do not need to buy or pack these, especially when traveling through Europe.
- Everywhere in the world has a supermarket or somewhere to buy food. It may be small, it may look like a mud hut from the outside or look completely unrelated to food such as where you get your car fixed but I can guarantee that you can buy food anywhere in the world.
- Local restaurants are everywhere. Again they may not look like much from the outside but they usually have good home cooked food on the inside. Europe, North America and other developed countries have a high standard of living so finding somewhere to eat out should not be a problem and you will be spoilt for choices in most tourist areas.
- If you do decide to save money and buy your own food then think about what will survive being stuffed into your pack and what you need (if anything) to cook it. For example Banana’s are a great snack while traveling as you can just peel the skin and not worry about having to wash it before consumption. Unfortunately unless you are eating it then and there chances are it wont survive the day being slung around on trains and knocking against your water bottle in a backpack. Try eating mandarins or other pre packaged food if you are thinking of traveling with it.
- If you decide to cook your own meals and have the facilities to do so be aware of leftovers. At home these usually go into the fridge to eat the next day or into the freezer for use at a later date but when on the road these may not be options. That means leftovers are usually thrown out which is a waste and not any cheaper than eating in a restaurant.
- Personally – If I have the facilities and energy to cook while traveling then rice or pasta are my go to staples. They are both filing, travel well when uncooked and are usually cheap no matter where in the world you go. When traveling through Argentina my cheapo backpacker basic meal was rice, onion, capsicum or other vegetables and a stock cube all in the one saucepan. Cheap and filing.
- If you are worried about eating in a restaurant by yourself read this article about travel and eating alone.
I could go on but hopefully by now you’ve realised that food should not be a concern when traveling. It is one of the most enjoyable aspects of travel and experiencing different cuisines has been some of my more memorable experiences.
If you have traveled before then what’s your travel related food trick? I’m always curious to learn more so share in the comments below.
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I’m Anna Kernohan, an Adventure Consultant. I use my 17 years of travel experience and my background in Paramedics and Safety to provide professional advice and travel companion services to those wanting to travel but not in a tour group or alone. You’ll never have to worry about being alone in a foreign country again.
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