vietnam_pho-soup_3Does food drive your travel decisions? Or are you at the very least intrigued and overjoyed by a great meal? I was a sales rep for many years, traveling to hundreds of US towns and cities.? I would always take the time to explore each city as best I could with the time I had spare. Sometimes, I had no time spare, and my way of experiencing at least a little of my current destination was by eating at a well-known, even famous restaurant. I would always ask around for the restaurant I ?must-try? while in town. The US is a melting pot, with many cities known for dishes that did not originate there, but I can assure you if you want to try the best burger you have ever tasted, you will find it somewhere in the US, in a restaurant/food truck/diner that the locals rave about.

I have encountered travelers who were disappointed with the pizza they tried in Italy, or the fish and chips in the UK, but I assure you they simply ate at the wrong place! Food is a big part of many travel memories for me, and it is found to be a big motivator for many travelers. The great part about food as a budget traveler, is that you don?t need to spend a lot of money to find an authentic local meal that will become a vivid memory for the rest of your life. So, why am I talking so much about food? In 2013 many tour companies are highlighting food as one of the main attractions in many destinations, and travelers are loving it! While it is always reliable to try famous restaurants listed in your Lonely Planet guide, or recommended by the locals, it is even better to take it one step further and travel on a tour specializing in food. How much better can it get traveling with a local guide that knows the best kept food secrets at every stop? It might sound cliche to say you had the best Pad Thai you have ever tasted in Thailand, but it is true that you will find the best Pad Thai in Thailand! Dishes like Pad Thai often become an over-sold dish by local restaurants hoping to lure in the tourists, but when you travel with a local guide on a tour that has been specifically designed around food, you WILL experience the best of the best when it comes to food.

I understand that not everyone wants to dedicate their entire trip around food, but for those that do there are many tour options available for you. And for those that don?t, but still want to experience some great local cuisines, there are many day tours on offer, or even short 2-3 day food tours, some even offering cooking classes. Intrepid Travel has recently launched an amazing series of tours specializing in food. These tours range from a few hours to many weeks in destinations all over the world. And the best part? They are currently offering 10% off all of their food tours if you book in February. You can check out Intrepid?s array of food tours here.

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So, if I just made you really hungry for a mouthwatering authentic dish, or I gave you the urge to want to travel to Thailand just to try the best Pad Thai you will ever taste, then you are one of those travelers inspired by food…..even if you didn?t think you were before!