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Making plans to travel may include things like buying airline tickets, making sure you have your passport, and booking a table at that restaurant everyone Instagrams. However, there is something else you should think about doing when you travel—booking a food tour. Food tours, usually walking tours, bring you to several different places in a given city and allow you to sample different types of food, beverages, and treats.

But, food tours also do so more than just bring you from one place to another and hand you a plate of food. Here are a few reasons why booking a food tour when you’re in a new city is a must-do.

Related Reading: Top 10 Things You Have to Eat in Amsterdam | Beijing’s Snack Street Is a Foodie Wonderland

You Get a Taste of the Culture

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“The culinary aspect of a destination always enhances a travel experience and is an important way to really immerse and understand the city’s culture and history,” says Simone Gozzi, CEO of City Wonders.

The food culture in every city is not only different, but food trends differ as well. For example, Quebec City continues its focus on its cheese—something it takes seriously since many are made in and around the city—while Montreal is having a craft beer movement that is making waves in the city. And in European cities, food tours are a great way to be able to sample some of the most authentic, as well as newest, bites. You may also learn about other great food stops along your route—like where the best croissants are made or a bagel place that’s really worth checking out.

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Additionally, many guides discuss the history and importance of a chosen food. So not only will you know why something is important to the culture, but you’ll also have some great useless trivia to pull out when you’re with friends.

You Find the Neighborhood Hotspots

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One of the problems of visiting a new place is that you don’t always know where to go. You can research for hours, especially if you’re a real food lover, but a restaurant experience may not be as pleasant as it sounded on Yelp.

Food tours are usually led by locals, who not only know the food scene, but also know some of the best bars, dessert shops, nightclubs, lounges, and even places to shop. This leads to a more authentic vacation experience and probably a more fun one as well.

“The cities that we operate in such as Rome, Milan, and Paris, each have their own unique food, so we make it a priority to not only give travelers a taste of that, but also experience it with our local expert guides who know the culture best,” says Gozzi.

Related Reading: How to Avoid a Tourist Trap Restaurant on Vacation

You Get To Sightsee, Too

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“If the tour is done properly, you’ll be introduced to local haunts, mom-and-pop shops, or high-end spots. We locals are proud to show off to our visiting friends,” explains Danny Pavlopoulos, founder of Montreal-based food tour company Spade and Palacio.

And he’s right. On these food tours, there are also stops that include city history, walks through up-and-coming neighborhoods, city secrets, and even stops that include some of the biggest gems, as well. They may point out a museum you weren’t planning on going to or a church you didn’t plan on seeing as an important feature that shouldn’t be missed. Not only are you learning about the city, but you’re also learning about the city with a full belly.

You Meet New People

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Unless there is a reason your tour is private, most food tours include other people. Part of the fun is striking up conversations with them about things they’ve done, places they’ve eaten, and even their life back home. You may not only get some good tips on other things to check out, but you may even make some new friends.   

Related Reading: The Best Airplane Snacks to Pack for Your Next Flight | What Food Is Allowed Through Airport Security

Header image courtesy of City Wonders.

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