Indicators you may want to eat elsewhere

by Steve Brock on December 15, 2012

Now that you know some tips for picking a good restaurant on a trip, here are some pointers for avoiding the bad ones.

Forgive the quality of the sketches. I’ll explain in a later entry why I’m trying my hand at drawing for the first time since I was a kid. But for now, let’s explore the types of situations you’ll want to NOT explore on a trip:

Tip 1: Avoid restruants that are empty at peak eating times. Just as you want to go where all the locals are, you want to avoid the places where they aren’t. The corralary to this is also to avoid those restaurants that are packed…with other tourists. Several tour busses parked outside does not usually bode well for finding an authentic meal.

Tip 2: Avoid “The Welcomer.” Any touristy city will have these guys. They stand outside restaurants that are either empty, filled with other naive tourists or lack windows or the ability for you to see what the place really looks like. They speak passable English and are quite friendly…until you try to pass them by. Do so.

Tip 3: Eat fresh. Vegetables and grains are good staples to seek out in countries that lack adequate refrigeration. Meats and fish are not your friends after they’ve sat for several hours…or days… unrefrigerated.

Tip 4: Beware of well-fed rodents in the vacinity. Rats and roaches. Enough said.

Tip 5: Always check out the restroom. My dad worked in a restaurant in college. He still tells horror stories of what the chefs would do if someone complained about a meal. He also insists on inspecting a restaurant’s restroom for cleanliness due to past experiences of the kind you don’t talk about at dinner.

Now to be fair, I have had some great meals in places with grungy sinks and toilets, but those are the exceptions. If the restaurant can’t keep the restroom (that you can see) clean, just imagine (or rather, try not to) what its like in the kitchen that you can’t see.

There’s a reason I don’t have a sketch for this tip…

Happy eating and let me know your favorite tips or stories about good – or not so good – dining experiences while traveling.

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Tips for meaningful intergenerational travel

by Steve Brock on November 25, 2010

Since today is Thanksgiving, a time when many families gather together with children, parents, grandparents and even great grandparents, I thought it appropriate to post The Meaningful Traveler’s Tips for Intergenerational Travel.

You can find this downloadable PDF on the Tips and Tools page along with other general Tips for Meaningful Travel and Tips for Meaningful Business Travel.

If you’ve ever traveled with more than one generation of family members or friends, you’ve probably realized that intergenerational travel has its unique challenges, rhythms and rewards. But never before has it been so important.

In an era when the “traditional” family structure is less common and where blended families are on the rise, intergenerational travel takes on even greater meaning. Traveling with children and grandparents or just people of vastly different age ranges can bond you together in ways you’d never experience at home. Sure, you learn a lot about compromise. But you also discover new ways of experiencing life that you’d never find any other way.

We’ll explore the joys and issues related to intergenerational travel in the coming weeks. But for now, sit back, stuff yourself on Turkey, and check out these Tips for Meaningful Intergenerational Travel. Even if you’re not planning on a trip with people older or younger than you, you might just find some useful insights for you own next trip.

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Tips for meaningful business travel

by Steve Brock on November 8, 2010

Today I’m adding the first of several Tips for Meaningful Business Travel. Some of these will apply to any kind of trip, but they are primarily aimed at those of you who travel for work, especially if you travel rather frequently.

My friend Michelle just reminded me of the value of these tips. She noted that they help you use your time better. Or rather, they provide you with a new way to think about your business travel, one where even the most routine or monotonous trip can become something fresh, an unexpectedly meaningful event.

So take a look at these tips and let me know how they work for you or any ideas you have found that make your business travel more meaningful.

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