For many travelers, finding safe and familiar food to eat is often a challenge, especially in destinations where the food culture is different from home. If you’re a vegan, the challenge is even bigger, but it’s certainly possible to find a way around it. Even in the most remote destinations, you can still find something vegan.
Here are some simple tips for eating around the world on a vegan diet.
Research Widely Before Traveling
Before traveling, there are numerous things to research about your destination such as accommodation, how you will get there and the local culture and cuisine. Different countries have different traditions and cultures surrounding food, and being familiar with those makes it much easier for you to navigate around as a vegetarian.
While there are countries where being vegan or vegetarian is not well understood, each destination has its own unique dishes and foods, and in case you can’t find something to eat, you may have to change your traveling itinerary. Make sure to research your destination widely before leaving for the trip so you can know what vegan foods you can find there.
Make Use of Tools Available for Vegans Planning to Travel
Technology is making things easier for vegans. With countless reviews, travel guides and traveler lists and tips online from fellow travelers, it’s easy to find local vegan restaurants and vegan-friendly destinations. Consider using tools and resources like Happy Cow, a leading go-to resource for finding vegan restaurants when traveling abroad and Couchsurfing to find local vegans and vegan groups that you can connect with directly once you get to your destination.
According to an article about the best vegan countries to travel to, on The Guardian, using such tools and visiting popular vegan blogs like Burger Abroad, Vegan Food Request and Lessons Learned Abroad makes it easier for you to find the right places to eat and know what’s on offer. Searching terms like the ‘best restaurants in Maryland’ or ‘top vegan restaurants in London’ can give you a number of great options.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask
Sometimes, the best way to know your way around is to ask. While you may feel uncomfortable to talk to a stranger in a foreign country, you should at least know how to say “vegan” or “vegetarian” in the local language or how to say “no meat.” If you don’t have the confidence to ask, print out those words on a small paper or card and show them in a restaurant.
Don’t hesitate to ask the hotel or host staff about the available vegan options, if any, in or around the area where you’re staying. Experienced local guides are also pretty familiar with vegan eateries, so contact one or two if you can. They’ll be willing to recommend a few good places you can try a vegan diet and even help you with communicating your dietary needs.
Opt to Prepare Your Own Meals or Pack Snacks from Home
Even if you can’t find good places to eat vegan food, you can find vegetables and fruits in just about any destination in the world. You can easily visit a market and buy some local fruits and vegetables to prepare your own meal. There is so much more to vegan traveling than simply looking for places to eat. Be adventurous with self-made meals.
Alternatively, you can also pack some crackers or granola bars to eat when hungry. While it’s always great to sample local foods whenever you travel, packing a few vegan snacks can do you some good when there are no other options. Just make sure they’re non-perishable things like chocolates, granola bars, and chips. These are perfect when you’re exploring around.
Carry Some Sweets
While you are traveling, be sure to stock up on some sweets. They are easy to carry and a delicious way to sustain you when you find yourself in a situation where you are searching for a vegan menu while you are hungry.
While, you will not want to carry sweets that melt in your bag or pocket, consider something like Skittles. Bulk Skittles candies make it easy to taste the rainbow. Keep peppermints and other hard candies to keep you satisfied while you look for a place to enjoy a meal.
Be Prepared to Adapt
As a traveler, you should always be prepared to adapt during your trip. What you may expect may not be what you get when you get there. Running into mishaps and unexpected things like being invited to a home meal and finding no vegan diet and getting no for an answer are some of the things you should expect to come across.
The world is a wonderful place. Experience the diverse cultures and see the world from a different perspective. Do not let your dietary requirements dampen your spirits. Just go for it. You will find what you need and it will be worth the effort.