When my mother and a friend of hers asked about a custom-designed culinary vacation to Spain and Portugal my first thought was, “Excellent!” My second thought was, “Oh my goodness, my mother is going to have a lot of questions for me.” Although not a first-time traveler to Europe (she came to visit me in Italy twice when I lived there) she is far more used to traveling in the US. Could I answer Mom’s questions in a way that would make her feel safe and comfortable traveling to Europe on a culinary vacation without me?
The answer of course was “Yes!” As a travel professional I ought to be able to handle any of her questions, but what is more, it made me realize there are probably a lot of other travelers who might have similar questions and concerns about taking a culinary vacation with TIK. So in honor of my mother, here is our newest series of blog posts!
The first question I asked my mom when she wanted me to plan a trip slightly outside her comfort zone was, “What kind of trip do you want? What do you think would be fun?”
The answer to that question can be different for everyone, but it’s all that really matters when planning a culinary vacation. For my mom, I knew the trip she wanted had to be relaxed. No packing in too many activities to wear her out, and definitely free time to just relax or sleep in if she feels like it. At the same time, it had to have enough structure to make her feel she was seeing and getting a lot out of the destination. She would definitely want to hit the highlights of each place, but doesn’t need to see every church, museum, and monument (like my dad would have). She wouldn’t want to have to get to too many places on her own, but also doesn’t need to have her hand held 24/7. She wants to eat well (I learned cooking from her!), but won’t want a heavy meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In short, knowing my Mom, it had to be a really balanced trip with well-planned activities that would either include pick up and drop off or be easy to get to.
Prepare Yourself for the Unexpected
Another question my mom had when planning a culinary vacation that costs more than her average trip is, “What happens if I get sick? Or if my friend does?” I told my mom she HAD to get travel insurance. It’s not just for cancelation protection, although that is an obvious reason to get it. If something happens while traveling, if she gets sick, we could get her home lickety-split. If her bag gets lost, if she does have to cancel – she has coverage.
Take the Advice of the Experts
One thing my mom was really good at during the trip planning was taking my advice. She knows I’ve been doing this a long time. When it was turning into a culinary vacation in excess of 2 weeks with 5 destinations, I said I thought that was too much, and we dialed it back. When I said, you really have to see La Sagrada Familia and you should do it on a private tour, she said “book it.” When I said she should do a market tasting tour even if it might be a bit out of her comfort zone in terms of what she’d be eating, she said she’d go for it.
Keep your eye out for more things my mom needs know before her trip, including:
You never know, it might answer many of your questions as well!
And if you have your own travel questions, please post in the comments or contact us!
By Peg Kern
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