There are many benefits to cooking your own food while traveling. Just like eating at restaurants too frequently at home, eating out while traveling is hard on your bank account and your digestive system. This post includes 4 great reasons you'll want to cook for yourself!
As someone with celiac disease, I need to be extra careful eating at restaurants because being sick while traveling is unpleasant to say the least. While I try to find one place to eat out in any new destination, I generally make my own food.
Here are 4 excellent reasons you should cook for yourself while traveling:
1. You’re guaranteed to feel great!
That means more sightseeing, more people watching, and more moonlit strolls through the piazza. Food is great, but exploration and cultural experiences are better. Don’t sacrifice one for the other. Choosing healthy, whole food options can give you the energy you need to stay active and explore.
2. It's more affordable.
Many frequent and long-term travelers learn quickly that cooking for yourself is crucial to continuing the frugal nomadic lifestyle. These days, I rarely eat out because I’m saving money for long-term international travel. A meal out can cost over $50 whereas a full day of frugal travel can cost under $15!
I’m sure you have dreams, hobbies, and more travel you’d like to save for. Cutting restaurant costs is one of the best ways to save for them!
Related: Long Term Travel Plans FAQ
3. You can travel anywhere.
As someone with celiac disease, documented gluten free and celiac-safe restaurants are few and far between on a global scale. Sure, there are meccas for gluten free food (Italy, NYC, Sydney) and you should take advantage of these if/when you can.
But finding a safe restaurant is tricky if you travel to rural locations, take a road trip, or visit a location where "gluten-free" is not known. By making your own food, you can travel safely anywhere!
4. You experience culture like the locals.
Making your own food instead of eating out is not sacrificing on cultural experiences. You can people watch in grocery stores, mingle with the locals in aisles and at the checkout counter, and get a better idea of the local experience by joining their daily routine.
Sometimes searching for food stores will take you to new neighborhoods and bargaining for food at the counter across language barriers can be fun!
Best of all, you get to experiment with fresh, local, whole foods in your own kitchen and work on replicating dishes you see in restaurants. If you learn a new recipe, you can take the culture home with you!
Pro Tip: While food shopping, watch other shoppers and mimic their actions. Different countries have different rules. For example, in many Italian grocery stores you are not permitted to touch the produce yourself and must rely on an employee or put on gloves.
We travel for new cultural experiences, so why not break away from the tourists and cook for yourself like a local! Not to mention the benefits of saving money for future travel and being able to travel gluten-free anywhere.
Do you cook or eat in restaurants while traveling? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
With love and gratitude,