Is there a McDonald's Restaurant in the city you are going to visit? If not, you may find you feel uncomfortable.
I am always searching for an easy way to answer the question,
"How developed is the city?"
If you are talking with a tourist and want to explain culture, then you need to find cultural identifiers they can relate too. Seasoned traveler often want to know where the local fresh food market is located, while tourists want to know where McDonald's or the local bars are located.
I am writing this from Panajachel, Guatemala, there is no McDonald's here in Pana, however, there is one in Antigua one of the major tourist cities between here and the capital Guatemala City. In a way, I left the tourist along the path, not all of them, but the majority.
I am Sneaky when Evaluating my Travel Friends
Now, as an experienced traveler, it is possible to be sneaky, to interview people to learn how knowledgeable they are about the world. I could for example ask, where is the McDonald's? Or, where is the open air market?
The answers will help me know who the person is, then gauge whether I should trust their opinions are more important question, like where is a good Hotel. Generally the more experienced travelers can evaluate housing much better than tourists.
However, 99 percent of the tourists on the planet will never go to country without a McDonald's. Many people say, I want to go off the beaten path, I would propose you are only off the path when there is no McDonald's.
I seen many parents who use McDonald's or Pizza to entertain their children, and I am not sure it is possible to break this habit.
Andy Graham 13 years of Perpetual Travel and 90 countries.