Tip #1 — Never get sick again
Tip #2 — The magic of earplugs
Tip #3 — Four road food rules of thumb
Tip #4 — The rule of HAHU
Tip #5 — More hygiene!
Tip #6 — Staying connected
Tip #7 — Zipping through security lines
Tip #8 — One thing you should never do in a hotel room
Tip #9 — The secret(s) to beating jet lag
Tip #10 — The first thing you should buy

20 Responses to “Travel Tip #11 – The Hidden Benefits of Mickey D’s”

  1. Daniel, I also advocate McDonald’s, et. al., for (usually) clean restrooms, which can be very hard to find otherwise.

  2. Dan: It sounds like our McDonalds should start serving Singapore cuisine. If they did our obesity and diabetes levels might go down. I have visited a few in my travels and was happy to get some wine in Sweden even thought the food was still death by calories, fat, and salt. If I was going to die, I would die happy. Keep up the good work.
    Doug Green

  3. Jim Renzelmann says:

    I liked your video on McDonald’s. Especially like the shout out to Sheboygan, WI. My hometown and current residence. Just curious if there was a reason for the reference.

    I am a fan of your work, liked both books, Drive and A Whole New Mind. I reference them often in my 7th grade classroom and the graduate classes I teach.


  4. Dave Freeman says:

    Add this to the many reasons why I’m a Daniel Pink fan. I’ve visited McD’s in every country I’ve ever been in (to my wife and friend’s horror). My favorite used to be the thick ‘rice bun’ on the Taiwanese teriyaki burger. The McArabia in the Middle East was interesting too. India was most intriguing to me though. I was really curious as to how a burger joint could stay solvent in a country that didn’t eat beef. I really can’t say that the Chicken Maharaja Mac was everything I hoped for, but it was certainly an experience that has stayed with me.

  5. Cristina says:

    You’re right about soup in Portugal, though the last place I would go for one would be McDonalds. But it’s a great tip for doing research and see how a global company is doing ‘local’.

  6. Daniel,

    Please don’t misunderstand. I loved your TED talk, and your book, and look forward to your daily blog updates.

    But, dude, what a waste of the best city-state in the world to eat!

    I grew up in Singapore, in the 1960s, and you have to try to find bad food there. It’s like Paris, only better, and less expensive. And you can find every kind of wonderful food Asia has to offer at any of the hawker stall centers around Singapore.

    So, while I understand your basic point, you could accomplish the same thing by walking into McDonald’s, glancing at the menu board, and then turning around immediately and heading to any site that will make your food fresh. I recommend “chicken rice,” “duck rice,” “mee hoon (chow mei fun),” “kway tee ow,” — or just be adventurous, point to something that looks interesting, and try it.

    Mickey D’s in Singapore???!!! What a waste of a 20-hour flight…

  7. Jessica says:

    @Doug — Fear not. That wasn’t all I ate — not by a long shot. I agree that Singapore is an amazing eating locale. On this trip, I had my favorite comfort foods — chicken rice and fish ball soup. On previous trips, I’ve stuffed myself silly at Newton Circus. Also there I once had the best Thai food I ever ate — but for the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the place. Maybe it was a dream!

  8. Matt Dunn says:

    In Hong Kong, they put pepper in all the McChicken burgers, again something they don’t do across the world. They also serve beer in France as well as Germany. If you look at how Mcdonalds has revamped its image in the UK,it shows that they have adapted to changing demand from the public by adding Wi-Fi, relaxing armchair style seats and gone is the old red/yellow logos and plastic seats layout.

  9. Katherine says:

    The US also has some culturally fascinating food choices at the McDonalds (example: the pork burger). I have tried out the fun at McDonalds theory in Paris, only to end up sprinting (okay, speed walking) back to my hotel for a bathroom emergency. Yikes!

    My favorite thing to experience in different cultures is their version of fried dough: from funnel cake to churros to beignets (I discovered the Wikipedia page for multi-cultural fried dough while figuring how to spell beignet: The shapes are fun, and the taste differences between them is often negligible, making me feel united with the rest of the world.

  10. While I’m not as well-versed as Doug with regard to Singapore’s cuisine, I agree with his premise — eating at Mickey Dee’s!?

    Something about the whole organic thing makes me cringe at the idea of eating at McD’s. However, I do like the idea of surveying the menu (as a means for obtaining information about the local culture in a very “fast” way).

    With Love and Gratitude,


  11. Derrick says:

    There are a few posts here that I think fundamentally missed Dan’s point. I have no doubt that Mr. Pink will be sampling the finest chicken and rice, fish head curry, etc. but his point to try McDonalds is still a good tip that should be considered after your initial ‘no’ reaction that you’ll never go to McDonalds and that it is a waste of a meal.

  12. Jan-T. Brinkmann says:

    Wait what?
    You can get beer here in Germany’s McDonalds?!
    I’ve never noticed that…

    wait a second, I’m going to check that out…

  13. Jan-T. Brinkmann says:

    well it’s on the menu, but without the price óÒ
    the staff told me, that they don’t receive beer anymore for months. D:<
    But maybe they still have it in other cities.

  14. Chris says:

    Though I agree it is interesting to see the local offerings at international McD’s and that said offerings do give a glimpse into local culinary tendencies/traditions, I tend to seek out the hole in the wall and truly local “finds”. However, the one thing that in the theme of McDs and international travel tips: I have been finding McDs a reliable place to find free wifi around the globe!

  15. Tony Kwan says:

    I thought I was the only one with this travel fetish. Don’t get more, I think culinary is a big aspect of travel. But as mentioned, not only do you get a sense of the local “taste” reflected in McDonald’s menu abroad. ie. in Hong Kong & China, they serve fried rice.. It’s also fairly safe in terms of hygiene if for whatever reason you feel apprehensive about food safety in that particular locale.


    Tony Kwan

  16. This is more anthropological than gastronomical…that’s the point (thank you once again for a “different” look at culture). Reminds me of my favorite McDonald’s menu in the Roma Termini Station (that’s in Italy). I ordered the shrimp appetizer (when in Rome…I always say). BTW…I had the most delicious Viennese coffee at this particular iconic location

  17. Kate R says:

    Loved it! In China you can find western bathrooms in McD’s AND relatively decent coffee.

  18. joelfinkle says:

    In a previous note, he advised against drinking soda/pop…. but if you’re craving a Coke, McD’s will be significantly cheaper than in a restaurant. F’rinstance: In Barcelona, needing a little caffeine to stay awake through the first dinner, it was 3EU for a 200ml bottle, or about 7oz. Half that gets you a large Coke at McD’s.

  19. Dave says:

    Not sure about this tip. McDonalds in France was not good!

  20. DewiMorgan says:

    Agree with this one. I’ve eaten McD’s in Spain, UK, Thailand, several US states (they are NOT all the same!), and yes, Singapore.

    And sometimes, yes, you want to sample the local food. Sometimes, you’ve been working in a foreign country for an age, and you want something you recognize from home.

    For me, the foreign place is the US, and home is the UK, but eating at McD’s is a guaranteed-to-work thing: everyone had it “at home”, so it’s a universal “familiar environment”.

    Not only that, but not everyone is a gourmet snob who must sample every culture’s foods. For some, that would even be actively dangerous. If you’re like my wife, with a very sensitive stomach, McD’s will give you food your stomach knows, of a certain standard. A mediocre standard, perhaps: but one you can live with, which won’t turn your ass into a burning firehose for the duration of your stay.

    Your call: sample one session of fine dining, and then be confined to the hotel room, or eat normally and enjoy all the other experiences the place has to throw at you.