The best places to learn how to cook on vacation

Get your hands dirty as part of the local food scene

Maybe your idea of cooking is ordering GrubHub. Perhaps it's whipping up one of your famous fiesta party dips (read: salsa and cream cheese, topped with cilantro if you're feeling fancy). Or if you're a bit more ambitious, it could be creating a seriously tasty meal from Blue Apron or some other delivery dinner kit.

Whatever your competence level in the kitchen, we can all agree that it's pretty satisfying to sit down to enjoy something you've personally created. And if you're not too confident in your culinary skills, it's always comforting to have a better cook guiding you throughout the process.

But, in all honesty, who among us has the time to learn how to cook with a mentor in real life? YouTube cooking demonstrations will do in a pinch, but real, hands-on, intimate cooking lessons often take more time than we are willing to devote to them during our busy weeks.

That's why vacation cooking lessons are the perfect holiday activity. You'll get a feel for the local food, are relaxed enough to enjoy a leisurely afternoon spent chopping and sautéing, and you'll leave the lesson with a sense of accomplishment and a full belly (Unlike days spent sucking down fruity drinks under a beach umbrella, where your biggest sense of accomplishment comes from remembering to reapply sunscreen in the afternoon). Not to mention that some of your best vacation memories will come from memorable meals. Here are some of the top vacation cooking lessons in the world.

Ain't nothing like pasta and sauce made from scratch

Pasta lovers, this one's for you

Cooking Vacations is one of the most popular companies offering cooking classes in Italy. Choose from a variety of classes and combination lessons and tours to really connect with the local flavors. You can choose from virtually any region in Italy, from Tuscany to the Amalfi Coast and anything in between. If you're interested in an immersive cooking vacation, they offer multi-day classes and excursions like the Slow Cooking Positano, an eight-day program that takes you to meet artisan bread bakers and pastry makers. It also includes five hands-on cooking classes that demonstrate the art of "slow cooking" in Italy.

If you're looking for a shorter, less immersive experience, try one of their One Day Cooking Classes and Market Tours. Chef Stefano's class in Genova is perfect for those dying to make their own ravioli, pansoti, and gnocchi from scratch. If you're in Umbria, check out Chef Patrizia's Umbrian Organic Kitchen class, where you'll get to use produce straight from her garden in the Assisi countryside to whip up traditional Umbrian fare like stringozzi pasta or umbrichelli in salsa di Trasimeno.

Soothes your soul and warms your belly

Fresh and healthy Vietnamese fare

Vietnamese food is well known for its slurpable pho (pronounced "fuh"), a belly-warming noodle soup found in both street carts and upscale restaurants. But Vietnamese food has far more depth and variety to it than fragrant soups. Bun cha, Cao lầu, Bánh mì–the list of delicious eats goes on and on. If you're traveling to Vietnam and want to experience the local delicacies in a hands-on way, check out the Ho Chi Minh Food Experience: Vietnamese Cooking Class and Market Tour. This five-hour tour kicks off at Ben Than Market, where you'll meander past stalls piled high with traditional Vietnamese cooking elements like leafy herbs, rice noodles, spices, and fresh vegetables. Your guide will share stories about this legendary market (one of the oldest in Vietnam), and after purchasing produce you'll head to the Vietnam Cookery Center to begin your four-hour Vietnamese culinary adventure. Other options include Sabirama Cooking Class in Hội An, a favorite in this UNESCO world heritage city. Not only will you enjoy an immersive cooking experience, but you'll also get to indulge in a massage and a boat ride up the Bon Thu river.

No matter where you end up, you'll surely return home with an appreciation for the simple, yet incredibly delicious, Vietnamese cuisine.

Wake up and smell the crawfish

Laissez le bon temps et la bonne nourriture rouler

New Orleans is a city reeling with temptation and its foodie culture is no exception. Locally made sticky sweet pralines dissolve on your tongue and fuel your sugar rush, and you can't swing a Mardi Gras beaded necklace without hitting a restaurant or café selling po' boys. All of this makes it the perfect environment for a cooking class or two. Try the New Orleans School of Cooking, where you can either enroll for a hands-on class, or watch in rapt admiration as a master chef cooks up some authentic N'Awlins eats. Try your hand at shrimp and artichoke soup, crawfish étouffée, or some simple red beans and rice. Just don't forget to save room for the iconic New Orleans dessert: bananas foster.

If creole and soul food are more your style, check out Casa Pelican B&B and Cooking School. Chef Karen Duncan teaches up to 10 students in each casual cooking class, where attendees learn how to cook Cajun, creole, and other local dishes. She even offers a New Orleans Jazz Brunch class where you'll learn how to whip up mouthwatering carbs like beignets (deep fried dough topped with powdered sugar) or pain perdu (fried french toast).

Muy deliciosa!

Spice up your vacation with some Mexican cooking

Mexico is good for more than just sunny beaches and margarita-fueled nights. Its cuisine is as varied as its tequila options, and visitors may leave with a new love for rose petal ice cream or mole negro Oaxaqueño (Oaxacan black mole). At the Oaxaca Cooking Class, eager foodies will convene at Casa Crespo, a beautifully restored colonial-era home in the historic district, for three hours of hands-on cooking under the attentive eye of dedicated instructors. You'll create a four-course meal with the other attendees and get to enjoy the fruits of your labors at the culmination of the class.

Wherever your wanderlust takes you will probably have a cooking class or two nearby. Try one for a memorable activity that will leave you satiated and a bit more educated than when you embarked upon your trip.

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Travel Tips

Best Jobs for People Who Love To Travel

If you want to travel but have a job that is currently holding you back, here are a few of our suggestions for the best jobs for people who love to travel.

For many people, traveling is an amazing experience, but traveling is not always feasible because of responsibilities to work.

One way to get around this roadblock is to get a job that will let you travel and see the world. Here are some of the best jobs for people who love to travel.



A translator is a wonderful job for those who want to travel. It will bring you to many places as you work, so long as those places speak the language you can translate. The great thing about translating is the variety of work you can get by translating for specific clients or just translating for tourists in the area. You can choose what type of scene you wish to work in very easily.


A pilot fits the definition of a job that gets to travel perfectly. Now, whether you are a private pilot or a commercial pilot, you will still get to fly all over the planet. The only major problem with this job is the requirement of flight classes. But once you get your license, you can fly freely around the world while making yourself money to fund your trips.

Travel blogger

Being a travel blogger is a temperamental job but, if done correctly, it will allow you to visit anywhere you want. Writing to fans as you travel the world can be a fun and exciting way to engage with the planet. This job can be difficult to do, though, as you must be able to write consistently and capture your audience with each post.

English teacher

This may not sound like a job that allows you to travel, but schools all around the world are always looking for more people to teach English.

In this career, you would move near the school that you would teach at and live there over the course of your time there. The interesting thing about this job is that it does not necessarily require a teaching degree, depending on the school and country in question. You also get to live in a new country for an extended period.

When it comes to the best jobs for people who love to travel, these are just a few of our suggestions. There are plenty of jobs where you can travel around the world, but these ones are far-reaching and cover a lot of different lifestyles. They might seem like pipe dreams, but hey, you never know!

Seattle, Washington is a rainy, coffee-fueled, coastal town often referred to as the "Emerald City."

Located against the ecological wonderland of Puget Sound, this cosmopolitan, seaside city is a mishmash of arts, culture, history, nature, and, of course, cloudy weather. Thanks to its proximity to nature, its greenery, and its culturally rich, big-city atmosphere, the city is becoming increasingly popular, both for tourists and those looking for a change of scenery.

The Big Stops: Tourist Seattle

If you only have a few days to visit Seattle, you'll probably want to check out the area's most famous attractions.

For nature lovers and summit-chasers, there's the imposing, wildflower-shrouded Mt. Rainier.


Mt. Rainier

For foodies, there's the popular Pike Place Market, a giant patchwork of food-sellers and friendly chaos where you can purchase everything from giant crabs' legs to bottomless amounts of coffee (more on that later).

Pike Place

And finally, there's the iconic Space Needle and the Sky View Observatory, which will give you extraordinary views of the city.


Seattle Arts and Museums

For arts and culture lovers, Seattle has plenty to cut your teeth on. Don't miss the Chihuly Garden and Glass, a collection of extraordinary blown-glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly.


Chihuly Gardens

For art, there's the giant Seattle Art Museum Downtown. Seattle also offers the Museum of Pop Culture, a nonprofit that features all your favorite icons from history, and plenty of other options.

Museum of Pop

For some history, there's the Klondike Gold Rush Museum, which commemorates Seattle's history as a gold rush hub.

There are plenty of quirky attractions—like the giant Fremont Troll, the 18-foot sculpture in the Fremont neighborhood that cuts an imposing figure.


You could also take in the city from a boat—marine enthusiasts might enjoy visiting to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks to explore the history of this port city.

Seattle, of course, also has a gritty underground side—you may know the city from its time at the heart of the '90s grunge movement.

It also has a long, storied history that has left more than a few scars. You can literally see its underground through one of its underground tours, which will take you on a walk through the "buried city," the remnants left over from before the Great Fire of 1889.

Seattle Undergroundpinterest

Natural Wonders

Seattle is notorious for its natural wonders. For a close-up view, there's the Seattle Aquarium, a marine experience that showcases the best of what Puget Sound has to offer.

For more exposure to the beauty of Seattle's nature, try the Washington Park Arboretum, a 230-acre showcase of Seattle's wetlands and natural wonders.

Washington Park

You might also pay a visit to the Alki Beach for some time with the ocean waves.


Or consider taking a more exhaustive adventure to Discovery Park, a giant and labyrinthine natural park at the edge of Puget Sound.

Discovery Parktrip

Food and Drink

Food tours are also popular options for those who want to get more intimate with the city's cuisine, and Seattle is often ranked as one of the best cities for foodies.

It's also a great place for coffee-heads. You might also pay a visit to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, AKA Ultimate Starbucks, a tasting room that features a coffee library amongst other treats for coffee addicts.

Sarbucks Reserve

Moving to Seattle

If you're planning on moving to Seattle, locals say there's a few things you should know. First off, it is most definitely overcast the majority of the time, though the rain is rather like a mist. That makes the rare sunny day shine even more, though, locals say, in addition to fostering natural abundance.

The city is generally very congested with traffic, which can be noisy, though it offers great public transportation options, from buses to rail—regardless, you'll want to get an Orca Card for that.

Like every city, Seattle has a number of diverse and charismatic neighborhoods. For example, there's the beachy, more laid-back West Seattle.

West SeattleWest Seattle

There's the vibrant Capitol Hill, a hub of arts, culture, tech bros, and nightlife (during non-COVID times).

There's the historic and artsy Pioneer Square, featuring plenty of museums, shops, galleries, and pubs.

Pioneer Square SeattleExpedia

Fremont is a more bohemian area. Belltown is a trendy waterfront neighborhood that's close to everything.

In general, Seattle residents love the city for its proximity to nature, from beaches to glaciers, and its abundance of arts and cultural attractions. As Kimberly Kinrade said, "Seattle is for people who love culture, but refuse to sacrifice their wild nature to attain it." Residents dislike the steep cost of housing and all things that come from rising prices, including the city's large homeless population.

In general, the city is known as environmentally conscious, liberal, and dog-loving. The people are often referred to as nice but possibly a bit standoffish and cold (the "Seattle Freeze" is when you make plans to hang out and then bail, which is apparently very common). The rain can certainly get depressing, but the proximity to nature helps.

Remember, if you do happen to move: umbrellas are dead giveaways for tourists.

What's your favorite part about Seattle? What did we leave out? Let us know at @thejourniest on Twitter!


Weed World Candies Exist to Prey on Gullible Tourists

Weed is still illegal in New York, but scamming tourists is not.

You wouldn't know it walking around midtown Manhattan, but marijuana is still illegal in New York.

It does seem strange to think that perhaps the most metropolitan city in the US would be lagging behind so many other parts of the country that have legalized possession, production, and sale of cannabis and THC products, but it's true.

New York's decriminalization of marijuana has led many smokers to be more brazen with their public consumption in recent years, and Governor Cuomo recently announced plans for limited legalization for recreational use at the state level. But for the time being the sale of products containing THC is still very much illegal.

buy happiness You sure about that?

Adding to the confusion is a company that has sprung up to prey on tourist's uncertainty. Weed World trucks have multiplied at a staggering rate since they first started appearing in Midtown and the Village a few years ago. Easily a dozen RVs and vans now line the tourist-dense streets of Manhattan, advertising Girl Scout Cookies and Gorilla Glue, clad in marijuana-leaf decals and occupied by employees who are paid either to be stoned out of their minds, or just to pretend they are.

With eyes nearly in slits and an air of relaxation that suggests that customers are temporary interludes from a permanent nap, they will promise you as much as they can get away with while letting their branding do most of the work. They will sell you four lollipops for $20, which would seem like a great deal if not for the fact that they will not deliver on the strong implication that they'll get you high.

They have a Twitter account where they celebrate the supposed availability of weed and claim to "have New York locked down." They'll even sell you vape cartridges that advise you to "get medicated," and which are packed with potent doses of… flavor?

weed world truck

An employee once assured me that their candies do contain THC—maybe they wouldn't be so brazenly dishonest today—and in a drunken state I coughed up $5 to test that claim. There is a faint weedy taste to their candies, and you may find trace amounts of CBD inside, but that's it. It's a scam. There is no THC. Nothing that will give their customers the experience they're selling.

Worse than the trucks is the Weed World Candies storefront that opened in midtown in 2019. Just walking past you would swear that people were passing a massive blunt inside.

The smell is unmistakable and overpowering, except that it's fake. Whatever chemical fragrance they pumped onto the street, it was not connected to anyone smoking weed. Inside, the psychedelic wall art complemented shelves lined with suggestive candies and boxes emblazoned with pot leaf insignia.

Whatever the venue, they are all too happy to sell you overpriced hemp products and CBD creams and chocolates made to look like nugs. And if you're a tourist, or a moron like me, you might believe the scam long enough to give them money, but nothing they sell will get you high.

weed world store Hiroki Kittaka

The owners of Weed World, Judah Izrael and Bilal Muhammad—who prefers to go by "Dro Man" or "Doctor Dro"—will defend their products by claiming that they serve to promote legalization and decriminalization efforts by normalizing the idea of public sale of marijuana. But at no point in the purchasing process is the illusion that their candies will get you high broken. At no point are their customers offered literature explaining the mission of Weed World.

On their website's FAQs page, there is no mention of THC or its absence from their products, but the first question, "How much should I eat?" is answered, "It's all based on your tolerance but there's no limit." Tolerance for what? Sugar? The company—which originated in Alabama and has spread to cities around the country—mostly seems like a very profitable way to sell candy to gullible adults.

weed world wall art Nicole Mallete

The best thing I can say in their defense is that one of their trucks was recently busted by police in Saraland, Alabama, with products that "tested positive for marijuana." Assuming this isn't a screw up or deliberate frame-job by the police, it's possible that some of the Weed World trucks are using their faux activism as a front for selling actual drugs. If so, that would be the most honest thing about this company. Until that's confirmed, ignore these trucks and maybe just ask a friend for a hookup.