If you’re on vacation, it can often feel like you’re starving after an exciting day of sightseeing. Of course, you can look at Yelp reviews to seek out new options, but sometimes it’s easier to simply grab a bite near where you’re staying instead of digging through reviews. You might even seek out a familiar chain if you’re looking for a reliable dining experience. But if you’re thinking of planning a getaway sometime soon, it might be time to (quite literally) travel off the beaten path for your meals. Read on to discover which type of restaurant you should never eat at on vacation.
Brittany Mendez, CMO of travel site Floridapanhandle.com, says tourists should try to refrain from going to restaurants near tourist attractions. “Stay away from big chains and tourist attractions while visiting,” she warns. “Not only will you experience tasty delights you normally wouldn’t, but it creates a completely different vacation experience.”
Instead, Mendez says you should “embrace more of the town or country’s culture in the smaller, mom-and-pop restaurants.” That way you’ll support more of the locals that actually live there who have great pride in their hometown spots. It’s a win-win.
Oftentimes, if you’re simply wandering around hungry, you’ll pick a spot that is pricier than you’d like—especially if it’s in a popular vacation destination. Many restaurants beloved by tourists have resort prices that might hurt your pockets. If you seek out less expensive local options, “you’ll have a unique dining experience to enjoy before you go home—and you likely won’t be disappointed,” David Angotti, CEO of travel and rental site HawaiianIslands.com, promises.
“More practically, local restaurants can offer better food and atmosphere than those on the ‘main tourist drag’ and they’re usually cheaper as well,” he adds. If you pay attention and look for hole-in-the-wall options, it makes sticking to your budget more feasible—your stomach and wallet will thank you later.
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Lisa Ann Schreier, a travel expert who runs the blog The Timeshare Crusader, warns that “there’s no such thing as a free meal.” If you’re offered a dinner that seems too good to be true while on vacation, it probably is. “My tip is to avoid any offers that look like deals,” she says. “Usually all-you-can-eat buffets that involve any type of ‘resort preview’ [are] almost always a timeshare sales pitch that will last at least three hours and will involve many salespeople trying their best to persuade you to buy a timeshare right there on the spot.”
Sure, free food might sound fabulous on vacation, but not if it comes with a three-hour lecture and pushy sales reps. So, opt for choosing your own meals instead.
Brian Donovan, CEO of timeshare reviews site TimeShatter, advises people to “always look at reviews online prior to ordering an establishment’s cuisine.” So, before you leave for dinner, check Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, and even look at the restaurant’s social media pages to find out what to order. Not only does reading them let you know if it’s a solid pick or not, but it will also help you determine the best dishes on the menu. All you need to do is some minor research beforehand to ensure you have the best possible experience.