Four Steps To The Best Road-Trip Food

/via pinterest/

Hypothetically speaking, you're headed to a new city and want to spend your time wisely. And by wisely I definitely mean "finding the best restaurant possible with a pre-tour to the best coffee shop possible." How you do strategically accomplish this without
A) wasting a lot of time
B) failing wretchedly
C) frustrating your travel companions?

First: Take a Poll
Test the temperature of your traveling companions: who has eaten what recently? Are we burned out on Mexican? Good. Scratch that off. Are we tired of Italian? Okay. Does sushi make you sick? Once you have a general idea of what is or is not wanted, you'll occasionally find that the group just wants to randomly select an option as you drive along. Cool. Otherwise...

Second: Put Google To Work
There are some things that Google just does better. Unless you have a very trusted local expert friend, googling the best restaurants in the prospective city is a must. If by polling your fellow travelers you have more specific search terms, all the better. Though it's righteously mainstream, my favorite site for reviews is still Yelp. Not only does Yelp give you a price-point, but it also features important details. Customer reviews are my favorite. You have to sort through extremism from both sides - lovers and haters both congregate on review forums - but you'll also find those authorities who rationally claim, "I lived in Japan for eight years and this is the best Ramen I have found on the East Coast."  If you have the time reading blog posts and reviews (especially when it comes to coffee shops) is often helpful, as there are more detailed reviews plus side-by-side comparisons of the options locally available.

Third: Map Carefully
Do not, pray, be that one person in the car who gets everyone excited about a place and then realizes that it isn't open on Mondays or you passed it ten miles back or you have to have a reservation. Research is everything and chances are there is at least one person NOT driving the car who can pull out their phone and figure out where your group will be and either plan your events around the proposed eatery or choose an eatery close to your proposed events. If reservations are recommended, make a reservation. Some sites even inform you of peak hours so you can choose a time when life is slow or enter the melee with the rest of the crowd.

Fourth: Keep A List
Inevitably there will be places you aren't able to visit but want to catch some other time. Keep a list on your phone (don't judge - you know you keep lists on your phone with everything from song lyrics to dentist appointments to things you should have said in that moment that passed six weeks ago. Or maybe that's me...). On this list, write down places to visit next time you charge through town. Who knows? The road home might require some extra caffeine or an excellent burger.

Closing statement: travel food is an essential. Why not take a second to make it memorable as well?


  1. I think food is arguably the best part of travel. I love finding places that make for good stories when we're road-tripping, whether from the best burger place in town (who can resist that?) or that artsy-looking place that ended up being a bit sketch but who cares? You had a good time.

    Love this (and road trips, and food). :)

  2. The other people for me are the main difficulty, they kind of have to be foodies or you just have to go-along. I went on a roadtrip (just got back) with my mom and sisters, and succeeded ONCE in two weeks to go to a non-chain restaurant I found and they liked the food, but I did not care for it, and once to a recommended place that did not get good ratings on my fav site and it was meh, for the most part. Almost all, if not everywhere else we went was a chain, usually fast food. I like fast food, but I want to try for something nice every once in a while, especially when traveling. I am something of all or nothing, I would prefer fast food or really nice (not expensive, but well-rated independent); the in betweens to me seem to be neither here nor there. I know they aren't all but if I want Italian say, I want to try independent rather than Olive Garden? I think I will just have to not set my heart on it when traveling along with others. Sorry, long comment. I just had this sort of thing on my mind.

  3. Oh yes. We just ate our way through Anchorage, AK on a combination of recommendations from locals and Google. It was amazing, and I would actually move there for the fish. And all of the other things too. I may have gained seven pounds. Probably wouldn't move there for the coconut lavender Latté, but only because I'm fairly certain I can recreate that in my kitchen. Food is definitely high on the list of travel pleasures, and it's probably the thing we consistently spend the most on, on trips, depending on how much airfare/lodging ends up being, of course. But it's up there.