Are you looking for the perfect food ideas for a travel-themed party? Whether it’s a bridal shower, a birthday party, or even a Harry Potter party, we’ve got you covered! You can choose from so many amazing and unique recipes from around the world that your guests will be impressed with your culinary skills.
From New York pizzas to Mediterranean olive oil – and of course, there’s some delicious chocolate inspiration, too – in this guide, you’ll find all the food ideas you need to make your travel-themed party one to remember. So let’s explore some of these delicious treats that will delight any guest on any occasion!
Food Ideas for Various Party Themes
International Hors D’oeuvres
Serve a variety of small bites that represent different cuisines from around the world. Some options might be:
- Sushi is the perfect finger food, especially when served in bite-sized portions. Try sushi rolls with smoked salmon, cream cheese, cucumber slices, tuna or eel with avocado and cucumber slices, or shrimp tempura rolls with cucumber, carrots, ginger, and wasabi sauce.
- Empanadas – This savory pastry is famous in Latin American countries such as Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. Empanadas can be filled with meat or cheese and are baked or deep-fried until golden brown on the outside and soft on the inside. Serve them warm, which is when they taste best! Most grocery stores have frozen empanadas that are easy to prepare.
- Samosas – This Indian appetizer consists of deep-fried dumplings filled with potatoes, peas, and spices.
- Bruschetta – Prepare this Italian appetizer by spreading slices of bread with olive oil and topping them with tomatoes, basil leaves, and salt and pepper.
- Vegetarian hors d’oeuvres – many people like to eat vegetarian, so be sure to include some vegetarian options on your menu. For example, you could offer spinach pancakes or stuffed mushrooms for vegetarians.
- Vegetable platter – offers a selection of raw vegetables and dips such as hummus or baba ghanoush.
- Pita bread with tzatziki sauce – make your tzatziki sauce by mixing Greek yogurt with cucumbers, garlic, and dill weed. You can also buy it at most grocery stores.
For a travel-themed party, you can set up a station where guests can create their own street food-inspired dishes. To do this, you’ll need some serving platters, bowls, and utensils, and you can provide all the ingredients for each dish on a table.
Set up a station where guests can create their street food-inspired dishes, such as:
- Tortillas – Tortillas are commonly eaten in Mexican cuisine. They can be served as finger foods with salsa or guacamole dip.
- Fried rice – set up a station where guests can make their fried rice. You’ll need cooking oil and rice (white or brown).
- Noodle bowls – set up a station where guests can make their noodle bowl with noodles (ramen or udon), vegetables, and protein (shrimp, chicken, or beef).
You could also set up an international food bar where guests can choose from different dishes and ingredients they like best.
You could host a Mexican night with tacos and burritos; an Asian night with pho (Vietnamese noodles) or ramen (Japanese noodles); an Italian night with pasta and lasagna; an Indian night with samosas (deep-fried dumplings filled with vegetables) and naan bread; and a French night with crepes with fresh fruit or Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread).
Travel-Themed Main Courses
You can’t go wrong with these main dishes if your party is travel-themed.
- Beef Goulash with Pasta – This recipe is hearty, filling, and meaty! It’ll satisfy even the pickiest eaters at your party! Beef goulash is perfect for those who enjoy hearty meals like burgers or sandwiches. You can serve this dish with rice or mashed potatoes on the side if you want something lighter than pasta or noodles.
- Chicken Enchilada Casserole – Another hearty dish that is very popular at parties! It has the same flavors as traditional enchiladas, but without rolling the corn tortillas into little tubes, you have to make it yourself if you make it from scratch. It’s also easy to make and reheat before serving – so perfect for a party!
- Chili con carne – Chili con carne is one of my favorite slow cooker recipes because it’s so easy and delicious! There are so many ways to make chili con carne, but this recipe is one of my favorites because it has great flavor without being overly spicy or sour (like some chilies can be).
- Vegetarian Chili – Vegetarian chili is often made with beans and other legumes but can also be meatless. This recipe uses black beans, but you can also use kidney beans, chickpeas, or lentils. Be sure to add plenty of vegetables to your chili, so it doesn’t get too dry.
- Spicy Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps – These healthy, tasty wraps make an excellent appetizer for your meal. Fill them with beef and veggies or chicken and avocado if you prefer!
- Grilled Lamb Skewers with Greek Yogurt Marinade – These skewers are perfect for summer parties because they’re grilled outside on the grill instead of in the oven.
- Baked Salmon with Lemon Dill Sauce – This salmon is baked in foil packets, making it easy to transport and serve at a party. The lemon dill sauce gives it a delicious flavor without being too spicy.
- Baked Falafel Burgers with Tahini Sauce is one of my favorite foods, so I decided to make it into a burger! It’s delicious, easy to make, and has excellent flavor.
- Chicken Satay Skewers – Chicken satay skewers are great for parties because they’re small and easy to eat! You can prepare them ahead of time and keep them warm in the oven until you’re ready to serve them! They also taste great dipped in peanut sauce!
- Vegetarian pasta – You can’t go wrong with a pasta dish at your travel-themed party. This is the perfect recipe to get your friends talking about their favorite travel destinations or past travel experiences.
- Quinoa Pilaf – Quinoa pilaf is another versatile vegetarian main dish that can be served alongside any side dishes or salads at your travel-themed event. This recipe includes dried cranberries, almonds, and raisins.
- Hotdogs on Skewers – Hotdogs on skewers can be served with fresh tomato slices, pickles, and mustard. The hotdogs can be purchased at your grocery store and put in long sticks from the craft store. This is a dish that everyone will enjoy!
- Baked Potatoes – Baked potatoes are easy to prepare and perfect for vegetarians. Bake the potatoes in the oven with butter, salt, and pepper. You can add some vegetables or cheese to make this dish more filling for your guests.
- Spicy Tofu Stir Fry – Tofu is an excellent substitute for meat in many dishes. It has a firm texture and absorbs flavor well, making it perfect for stir fry dishes. This recipe calls for a hot seasoning blend, but you can also use your favorite blend or make your own with sesame oil, chili paste, or Sriracha sauce.
- Roasted Cauliflower Soup – Cauliflower makes an excellent base for soups because it thickens nicely when cooked. Roasting the cauliflower before adding it to the soup adds flavor and keeps this dish low in calories and healthy!
Create a dessert table inspired by your international guests. If you invite people from different countries to your travel party, serve them their favorite sweets from their home country.
You can serve desserts inspired by different destinations around the world, such as:
- French Macarons are made from almond flour, beaten egg whites, and sugar. These little treats are colorful and delicious! They come in many flavors, but some of the most common include vanilla, chocolate, and pistachio.
- Italian Gelato – Gelato is a famous Italian ice cream made with milk, cream, and eggs. It’s often served with toppings such as chocolate French fries or nuts. It’s known for its creamy texture and lightness compared to American ice cream because it contains less fat than regular ice cream. Less air is added during the manufacturing process, making it lower in calories than other types of ice cream. If you don’t want to make it yourself, you can buy it at bakeries or grocery stores near you or find it on Amazon.
- Moroccan sweets – In Morocco, they’re known as baklava. They’re made from phyllo dough and filled with syrup or honey or nuts like pistachios or almonds or walnuts or cashews or dates or figs or raisins.
- Black forest cake consists of a layer of chocolate sponge cake filled with cherries and whipped cream and sprinkled with chocolate French fries (black forest cake).
- Japanese Matcha Cake – Matcha is a green tea powder used in Japanese cuisine and desserts. It consists of specially grown green tea leaves ground into a fine powder. Instead, you can use it in any cocoa powder or baking soda/powder cake recipe!
- English trifle: This is one of the most popular English desserts, and it only takes a few minutes to prepare. The main ingredients are sponge cake soaked with sherry or whiskey and garnished with cream and fresh fruit.
- Portuguese Pasteis de Nata: These custard tarts are very popular in Portugal and are perfect as a dessert. Plus, they’re very easy to prepare!
Easy Party Food Ideas
Cheese and Charcuterie
Party food doesn’t have to be complicated. When hosting a party, it’s always important to keep things simple and easy to eat. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still whip up something delicious and fun!
Cheese and charcuterie boards are a great way to show off your culinary skills and entertain your guests. They’re also perfect for parties because they can be prepared in advance and then placed on the table at the last minute. No one will ever know!
It’s best to put together a selection of cheeses and meats from different regions, along with sides like olives, pickles, and bread. This is an excellent option if your guests have different tastes or allergies – make sure everyone knows what’s on the board so they can avoid foods they don’t like or have restrictions for (e.g., vegetarians).
Provide a snack mix with international flavors, such as wasabi peas, spicy nuts, and Sriracha-flavored popcorn.
- Beach-themed snacks – have tropical drinks on hand for guests to sip while they mouth beach balls made of cheese or pineapple slices with toothpicks.
- Theme park snacks – serve pretzel necklaces and animal crackers shaped like roller coasters for the kids and hot dogs for the adults.
- Music festival treats – serve fruit skewers with marshmallows on sticks, mini doughnuts dusted with powdered sugar, and mini sandwiches cut into triangles that look like water bottles with your favorite band’s name on them.
- French fries and dips – serve your favorite salsa with French fries or offer different dips like hummus or baba ganoush.
- Candy bars – wrap candy bars in colorful cellophane bags and tie them together with colorful ribbons for an easy DIY party favor.
- Pretzels – bake homemade pretzels in the oven and serve them with dipping sauces, like honey mustard or chocolate ganache.
- Gingerbread – bake a batch of gingerbread cookies and decorate them with sprinkles for an extra festive touch.
- Popcorn – popcorn is one of the easiest party foods to make (and eat!). You can even make caramel popcorn and decorate it with nuts or candy.
- Hummus and Pita French fries – serve this classic Mediterranean appetizer as part of a snack spread – it goes with just about anything!
Drinks for a Travel-Themed Party
Set up a station with a variety of international drinks, such as:
- Sake – The Japanese rice wine sake is served warm or cold in the winter and at room temperature in the summer. Sake has been drunk in Japan for over 2,000 years!
- Chai Tea – Chai tea is a traditional Indian drink made from black tea leaves, spices such as ginger and cardamom, milk, and sugar. It’s usually served steaming hot but can also be enjoyed cold or iced in the summer.
- Horchata – This sweet drink is popular in Mexico and Central America, especially in Mexico City.
- Cocktail station – set up a cocktail bar where you can mix drinks like lychee martinis or Moscow Mules.
- Wine and cheese bar – set up an area with various cheeses, crackers, and wines for guests to enjoy.
- Beer Garden – Set up a beer garden with tables and chairs, umbrellas, and potted plants.
Inspiration for Your Lunch or Dinner Party Decor
You can host your travel-themed party by decorating your home with travel-related items. You can also make a travel board game for your guests to play. For example
- Travel posters are easy to find online or in a local store. They come in all sizes and colors, so you can choose what you like best. They look beautiful on the walls of your home, especially when combined with other travel-themed decorations like balloons, etc.
- Travel books – you can display books on different travel themes, such as adventure, culture, nature, fancy places, etc., to add depth to your party theme.
- Balloons are inexpensive to decorate your home for any occasion and look fantastic when combined with other decorations such as posters, etc. You can use different colors, such as pastels if you want a feminine touch, or if you want something more vibrant, opt for bright colors like orange, red or green, yellow, etc., that will give your party a vivacious atmosphere!
Ideas for Party Games on the Theme of Travel
Party games are a fun way to get people talking and laughing. But if you’re planning a travel-themed party, why not incorporate games that help guests learn about the places they’ll be visiting?
Here are some ideas for games that will entertain your guests while helping them learn about your destination:
- Geography trivia game – ask guests to name five countries connected to their destination by land or water. For example, if you’re going to Mexico, ask them to name three countries that border Mexico. If you’re traveling to Europe, ask them to name five countries that border one of the European countries.
- What is in my bag? – Fill the bags with items related to different places in the world. Then give each guest a bag and ask them to guess which country each item is from without looking in their bag. This game is both educational and fun!
- The most significant difference between two cities – Get two groups together (one for each city) and have each group list three differences between their city and the other (e.g., one city has more skyscrapers than the other). Have each group share their answers so everyone can see how similar or different these cities are!