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Culinary
Culinary Travels
04.21.11

In addition to taking a specialized tour, you can experience culinary travel in a myriad of other ways. Here, we’ve compiled several tips to point you in the right direction, along with some practical advice about customs—both en route and on the road.

Local Markets

One of the best places to experience a country’s local color and culinary delights is a neighborhood market. Stop by for a look at what’s fresh and see how the locals eat. You can also stock up on edible souvenirs at a fraction of the cost of gift shops and duty-free airport stores. Pick up a few goodies to taste or bring home.

Food Festivals

To sample the riches of local cuisine in an authentic cultural atmosphere, look for food, wine and beer festivals, and plan your trip around one. Whether it’s a pear fair in a remote village or a famous event like Oktoberfest in Munich, there’s a culinary reason to celebrate every season. Check local calendars in guidebooks or look online for details. Plenty of sites list festivals around the world, including 2camels.

Culinary Souvenirs

To savor the flavors of a country, bring a taste of them home. Chocolate, cheese, jam, honey, mustard, nuts, coffee, tea and wine all make great souvenirs. Be sure to plan ahead so you can transport these treats safely:

  • Pack anything that might be considered liquid (even honey and mustard) in your checked luggage
  • Do not gift-wrap; some items may require U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection
  • Certain items are prohibited in the U.S.; check out our Forbidden Entry tip for details

Duty Free

The items below generally do not incur duty from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) if you intend to use them yourself or give them as gifts:

  • One liter of alcohol (33.8 fl. oz.) or two liters (67.63 fl. oz.) if at least one is produced in a Caribbean Basin or Andean country
  • 200 cigarettes
  • 100 cigars (Cuban cigars are prohibited unless directly acquired in Cuba)
  • Gifts totaling $800 or less in value The above amounts vary depending on the length of your trip and your destination. Before you depart, learn more about CBP exemptions.

Forbidden Entry

Certain culinary items may not be brought into to the U.S. or are restricted, depending on the item, region or country of origin. For example:

  • Snake wine and habu sake from Asia require inspection by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services specialist
  • Tea and spices containing the leaves and seeds of fruit and vegetables (including citrus) are typically prohibited
  • Bringing coca leaves into the U.S. for any reason is illegal. Consult the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol for more information about restrictions on food and other items.

Watch What You Eat

Certain countries may not have the same health standards and regulations as the U.S. and Canada. In countries that do not have drinkable water, you should avoid fruit that can’t be peeled and stay away from raw vegetables, salads and ice. Avoid meat, dairy and poultry that may not have been refrigerated. Eat yoghurt or take multi-flora tablets to settle your stomach. Use our handy Travel Pill Case to carry vitamins and intestinal remedies.

Wine Touring

If you’re headed to a destination that specializes in wine, don’t limit yourself to enjoying it in a restaurant. You may want to take a bottle along for a stroll in the vineyard, a picnic or outdoor concert, or have one in your hotel room. Pack our padded Wine Travel Case to safely transport two bottles wherever you’re going—and don’t forget the corkscrew.

Domestic Flight Meal Planning

Although international flights usually include a meal, most domestic flights no longer offer complimentary food service (check with your carrier for details). If you don’t want to spend $10 on a mediocre in-flight sandwich, pack your own meal. Don’t forget to measure soups, sauces and condiments so they meet the TSA’s carry-on limits for liquids.

Pack a Zip-Top

If you plan to snack on local treats while you travel, bring zip-top bags to secure them. They’re light and easy to carry, and may even come in handy for other purposes like storing wet swimsuits and small items.

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