Every vacation is an opportunity to experience new cuisine, but a food festival road trip will allow you to try as many different tastes as possible.

If you and your foodie friends want a fun culinary expedition when the food fests start up again, plan to arrive early, please your palate, and leave with no hassles but plenty of satisfying memories. Here are several fantastic tips for taking a food festival road trip

Bring the Car in for a Checkup

Even if it's not time for its next round of maintenance, make sure your car receives essential maintenance before any long journey. Have your mechanic inspect the tires and make sure they're at their optimal PSI. Top off all the fluids and make sure the oil and transmission are clean. Finally, spring for cleaning and detailing. Your car will be a home on wheels for you and your friends for most of the trip.

Where Are You Going, What Will You Do?

It's harder to find a place that doesn't have a food festival than to find one that does. That gives you and your friends plenty of options and latitude. Search for festivals, and work outward. What's your ideal bag—wine and cheese, beer and brats, chili and barbecue? Find the fests serving those items, locate the nearest highway, and then search for other sites, attractions, and accommodations along the way. Even better, find a place to stay, and contact the proprietors for fun ideas and the best way to celebrate at the festivals.

Get a Sense Of the Traffic, On the Road and Off

Download traffic apps that alert you to potential traffic jams and road hazards as you approach the festivals. Make a point of arriving early and leaving early to avoid the crowds, and try starting at the furthest end of the festival and walking back toward the exit rather than being carried along by and fighting the crowds. If there's a place or chef you've heard about and absolutely must try, make a point of going there first and getting in line before everyone else makes their way there.

Take a Chance!

Here's one of the best tips for taking a food festival road trip: unless you have an allergy or a bad experience with a particular food or ingredient, take a chance on unfamiliar dishes. Festivals offer opportunities to explore new cuisines in smaller portions. Take advantage of not having to commit a full-course meal by trying a little bit of everything. You might find a new favorite dish.

Bring an Empty Stomach

An old rule of thumb says to never grocery shop when you're hungry. Throw that rule out the car window! You're probably going to pile on the calories, so before you start to chow down, spend some time exercising with a long sightseeing walk or early morning run. Don't snack, except for healthy tidbits like fruit, nuts, vegetables, and similar choices to provide you with energy and nutrients. Eat smart before you eat hearty!

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