In the last two years, foodie experiences for travelers have seen huge global growth, with food tours and cooking classes among the fastest-growing tours, according to data from TripAdvisor. For many travelers, food is an accessible way of connecting directly with a destination’s culture and people and can transcend language barriers.
Almost all travelers today have participated in some kind of food experience, and according to the World Food Travel Association, the preferred choice of activity is dining out at a local restaurant. However, despite its popularity, there are still certain challenges that travelers face when trying to find somewhere local to eat.
The Challenges Travelers Face When Eating Local
Organized food tours and cooking classes are not the only way to discover great, authentic, local food when traveling. These kinds of tours can be expensive for travelers on a budget, and the tour company may be taking visitors to restaurants that can only accommodate larger groups, or where they receive a commission from the restaurant. Therefore, for solo travelers and couples who like to be independent, the challenge of finding a good local restaurant still exists.
Most travelers will go online as the first port of call to find somewhere to eat, however in countries where they don’t speak the local language, they will often turn to websites such as TripAdvisor to find restaurants that have positive reviews. The problem with this is that these restaurants are often tourist traps with increased prices, and travelers will end up dining only with other travelers, instead of mingling with locals.
In Tokyo for example, many of the best local restaurants don’t even have a website, let alone an English menu. For visitors not comfortable using Japanese, entering these kinds of establishments can seem a little intimidating, and it’s easier to select somewhere familiar or more ‘tourist-friendly.’
It’s also not uncommon to hear stories of travelers heading to Europe for the first time to wind up eating in McDonald's and fast-food restaurants every day so they don’t have to deal with the stress of not understanding the menu or being able to communicate with restaurant staff. Imagine saving money for months for a vacation only to end up eating fast food and takeaways.
OodyMate – An Easy Way for Travelers to Connect with Locals over Food
Many apps and online booking platforms now exist for travelers looking to create their own foodie memories, however, most of these focus on booking organized tours or cooking classes, or connecting locals with other locals. OodyMate is unique because its main purpose is to bring travelers together with locals in restaurants that they probably wouldn’t find on their own. Eating with a local eliminates all the worry of language difficulties and concerns over not understanding the menu. It’s an easy way to make new friends all over the world.
OodyMate is free to use, simply download the app to find locals who you can meet up with whilst traveling. Groups are limited to a maximum of five people, so it won’t ever feel like an impersonal tour group, and there are also options for to meet with ‘female only’ locals for women solo travelers with safety concerns.
Download the app for free here now.