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Robert Niles

Travel tips: How to eat on vacation

Published: January 25, 2011 at 10:25 PM

Eating while on vacation should provide as much enjoyment as any other part of your trip. Choose wisely, and a vacation can expose you to delightful new food and wonderful meals with family and friends.

Brian enjoys a chili dog on vacation at Six Flags

Choose poorly, and your vacation eating could leave you sick, fat and broke.

Here's my top tip for eating while on vacation, whether you're visiting a theme park or some other vacation destination.


Restaurant portion sizes in America typically vary between the enormous and the obscene. When you're dining close to home, you can stick the leftovers in a box or bag to take home and enjoy an extra meal for no extra charge the next day. On the road, you might not have access to a full kitchen, making leftovers impossible to use.

So why order the excess? Split an entree with one of your traveling companions. You'll not only save waste, but calories and money as well.

But what if you're still hungry?

Simple: Order more. I've yet to find a restaurant that wouldn't let me order more food after my first round. Sometimes, I find that I'm really not still hungry by the time a server comes around to take my extra order, or by the time I get up and get back to the head of the line.

But even if I am still wanting more, splitting orders allows me to sample more dishes that the single entree I'd get if I were ordering alone. Vacations ought to be a time for new experiences. Noshing on a variety of dishes, rather than one entree per meal, fits perfectly with the vacation experience. My family four typically orders two meals and splits them, but if we're felling hungry, we'll get a third and pass them around.

Same with desserts, too. :^)

Which brings me to my second tip: Sit down to eat.

To truly enjoy your food, you first must notice your food. That's tough to do when you're walking or driving around. No matter how busy your vacation schedule, block out the time to sit down whenever you put food in your mouth. Rest. Enjoy. Notice what you're eating: How it tastes and whether you truly enjoy it or not. No sense in ordering again something you didn't really like. But you've got to notice that first.

Food should recharge you. Sitting to eat helps you rest and recover for the remainder of your day as you get the nutrition you need.

Whether you choose to indulge in a Michelin-starred chef's organic creation or the warm gooeyness of something stuffed and deep-fried, my advice is the same: Split and share. Sit and enjoy.

That's how to eat on vacation.

Want more? Check out our other travel tips.

Replies (2)

Brandon Mendoza

Published: January 26, 2011 at 11:29 AM

Split and share is definitely awesome!

Fortunately for me, I have the stomach to "test" local "eats" when on vacation. I know it's not for everyone, but I try to avoid any chain restaurants unless they offer something totally unique like some McDonalds do in other countries. My mentality is that I may never get to try this great BBQ, Pizza, Hot Dog, Philly Cheesesteak, gumbo, or ratatouille again for a long time so why not make my stomach know that it's on vacation too?

Anthony Murphy

Published: January 26, 2011 at 11:32 PM

I would also like to call a Major WIN to the pic which, if I remember correctly, was taken at SFGA.

SFGA should not be thrilled. As you mentioned, the food was left to be desired! Funnel Cakes, while not a complete meal, are very tasty!

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