Culinary tourism has become a booming business and travelers are now making food a top priority when planning a trip — no matter the cost. polled members to determine which travel expense they were willing to spend the most money on, and food topped the list.

Results revealed that 46 percent of travelers prefer to splurge on local cuisine rather than paying extra for airfare or accommodations. Having an authentic meal or experiencing local activities could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and travelers are willing to pay the price. Food festivals like Oktoberfest in Germany or the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival have drawn millions of travelers seeking to engage in local culinary celebrations.

 Experiences / Activities came in second, with 29 percent of travelers saying they would spend their travel budget on unique experiences and famous attractions. Respondents then chose accommodations and airfare respectively. With the abundance of websites designed to find deals on plane tickets and hotels, it’s clear when it comes to these expenses, travelers would rather save a buck.

 What do you splurge on when traveling? (According to 36,928 respondents)

Food - 46%

Experiences / Activities - 29%

Accommodations - 17%

Airfare - 8%

“People travel to experience a new destination for all it’s worth,” said Brandon Wade, founder and CEO of “Travelers don’t want to spend their precious vacation time in a hotel room, they’re seeking out distinctive experiences that offer unique insights into a new culture. Airports and hotel rooms blend together after time but the memories of a delectable dish or the experience of trying something new never fades.”