There are a number of reasons to bring snacks from home while traveling, but one of the most rewarding has nothing to do with staving off your hunger.
For example, one misty morning while drinking tea on a hotel terrace in Yangshou, China, we finally connected with the young man who watered the plants. He was extremely shy, barely acknowledging our greetings, but he beamed when Julie handed him a packet of Kirkland-brand almonds we brought from Tucson.
As he left the terrace he looked directly at us, smiled, nodded and raised the packet in the air. Sure it was not much, but the connection was made and everyone felt good.
There are also very practical reasons to bring food while traveling, besides helping open the way to meeting people:
- You get hungry between meals on long train rides, bus rides, boat rides and flights, plus airline food sucks. Especially if you have to pay for it.
- You want a break from the local food especially after two weeks of eating rice and steamed vegetables, or frijoles, eggs and machaca for breakfast. Every, single, frickin’ morning.
- You have special dietary needs, or just want a healthy snack.
We usually just pack a small stuff sack with snacks that are prepackaged small, and are fast and easy to eat such as:
- Granola bars or energy bars
- Crackers and cookies
- Wrapped, hard candies
- Dried fruit and fruit leather
- Turkey or beef jerky
We like to bring commercially prepackaged and dried foods when traveling internationally because we think they may get through customs easier. Which brings up another issue: Most countries have restrictions about what foods you can bring in, so be sure to check it out before traveling. I’ve found it’s not always easy to get that information. Start by searching online at consulate websites, travel forums, etc. You can also contact the country’s embassy in your area.