Map Your Family Travel Dining Plans


I’ve completely rethought my travel planning in regards to eating out. I am a planner by nature — I like to research multiple books and internet resources, make lists, interview my kids and hubby for opinions, then develop a daily itinerary.

For our prior trips, the process included printing out a Google street map of our destination city, and plotting the locations of the attractions we wanted to see. That way, I could bundle things-to-do that made sense by area; choosing an afternoon thing-to-do near that morning’s thing-to-do.

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Unfortunately, I never took as much care with the restaurant choices. My carry-along papers always included a list of family- and budget- friendly restaurants, but it was never fully utilized or helpful. We’d end up in an area, tired and hungry, too exhausted to walk around a few blocks or take yet another subway or tube or u-bahn line in search of somewhere to eat. Every meal time, we simply looked around and picked a food option in the immediate vicinity, with mixed results.

(The photo above is of my family at an Irish pub’s outdoor seating in Munich, found after exiting the Residenz Museum and seeing only expensive restaurants, consulting a travel book in the hot sun, and finally sending me down an alley way to see if any restaurant fit our budget and need to sit right away.)

My new goal for our next trip is to not only research the cafes and restaurants well ahead of departure day, which I always did, but to also actually plot those eateries on my Google map of activities. Then, I can make dining selections according to distance from our chosen things-to-do and which are very close by, and which provide variety in cuisine — thai, italian, chinese, and so on.

The plan may not always work out according to fluctuations in cravings or budget or timing, but that’s alright. At least we’ll have realistic starting options by location.


Sandy Nielsen


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