Experience a food tour without the price tag

I find eating my way through a city or country to be a highlight of the travel experience. No two cities taste alike; shoot no two restaurants creating the same cuisine taste alike. While using your belly as a tour guide is a great idea, shelling out wads of cash for it is not. Consider a family of three doing a Seattle food tour: you pay around $60-100 per person, in return you get small samples and some coupons to use from the vendors you tasted from.  What you don’t get is full, a dining experience, time, or choice.  If you plan your own foodie tour you can do all that on a budget that suits your needs.

When I am planning on what to eat in a new city I look at these following factors:

Reviews from locals

Look for the best restaurants and shops in local magazines and newspapers as well as sites like Yelp

Get in a bit of everything

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and drinks. Plan for some sight-seeing in between your meals so you don’t find yourself in a food coma. You can also space out dining over multiple days so you can eat what you crave instead of sticking to schedule.

Stick to a walkable area or neighborhood

You can visit more places and taste more foods if you chose a place that is small and dense in restaurants.

Go for shared meals and appetizers

This cuts down on costs and doesn’t make you too full.

You can eat street food   

Food doesn’t have to be expensive or in a sit-down eatery to be delicious. If it looks good, go for it!


17 thoughts on “Experience a food tour without the price tag

  1. I couldn’t agree more! I like structured food tours, but I like even more just eat my way through a city at my own pace. I usually look for reviews for bigger meals and just follow locals for snacks: one of the few times in life when I do follow the crowd 🙂


  2. I’m a sucker for street food and food trucks! Usually lots of local options to eat our way through an area.


    1. I love street food. I am finding food trucks are getting a bit pricey in the states though. I don’t mind paying for quality though. Getting sick while traveling stinks! Has happened a couple of times from food poisoning.


  3. This is an area where I’m failing as a traveler. I really need to get more intentional with my food experiences. On our recent trip to Sri Lanka I didn’t have any local eats. In my defense, we had previously been in India for an extended trip and I just wanted a real burger. Lol.


    1. Don’t feel bad. I have felt the same way when traveling for an extended period of time! I find that prepping with ideas before I go helps with being intentional. You don’t need to plan exact locations, but having an idea of what you want helps.


  4. Good advice. I’ve done a few food tours over the years – hate it when you get small portions and the hard sell encouraging you to pay extra if you like what you’re eating. Exploration is better.


  5. Great suggestions. I have considered starting my own food tour in my city but I’m not home for long periods of time and felt it might be too rigid of a schedule. 😉


  6. Of course, you gotta try the street food! Or tiny restaurants with only local people in them. I found one like that in Thailand, it looked all crappy but it was the best food I ever had!!!


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