Eating at McDonald’s when you’re traveling: It’s a topic that can really get people fired up. Is it a do or a don’t? While most travelers are traveling for the express purpose of experiencing new things, there are certain times when finding something familiar, like a McDonald’s restaurant, is just right – and that doesn’t make you a bad traveler, does it?! We checked in with frequent travelers who each have their own reasons for eating at McDonald’s when they’re traveling. Here’s what they had to say:
I’m going to be honest … I used to feel so ashamed to admit that I eat McDonald’s when I travel! I’m all for eating local cuisine and trying out new things, but since becoming a vegetarian who eats fish occasionally, finding food can sometimes be tricky. The thing I love about McDonald’s when traveling (or any major fast food chain), is that I know exactly what I can get and that it will be the same pretty much anywhere in the world (I’m a Filet o’ Fish fan), if I’m in a pinch or in a heavy meat-eating country or city. And I can’t tell you how many times McDonald’s fries have saved me from major hangry moments! –Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington, Travel & Style
I almost always stop by McDonald’s when I travel, especially in a new country. Hear me out. I don’t go there to eat necessarily (although sometimes I do). No, instead I’m there to learn about the local culinary customs. McDonald’s has long had a history of adapting its menu to better fit in with local sensibilities, even here in the U.S. lobster rolls in Maine are a great example of how McDonald’s adapts its menu, but it gets really interesting outside of the United States. In Vienna you’ll find Emmentaler cheese with cranberry sauce, in Paris you’ll see both McBiere and macarons and in Bangkok, choices include chicken and rice bowls with a corn pie for dessert. These variations are a fantastic window into the local culture, and a fun way to learn about what foods they love the most. –Matt Long, Landlopers
When I’m visiting a foreign country and am unsure of the culinary choices, I’ll admit that if I find a McDonald’s, I might just consider it for a quick breakfast or lunch. It might not be the healthiest or most adventurous dining choice out there, but I pretty much know what to expect and the familiarity is kind of comforting. And the efficiency of the experience allows me to spend more time exploring the sights of whatever country I am visiting. –Justin Harrington, Justin Harrington Photography
I’m guilty of eating at McDonald’s from time to time when I travel, but I do so for two reasons: one, sometimes I just want a quick, cheap lunch that’s “like home”, and McDonald’s fits that bill. Other times, I choose McDonald’s because of my nut allergy: if I’m travelling through airports or places in Southeast Asia, McDonald’s is sometimes the safest thing for me to eat because I know the company is based around providing a consistent product around the world. A Big Mac in China is very much the same Big Mac served in Canada. –Aaron Saunders, From the Deck Chair
I have a love hate relationship with McDonald’s. On one hand, the fries and Big Macs are soooo tasty. On the other hand, it is not at all healthy. When I travel, McDonald’s falls into two camps for me: one is running through an airport or train station and I am just hungry and want to eat without looking at a menu. And the other is knowing exactly what I am eating as I travel. As someone with a number of serious food allergies, I know if I walk into a McDonald’s in Tokyo or Seoul, and there is a language barrier, I can order a meal where I know precisely what I am ordering. –Steven Frischling, Flying with Fish
So: What do YOU think? Do you eat at McDonald’s when you’re traveling? Why or why not? Leave a comment below!