A lot of us are spending more time at home than ever and not traveling as much as we’d like to (or is that just me?). In lieu of actual travel, I decided to throw a travel themed party for my family every couple weeks to feed our wanderlust.
We started with a Swiss picnic, a Swissnic if you will, in our backyard. Next up was Japan night. We rolled our own sushi and made miso soup. We regularly have Mexico night with tostadas, enchiladas, or burritos or Italian night with homemade ravioli or lasagna.
I asked some of my travel blogging friends for their travel party ideas and they shared some great recipes you can use.
The food is the main focus, but we’ve also added some travel party decorations and other activities to bring home the travel-at-home feeling.
The Set Up – Travel Theme Decor
No matter where you plan to travel during this travel dinner party, it’s nice to have some themed decor. We like to pull out souvenirs from our travels, if we have them.
To add to the festivities, it can be fun to make your own travel themed centerpieces, flagging, or wall art. Our son likes making flags, and put together a Swiss flag for our Swissnic.
You can also consider some general travel theme decorations like globes, airplanes, or flagging. Here are a few of our favorite travel party decorations.
- travel themed hanging swirl decorations
- Adventure Awaits banner
- travel party photo booth props
- biodegradable globe balloons
Travel Theme Party Ideas
We’ll show you how to make:
- Swiss Raclette
- Indian Chana Masala
- Irish Tea Party
- Mexican Fish Tacos
- French Charcuterie Platter
- Peruvian Sopa Criolla
Switzerland Themed Travel Party – Raclette Grill
Raclette is an alpine cheese popular in Switzerland. In this case, it’s melted under a raclette grill while food is cooking on top. It’s a little like fondue in the sense that you are putting melted cheese and other food together, but our kids like it a lot more because there are not other ingredients mixed in the cheese like wine and spices.
We first learned about raclette from our friends at WorldTowning. Our families met up in France and they hosted a Swiss-style raclette dinner in their patio. Once of the fun things about a dinner like this is that everyone gets to participate in the grilling and since it takes awhile you get to spend some serious time relaxing and chatting.
You’ll need a raclette grill for this recipe. We bought one upon our to the U.S. after our year in Europe and love it. It’s great for dinner parties, book club dinners, and birthday parties.
You can grill whatever you want on a raclette grill; some things are more traditionally Swiss than others, but we like to make it our own.
This is the raclette grill we have – I’m sure others are good, too, but I can vouch for this one.
- Raclette cheese (Gruyère or Dubliner also work)
Non-Traditional, but yummy
- Red peppers
- Anything else you want to grill
Quarter and boil the potatoes until they are cooked, but not soft.
Marinate the mushrooms. I like a shiitake salad dressing for the marinade, but it’s not very Swiss.
Slice the veggies and bread.
Lay everything on platters and place the cheese on a cutting board with a knife.
Everyone can put their cheese in the trays and food on the grill as they wish. we’ve found the cheese melts faster than the food cooks, so maybe hold off on the cheese until the food is mostly cooked.
Place veggies and bread on your plate and scrape or racler the cheese onto the other food.
Other Switzerland Themed Party Activities
Bellies full of cheese and wine, settle into the couch for a movie set in Switzerland:
- Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith (Princess Leia’s home planet of Alderaan is actually the the mountains around Grindelwald)
- James Bond: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
- James Bond: Goldfinger
- Tom Brown’s Angels and Demons
- A Cure for Wellness
India Themed Travel Party – Instant Pot Chana Masala
— Preethi from Local Passport Family
This is a common Indian curry that I ate regularly growing up. Having it in India made by my aunties felt so comforting and welcoming. I love reliving those flavors in my own home now!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 t ground ginger
- 4 t ground cumin
- 4 t ground coriander
- 2 t ground turmeric
- 2 t garam masala
- 2 t paprika I like to use smoked paprika
- 1 t salt
- 1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
- 2 c dried chickpeas
- 2 c water
- 3 T lemon juice
Turn Instant Pot on sauté setting and add oil. When hot, add onions. Cook until translucent, stirring often.
Add garlic and cook for another minute until golden.
Pour in all the spices and toast for about 1 minute, stirring. Do not let burn.
Include tomatoes and dried chickpeas and stir until well coated.
Pour in water and change setting to manual high pressure. Make sure vent is sealed and set to cook for 50 minutes.
Release pressure manually when done cooking, and add lemon juice and additional salt if needed.
Eat with rice or flatbread (naan, roti, and poori are all good choices). Curry will be even better the next day (should it last that long), and also freezes well.
Other India Themed Party Activities
We love to think back on our trip to India and look at our photos. And it’s always fun video calling grandparents during the meal!
Read more about Preethi’s Instant Pot Chana Masala recipe.
Ireland Themed Travel Party – Tea Party
— Marta from Mama Loves Ireland
One of the highlights of all our family trips to Ireland are the pit stops for tea and cake! Ireland has a great tea tradition, tea being very much the most common and popular drink in the country, and most attractions have lovely tea shops with home made cakes and treats.
Maybe the most memorable of all our Irish tea experiences however was a fabulous afternoon tea we had at the Shelbourne hotel in Dublin. It was a long affair with multi-tiered trays, mini cake bites and small sandwiches in one of the most elegant hotels in Dublin: an unforgettable experience!
Making an Irish tea party at home is easy.
Ingredients and Instructions
- The main thing you need is, of course, tea. You don’t need a fancy china set for this however, we find that having nice cups out makes the whole experience more fun. The most common varieties of tea in Ireland are called Barry’s and Lyons, they are black teas, and they are always served with milk and, if you like it, sugar.
- For treats, our favorites are brownies, Irish scones, Irish apple cake, and banana bread. The Irish apple cake in particular is delicious with tea: it is a sponge type of cake or a ‘bread’ as they say and scones are also lovely. Irish ones are usually made with a lot of lovely Irish butter and serve with cream and jam.
Other Ireland Themed Party Activities
For the Irish feel to be complete, we like to put Irish music in the background (RTE kids radio is Irish and free online) and sometimes we even make Ireland inspired crafts to decorate the table. Flags and shamrocks are easy to make with paper and crayons and add to the atmosphere!
Mexico Themed Travel Party – Fish Tacos
— Katja from Globetotting
We lived in Mexico City for nearly six years and tacos quickly became part of our staple diet. Of the many types of tacos that we ate regularly, none could quite compare to fish tacos from our local taqueria, Tres Galeones.
Since moving back to the UK two years ago, we have been attempting to recreate an authentic Mexican taco – with some success!
- 4 skinless fillets of firm white fish. We use cod.
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 garlic glove, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 8 soft corm tortillas
Cut the fish fillets in half lengthways (so that they look like long fingers) and place in a roasting tin. Mix together the spices and sprinkle over the fish. Mix the garlic and olive oil and a bowl and drizzle over the fish. Road in the oven for approximately 10 minutes.
The tacos are best served with pickled onion (cut a red onion into thin slices and coat in lime juice), avocado, fresh coriander and chipotle mayonnaise.
Other MexicoThemed Party Activities
Since lockdown, we’ve taken to having virtual Friday night travels. Our first trip took us back to Mexico where we ate fish tacos and dressed up!
France Themed Travel Party – French Charcuterie Platter
— Chelsea from Pack More Into Life
Good food is at the heart of all French people. The French markets are full of delectable delights with fresh cheeses, delectable fruits and meats. Bakeries offer a plethora of breads to delight any palate.
The variety can suit your taste.
Ingredients and Instructions
Start with at least two cured meats. Dry cured sausage and salami are favorites. Then add 3-4 varieties of cheese: a hard cheese, a soft cheese, a blue cheese and perhaps an aged cheese. Add a fresh baguette (warmed in the oven), picked vegetables, olives, fresh jam, nuts and ground mustard.
Other France Themed Party Activities
To continue the French theme, watch the Disney movie Ratatouille, create your own stained glass Notre Dame windows, make lavender soap, and go on a bike ride for your very own Tour de France. Find tutorials for these activities and more travel themed activities for kids here.
Peru Themed Travel Party – Sopa Criolla
— Ariana from World of Travel With Kids
In Peru most local restaurants offer a cheaper fixed Menu of the Day consisting of a soup, main course, and then dessert. So you get to try many different typical meals by ordering the Menu of the Day, which I am sure is how I first tried Sopa Criolla /Sopa a la Minuta for the first time.
Translated it means beef noodle soup which explains why it is suitable for the kids – in fact they love it! Many other Peruvian soups feature big chunks of grisly (!) meat or chicken and are on the chewy side with big beans and lots of potato.
Sopa Criolla has ground beef making it delicious for the kids – and something that is easy and delicious to make when at home.
As I lived in Peru for over 10 years, this is a recipe that I can make from memory. The key ingredient is Aji Panca – which you can’t buy in Australia.
- freeze dried chili flakes from the supermarket in moderation in lieu of aji panca, works well (though doesn’t taste exactly the same). Or purchase on Amazon.
- minced beef
- 2 Tbl tomato paste
- 4 C beef stock
- angel hair pasta
- 1 egg/person
Fry onion, garlic, aji panca or chili peppers, and oregano until soft. Then add minced beef and about 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.
Once cooked, add beef stock and then angel hair pasta, which cooks really quickly.
Technically you are supposed to poach your eggs before putting them into the soup and serving… but I just break the egg into the soup and let it cook that way. It is such an easy dish that the kids can help make it as its quick and easy.
Other Peru Themed Party Activities
If you are looking for a movie the Emperor’s New Groove is set in Peru with the lead character named Cusco! While not technically correct, the kids really enjoyed it.
You can also read Peru books for kids.
Note about the picture: My mother and I, along with my two kids are eating a Peruvian delicacy – guinea pig (cuy) plus a big plate of noodles (tallarin). Needless to say, we have never eaten guinea pig at home!