It’s no shocker that dietary restrictions can make eating out difficult. Add travelling to a foreign country (plus, a language barrier!), and eating out can turn into a tricky experience that could take the shine off your travel adventure.
However, if you come prepared, travelling as a vegan can be relatively easy. With these top 10 tips for vegan travel, you can experience a country’s cuisine without sacrificing your beliefs.
Thanks to the internet, researching vegan restaurants has never been easier! Here are some notable resources for connecting with other vegans, as well as discovering local food options:
Consider asking the staff at your hotel or hostel about local vegan dining choices, too!
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If English is spoken where you’re travelling to, then communicating your dietary requirements shouldn't be too hard.
However, in non-English speaking countries, it’s a good idea to memorise or write down some useful phrases like “I don’t eat meat” and “Is there egg/meat/dairy in this?”
Sometimes it is easier to say you’re allergic to eggs or butter when ordering vegetarian dishes. This way, the person preparing your food takes extra caution not to cook with these ingredients.
With technology at your fingertips, it has become a lot easier to communicate your dietary needs to chefs and shop owners around the world – even if they don’t speak the same language as you! Check out these two resources to help you do this:
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Make sure you have some vegan snacks on hand for when you get a little peckish. This is especially important when there are no vegan-friendly options nearby.
It doesn’t hurt to pack some extra granola bars, trail mix or dried fruits and nuts from home, too. That way; you know they are vegan-friendly. Pop those in your bag and you’ll be good to go!
Alternatively, visit local markets to score some fresh fruits and vegetables to devour.
If you are travelling long-term, eating at highly rated vegan restaurants for every meal won’t be cheap. So, plan ahead and book accommodation with kitchen facilities. It also comes in handy if vegan restaurants are few and far between. Having a kitchen at your disposal where you can make your own food will ensure you won’t go hungry!
Being able to store your own groceries, and prepare your own meals, will make vegan travel easier. No doubt, you have some favourite vegan recipes you can whip up. Why not get experimental and try cooking with some local ingredients to add a local flare?
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Before booking a hotel or hostel online, get in touch with them to enquire about how vegan-friendly they are.
Some places are beginning to offer vegan options at breakfast, such as almond milk for cereal, tea and coffee - while others do not. Many places can provide soy milk if you ask nicely, so don’t be shy when requesting it.
One thing you might not have thought about is the hotel décor. Chances are you don’t want to be sharing a room with taxidermy animals, or have an animal head mounted on the wall above your bed. Chat to your accommodation, or have a look through images of the available rooms online so you’re not caught out.
Finding vegan toiletries and cosmetics is one of the harder challenges to being a vegan on holiday.
While you may get lucky and find somewhere you can buy vegan shampoo, soap, or cosmetics, it’s not something you can rely on.
If you don’t want to be in a pinch, and have to sacrifice your beliefs for some soap, play it safe and bring your own supplies with you on holiday.
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Reading vegan travel blogs is one of the best ways to find personal advice about travelling as a vegan. Get insider tips and inspiration from like-minded travellers to help you along your journey. Check out these vegan blogs to get you started:
Vegan meetup groups are great if you are interested in meeting local vegans, or other vegan travellers from around the world. Why not get together and enjoy great, cruelty-free meals or drinks as a group? You’ll be making like-minded friends in no time!
There are plenty of vegan groups on Facebook that you can join, based in major cities around the world. It’s worth having a look online to see if there is a group of local vegans you could meet up with! Or simply if you just want to chat and get some local insight into vegan living in a foreign destination.
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Although not very common, specific vegan-friendly accommodation can be a viable option. Depending on where you are travelling to as a vegan, resources like HappyCow.net can list some suitable options for vegan-friendly accommodation.
In these types of hostels and guesthouses, it’s common courtesy not to cook fish or meat in the communal kitchens. This makes for a more comfortable stay for vegan or vegetarian travellers.
If you’re lucky enough to find vegan-friendly accommodation, jump at the chance to stay there! It'll make your trip that much easier.
If you are strapped for time and don’t want to spend hours researching a destination, then jet off to a well-known, vegan-friendly city for your next vacation.
Cities such as New York, Berlin, Toronto, Melbourne and Austin are fantastic destinations for vegan travellers. With lots of delicious vegan restaurants to try, your tastebuds will be in sensory-overload!
Places such as Russia and Mongolia may be more difficult as a vegan traveller. This is mainly because their prominent meat diets - on top of the difficult language barrier! That is not to say you shouldn’t travel to these kinds of destinations, just that they will require more research and planning. Otherwise, you’ll end up surviving on a very bland diet.
With these vegan travel tips up your sleeve, exploring the world and enjoying the local cuisines on offer should be a positive experience – and one that doesn’t have you dreading mealtimes!