how to travel like anthony bourdain did

These Anthony Bourdain’s travel tips will inspire you to travel and eat better, and enjoy life just like he did.

To say Bourdain traveled a lot is an understatement. He was beloved for his storytelling, which he used to entertain his viewers on travel shows, No Reservations, and later, Parts Unknown.

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During these trips to fascinating, remote and unique locations across the world, Bourdain did what he did best.

He ate, tried new experiences and brought the unknown to the screen.

Before his death, Bourdain offered advice to avid and aspiring travelers looking to experience the world the same way he did.

According to Bourdain, traveling to Paris just to stand atop the ‘Eiffel Tower is lethal to your soul.’ And a selfie in front of the pyramids in Giza? That’s completely overrated.

So, what did he suggest we do?

Get real when you travel and don’t do what every other tourist is doing. Just blend in with the locals.

Check out some of his favorite travel tips.

#1 Don’t Eat Airplane Food—Always Arrive Hungry

how to travel like anthony bourdain did

There was nothing Bourdain couldn’t eat. Warthog anus in Namibia, still-beating cobra heart in Ho Chi Minh City and bull balls, which he said are ‘rubbery as hell.’

However, there was one place you couldn’t see him eating: on a plane.

In an interview with Bon Appétit, he said he NEVER ate on the plane to anywhere, however boring the flight was.

His reason—which is obvious and we can all attest—no one ever really feels good after eating plane food. It’s plane food!

At the same time, he discouraged us from carrying packed food on the plane. Otherwise, you’ll become the most despised person in the cabin.

What did he want us to do? Arrive at our destinations hungry and avoid going to popular restaurants for food. Just find a regular eating spot in the streets.

#2 Be a Traveler, Not a Tourist

how to travel like anthony bourdain did

Are you traveling to Paris? Do everything else but don’t go to the Eiffel Tower. Because according to Bourdain, it’ll ruin your trip.

Drawing yourself up an action-packed itinerary? Just Don’t. Or it’ll ruin everything else you thought you were looking for when you left home.

He also advised us to stay off travel review sites and just go do the damn thing.

Be the Parts Unknown you want to see in the world.

#3 Harness the Power of ‘Food Nerd Fury’

Most avid travelers and foodies often condemn food review websites and travel websites.

But according to Bourdain, with a little tact and cunning, you can always get the best.

Speaking to Shermans Travel, he explained:

Say you’re going to a new place; go online and find any old reference on Google for a good restaurant.

Before you go, post about that restaurant on a local food forum and say that you had the best [region/country’s specialty] there.

Inevitably, it will spark rage in the locals, and they’ll tell you where their favorite spot is and how it’s so much better.

This guy was an absolute genius.

#4 Eat Like a Local

how to travel like anthony bourdain did

He told Good Morning America:

Wherever you are, eat what the locals are good at or famous for. And eat where those locals like to eat it.

Do not rely on your concierge for dining tips. He’s in the business of making tourists happy. You want places that make locals happy.

Seek out places crowded with locals. Avoid places where others of your kind are present.

#5 Don’t Preface Your Experiences around Safety or Cleanliness

how to travel like anthony bourdain did

There are generally two types of travelers. There are those who want to be somewhere they’ve seen in a movie or on some reputed travel website.

And some want to adventure somewhere. They want to get out into the world, grab it by the short and learn about it by themselves.

In an interview with Time, Bourdain noted that people are over-concerned about things like safety and cleanliness. These concerns often inhibit their ability to experience new things.

He also pointed out traveling is sometimes dangerous and often dirty. But that’s the point. Let your mind bypass these uncertainties and be ready to experience anything that might happen.

#6 ‘Just Be Nice’

how to travel like anthony bourdain did

We’ve read dozens of interviews with Bourdain, and there’s a common theme in every one of them.

‘Don’t be a d**khead.’

While speaking to The New York Times, Bourdain said:

Just be nice.

Getting angry and frustrated in much of the world doesn’t help at all. It’s incomprehensible, you lose face, and it makes you look ridiculous.

He added:

People everywhere like it when you are appreciative of their food.

I can’t stress enough how important your initial reactions to offerings of local specialties are to any possible relationships you might make abroad.

Smile and try to look happy, even if you don’t like it. If you do like it, let them know through word or gesture of appreciation.

#7 Don’t Travel Solely for Good Times

how to travel like anthony bourdain did

In his book, No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach, Bourdain gave a handful of excellent advice to any aspiring traveler.

One of the quotes in the book reads:

Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts. It even breaks your heart.

But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you.

“It leaves a mark on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you.

Hopefully, you leave something good behind.

What Bourdain means is that when you leave the comfort of your home—with comfortable sofas and full refrigerators—you enter a world that’s still cold and often cruel.

But as humans, we owe it to ourselves to experience these things when and where we can.

And when we open ourselves up to these uncomfortable experiences, we learn from them.

#8 Don’t Eat Mussels Unless You Know Where They Came from

how to travel like anthony bourdain did

Bourdain could eat anything, or at least have a bite, and he encouraged us to do the same.

But there’s one thing he advised against on numerous occasions.

No matter where in the world you are, never eat mussels unless you know the chef, or have verifiable proof of how they store these foods.

#9 You Don’t Have To Visit Big Cities to Have a Good Time

how to travel like anthony bourdain did

One of Bourdain’s biggest travel tips was to take the path less traveled and visit places less visited.

For instance, you can seek out restaurants loved by the locals, which often leads to the best food.

For the best experiences, especially on food, you need to do as the locals do.

#10 Visit Local Markets

how to travel like anthony bourdain did

In one of his travel quotes, he notes:

Get up early and check out the central food market. It’s a fast way into a culture, where you’ll see the basics of the cuisine.

You’ll often find local prepared foods at stands or stalls serving markets’ workers.