Although there are millions of vegans all over the world, it’s not always easy to maintain this lifestyle when traveling to new places. From limited food options to language barriers, some places may be more difficult to maneuver than others.
But there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to see the world and avoid having to “cheat.” Here are some tips for vegan-friendly travel:
Do Research: While you should research your destination before any trip to learn about current events and the culture, pay close attention to the local cuisine as well. Knowing ahead of time that seafood or dairy is popular at your destination will allow you to properly prepare for your trip. Additionally, you’ll learn what meals you can eat and how to customize orders so they’re vegan friendly.
You should also research restaurant menus ahead of time (when possible) or even grocery stores so you can prepare your own meals if there’s a need.
Plan Ahead: Accept now that there will be times when you can’t get quick access to vegan-approved foods. As a result, you’ll want to bring back-up foods and snacks with you just in case. Good (and healthy) snacks include pretzels, nuts, dried fruit, granola, canned soups, pita bread, fruit, and fresh veggies, such as dark leafy greens and chickpeas. Hummus and other veggie-based dips are great travel snacks as well. You may even want to bring condiments or other ingredients, such as spices, nutritional yeast, chia seeds, soy milk, and mustard. While you might not be able to pack some of these items if you’re traveling by plane, try purchasing them after you’ve arrived at your destination.
Also, be sure to pack a dietary supplement and/multi-vitamin to ensure you get the nutrition you need if you can’t find a balanced meal.
Make it Easy for Others: When dining at a restaurant at your destination, don’t ask for vegan-friendly dishes. Instead, customize meals they serve by asking for them without certain items, such as meat, cheese, or butter. Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask about how the food is prepared; you have the right to know if something is braised with butter or eggs, or if there’s an ingredient that you cannot eat. And don’t be shocked if you don’t get the full scoop on how a dish is prepared. If you have any concerns, it’s best to stick to something you know you can trust.
Learn Basic Phrases: If you’re traveling to a place where you don’t understand the local language, you should at least learn basic phrases and words for things such as chicken, milk, eggs, or cheese. Knowing how to read and say these words is essential for maintaining a vegan-friendly trip. Look up words online before your trip and write them on notecards so you can easily carry them around with you.
Get Creative: If staying at a hotel, you can make your own meals using supplies in your room. Use the coffee pot to steam vegetables or cook soup, or the iron to heat up sandwiches; store perishable foods in the fridge.
Connect with Other Vegans: There are a number of different vegan communities (both offline and online) that you can connect with at your destination. By reaching out to them, you can get their recommendations for living vegan in the area.
Photo from Keepin’ It Kind.