Our featured contributor Ben Groundwater never used to travel solely for food. But now he counts tucking into the local delicacies of a destination as a primary motivation for traveling. He shares some pointers for anyone else who’s dead-set on hitting the road in search of flavors.

Eating: It’s one of life’s great pleasures. And for travelers, it’s even more than that. When you’re traveling, food isn’t just about sustenance or even enjoyment. It’s culture, authenticity and experience. It’s interaction with locals. It’s life at its simplest and its most exciting.

When I first started traveling, I didn’t know much about cuisine: Where to eat, what to eat, or even what to ask to find it. You learn these things as time goes by. Still, I wish someone had clued me up on the ins and outs of traveling for food before I took my first culinary plunge.