Anthony Bourdain Shares Five Unexpected Travel Tips

About two weeks ago, globetrotting chef, author, and TV host Anthony Bourdain revealed to the world via Esquire with his best expert tips on surviving the many faces of travel. From a man who estimates that he’s on the road more than 200 days a year, we’d say his advice is more than sound. Below are five surprising tips on conquering life as an adventure-seeking nomad—Bourdain-style.

1. Use Fiction as Your Travel Guide
Instead of a traditional guidebook or travelogue, the No Reservations star prefers to read fiction on the destination he’s visiting, stating, “I like to read fiction set in the location I’m going to. Fiction is in many ways more useful than a guidebook, because it gives you those little details, a sense of the way a place smells, an emotional sense of the place.”

2. Pass on Airplane Food
As tempting as it is to say yes to every meal offered on a long flight—don’t. “You’ll never feel better after airplane food than before it,” Bourdain explains. “Much better to show up in a new place and be hungry and eat at even a little street stall than arrive gassy and bloated, full, flatulent, hungover. So I just avoid airplane food. It’s in no way helpful.”

3. Morning Market Trips
For travelers curious on how a city or country tastes without the touristy gimmicks, he recommends waking up early to visit the central market. He says, “When I’m in a city that’s new to me, I try to go to the central market very early in my trip. I’ll go at 6 a.m., when people are shopping for businesses. You get to see what people buy and really eat.” He notes that this is important, because, “You get an idea of what a city or country is good at, because they’re catering to local tastes.”

4. Spark Some Nerd-Rage
How is this helpful? “The other great way to figure out where to eat in a new city is to provoke nerd fury online. Go to a number of foodie websites with discussion boards. Let’s say you’re going to Kuala Lumpur — just post on the Malaysia board that you recently returned and had the best rendang in the universe, and give the name of a place, and all these annoying foodies will bombard you with angry replies about how the place is bullshit, and give you a better place to go.”

5. On Jet Lag
If you’ve seen any of his series, you know the man likes to drink. However, on airplanes, he declines tempting cocktails in order to avoid pesky jet lag. “As tempting as it is to get really drunk on the plane, I avoid that. If you take a long flight and get off hungover and dehydrated, it’s a bad way to be.” He continues, “I’ll usually get on the plane, take a sleeping pill, and sleep through the whole flight.”