The Struggles of Travelling as a Fussy Eater


With being a fussy eater comes a number of struggles when eating in foreign places. And being one of these fussy eaters, I’ve experienced them all, and know them pretty well…

This post was written in collaboration with Data Label.


There’s always that one friend in every group who is a notoriously fussy eater. They order most things plain, and refuse to have sauce on anything. They’ll turn their nose up at anything spicy, and definitely won’t go anywhere near anything too exotic.

And in all of my friendships group, that fussy eater is me.

And with this fussiness comes a number of problems we face when hopping to foreign places. Which is something I do pretty often. So, I know the struggles on travelling as a fussy eater rather well…

Having to research the cuisine before you choose a destination…

Fussy eaters are always ready to accept the fact that chances are they won’t be trying the local delicacies or street food. That’s way too risky for a fussy eater. But we also have to double check there are other places nearby – supermarkets, convenience stores or somewhere that just does a good old English brekkie. We can’t risk getting stranded somewhere with nothing but no-fuss-allowed options.

…and then knowing you won’t like the plane food, meaning you have food at the ready in your hand luggage.

It’s all well and good thinking a flight price isn’t THAT bad because you have three meals included, but for a fussy eater, this isn’t the case. The food often comes covered in sauce, or is incredibly spicy, or is simply something we just don’t like. And so we go prepared with a Boots meal deal at the ready, taking up precious space in our hand luggage.

Being utterly embarrassed when ordering and making changes to how something appears in the menu…

Trust me. We don’t like being fussy. We would love to be able to pick something off the menu and say it to the waiter with confidence knowing we’re going to enjoy it. Sadly, that’s not the case. “Can I have it without…”, “Is it possible to swap…” and “Does this have any…” are common ways we’ll start out sentences when ordering our food, quite often with an embarrassed flushed face.

…and then having your friends tell you how weird you are for not liking the food.

“I cannot believe how fussy you are.” “Have you even tried it?!” “What’s the point in having it if you’re gonna get it plain?” “But it’s a local delicacy, you NEED to try it.” Lines every fussy eater has heard time and time again, and lines that make every fussy eater want to say “Please leave me alone and let me eat my boring plain food.”

Panicking just in case the foreign waiter didn’t understand your requests…

Sure, he did speak really good English, and he wrote something down when you asked for no sauce and requested that the egg yolk is cooked solid, but what if he misheard you, or misunderstood? Come to think of it, he did look a little confused…

…and panicking again as your order makes it way over, just in case something as simple as fries are done differently in that country.

Sometimes we get lucky and find something on the menu that doesn’t need tweaking. Usually something beige and carb-filled. Chips. Bread. Pasta. But imagine if the norm in this country is to plonk ketchup on top of the fries rather than on the side. Or maybe the pasta comes in a sauce by default, despite no sauce being mentioned on the menu. Oh, the sheer horror.

Feeling adventurous and actually wanting to try something new, but also not wanting to waste money on food you don’t end up liking…

Even when the time comes a fussy eater decides they want to be adventurous, they face a dilemma: what if they order the food and don’t even like it? Valuable money wasted. And it normally ends in resignation and ordering something safe. If you’ve got friends, they’ll let you try some of their grub.

…and then having to stop at a supermarket to stockpile some snacks as a back up, just in case.

Even if you make it through one day with no hiccups, there’s always that chance the following days won’t be as successful. And that’s when the supermarkets come in handy. As a fussy eater, it’s always safe to stock up on bits and bobs you like. Pringles. Bread loaves. Fruit. Chocolate. Stuff you can’t go wrong with. Just don’t forget to memorise how brands vary abroad… Lays are Walkers. Dove is Galaxy. You get the idea. Luckily Data Label have you covered with a handy infographic you can download here to help you!

So now you know. Every time the fussy eater population travels, we face these struggles.
Can your relate to any of them?

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