Traveling While Vegan: How to Eat Around the World on a Vegan Diet
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Ever since I went vegan almost 9 years ago, the hardest challenge wasn’t missing the taste of meat, cheese, or even eggs. It wasn’t facing the avalanche of questions about my dietary choices from colleagues, friends, and even strangers. It wasn’t finding vegan options in the local supermarket. And it wasn’t the get-togethers I had with my friends and the parties I went to. It was traveling – and it still is.
No matter the destination, my initial thought, when I'm traveling, is that I will end up starving to death. Rummaging through the supermarkets is a short-term solution until you start craving for some freshly cooked and hot food.
There have been cities, such as Amsterdam, where being vegan was a breeze. Everywhere I look, there’s at least a vegan or vegetarian restaurant. There were also, lots of vegan options to choose from in the supermarkets.
But other countries, like Bulgaria, on the other hand, wasn’t the friendliest vegan destination out of the bunch, even though my non-vegan friends told me the food was spectacular.
I also visited Sfantu Gheorghe once, in my home country of Romania, and it was a living hell, food-wise. And here I thought it would be a great idea to spend a whole week in a remote fishing village. Looking back, I might have been bonkers. Needless to say, I got so fed up with ‘sad’ salads, eating bread, and French fries, the trusty vegan companion, that I still, to this day, have an aversion to fries.
A ‘sad’ salad for a sad vegan with no options. Image credit: Cristina Costea
Traveling while vegan isn’t easy, and we all know how food can make or break a holiday so on this post, I’m sharing some useful tips to help you navigate a world of carnivores:
Go on a Vegan Retreat
My first tip on traveling while vegan is to take all the guesswork out of your vacation planning and book yourself a spot on a vegan culinary vacation to enjoy all the wonderful mouth-watering goodies that come with it!
You get to eat good food, experience a new and exciting destination, meet other vegans, and in some cases, even learn how to cook some vegan dishes. In short, what more could you want?
Do Your Research
Us vegans must do a bit more research than the average person before choosing our destination or embarking on a travel adventure. Do your research before you leave, and do it well. Look up vegan places on Facebook, Google, Yelp, and Instagram.
Do a thorough Google search and see some of the best-rated vegan restaurants in the area. Also, check vegan forums and see what people have to say about your destination. Ask for recommendations on things and places you should go to and look out for.
Another great resource is travel blogs. There are many vegan travel blogs out there, and I highly recommend you browse through at least half a dozen and see what they have to say about your destination. You can even get in contact with the bloggers themselves and ask them a few questions, or engage with other readers in the comment section.
Pack Plenty of Snacks
As a vegan, it is vital to have snacks on you at all times when you are traveling. It’s happened to me countless of times – hungry or hangry and not found a single restaurant which offers vegan options. And so, I would roam the streets, famished, sad, and not having any more patience to see the sights or enjoy the company. Because when you’re hungry, walking and sightseeing are the last things on your mind. You need to eat and it needs to happen as soon as possible!
So, with that in mind, I would recommend you grab a few energy or granola bars, trail mix, or even some homemade crackers or sweets, that will definitely fill you up and satisfy your sweet tooth. Be prepared, otherwise, your tummy will do everything in its power to ruin your vacation!
Educate Yourself on Local Food
Munching on a supermarket bought meal at a park. Image credit: Cristina Costea
Before you leave for your trip, make sure you educate yourself on local food. Don’t let it take you by surprise because there may not be many people who can answer the eternal question ‘Is this vegan?’.
Ensure that you know beforehand of most of the vegan foods the destination holds. Especially when it comes to street food, which is yummy goodness wherever you may go. If you don’t know if something is vegan, and it seems that nobody can answer that question for you, then you should definitely…
Learn Useful “Vegan” Phrases
When traveling, it’s crucial that you know how to explain to the waiters, in their native tongue, what it is you are and aren’t eating. Learn a few words or phrases and if you’re not so certain on your accent or pronunciation, then I would highly recommend you write them down on your phone or on a piece of paper and show it to them when you’re ordering your food so you won’t end up getting any ‘surprises’ when your it arrives at your table.
Book an Accommodation with a Kitchen
Tempeh with soba noodles and wakame. Image credit: Cristina Costea
If you love to cook, then another option would be to book your accommodation with a kitchen, so that you whip up a thing or two when the mood strikes.
I know some people prefer to not do any cooking when on vacation, but trust me when I tell you: if you’re hungry and there are no good vegan options around, you will want to cook! Also, notify your hosts of your dietary preferences before you arrive, so that they are able to prepare accordingly.
Hope these tips will help you make the most of your travels. With that in mind, have yourself a great (vegan) holiday!
Ready to embark on an exciting culinary adventure? Head on over to BookCulinaryVacations.com and book yourself a spot on a scrumptious vegan retreat today!