Finding vegetarian options while you’re travelling, especially if you’re not in a cosmopolitan city, can be a bit of a challenge. Since veganism is now just hitting the limelight, you might struggle with finding vegan options but it isn’t always a dead end. Many people seem to think that vegan travelling is basically impossible.
However, just because you’re a vegan, doesn’t mean you have to renounce an amazing travel experience! You just have to research a bit in advance, pack your favorite snacks for emergencies and remember to always keep an open mind.
To help you better understand how to eat vegan while travelling, we’ve put together a list of 10 best traveling vegan tips in this brief guide.
10 Traveling Vegan Tips
1. Find vegan-friendly spots
The first thing to do before travelling is to do some research on the best vegan-friendly spots you can find once you arrive at your destination and also during your trip.
You can simply look up your destination and type “vegan” on Google and Yelp, and see what pops up. You can find restaurants, vegan spots, awesome guides, and even articles. TripAdvisor can be another good information source, much like Yelp.
HappyCow is an amazing resource to find vegan restaurants and stores near your location: you can click on a restaurant, check out photos, menus, and also read reviews.
2. Make life easier for street vendors
This tip is particularly useful if you intend to try a lot of street food, which you definitely should because trying out local street food is a wonderful experience for every travel. It helps you understand the city/country’s culture, norms and is just a tasty way of learning about the place.
For example, if you’re traveling to East Asia you can try to carry a small bottle of vegan soy sauce with you so that you can provide the street vendors with a substitute for the original fish sauce that they use in their food. You won’t have to miss out on any flavour (if you ask them to make it without the sauce) and still stay true to your morals!
3. Bring extra vitamins
Maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet can sometimes be a challenge for vegans even at home, and thus it can definitely be harder when traveling. You often find yourself with less control over your diet, so it’s always a good idea to pack extra vitamins with you in case you can’t find fulfilling vegan meals everywhere.
4. Pack your favorite vegan snacks
Another really good idea is to pack your favorite vegan snacks for travel: your best bet is something easy to transport and easy to eat, healthy and protein-packed.
This will help you keep hunger at bay in situations where you don’t have access to vegan options or you’ll simply have a tasty yet nutritious snack at hand to sustain your body while you travel!
You can try this with nuts, seeds, homemade or bought granola, trail mix, roasted chickpeas, or healthy protein bars. There are a lot of tasty and easy choices, so just pack a few vegan travel snacks or pick them up on the way!
5. Learn a few sentences in the local language
Ordering food when there’s a language barrier can be difficult, but explaining your dietary needs in the same situation is an even bigger challenge.
The best thing you can do in such situation is to learn useful phrases that can help you inquire about ingredients or communicate exactly what you want to be left out of a dish.
Make sure you know how to ask the important questions and how to ask to avoid certain ingredients.
6. Study local ingredients
Similar to the previous tip, learning about local ingredients can prove to be a really good idea. You should spend a bit of time, before arriving in a new country, translating the most common words for certain food or ingredients.
Look for the most popular and most used ingredients of the specific country/city you’re going to travel to, so that you can learn exactly what you can and cannot eat.
This is particularly helpful because it means you won’t accidentally miss out on amazing new culinary experiences just because you can’t understand the ingredients of a specific dish!
7. Find accommodation with a kitchen
Another really interesting idea is to stay somewhere where you’ll be able to cook for yourself. You can opt for a hotel suite that has a kitchen or you can rent a house or a hostel room with a shared kitchen. Airbnb provides you the liberty to book homes and apartments through their app and you can control what your room looks like through their services! This way you’ll be able to cook your own meals using known local ingredients, and have an authentic, culinary experience while being mindful of the ingredients you’re using so that you can be sure that you are, in fact, enjoying a vegan meal.
If this isn’t a feasible option, you can also simply opt for an accommodation that has a fridge, because that is a perfect option for storing leftovers and easy meal options, like plant-based yogurt, plant-based milk, hummus, and vegetables.
8. Bring your own toiletries
Being a vegan that is traveling means you’ll also have to think about vegan beauty and hygiene products. The only way to avoid inconvenience is to pack your own soaps, hair products, skincare products, and other essentials.
The best thing about vegan toiletries is that you can find many dry/ solid products that will be incredibly easy to travel with: you’ll avoid possible spills in your bags, and they’ll make dealing with airport security much easier.
If you can’t find travel-sized options, you can always buy travel-sized empty bottles and fill them with your own products.
9. Plan in advance
Another really helpful tip is to just plan and prepare all your meals in advance. Research your options and jot down a meal plan for the duration of your whole journey.
You can either find vegan places where you can eat or look for local markets and stores where you can pick up fresh ingredients. The important thing is to plan in advance so that you’ll never have to worry too much about what to eat.
10. Keep an open mind
Remember to always keep an open mind! Ask for ingredient replacements when you’re at a restaurant with no actual vegan options, but if you come across a local dish that is vegan, keep an open mind and try it out even if you have to step out of your comfort zone and adapt to its taste.
Being a vegan on the road doesn’t mean you won’t be able to maintain a vegan lifestyle while you’re away from home.
The most important thing is to do your research in order to avoid getting into some frustrating situations or ending up eating something that isn’t suitable for vegans.
Try to educate yourself as much as you can on local ingredients and local food, bring vitamins, vegan snacks, and remember to always keep an open mind and have fun. That’s the best way to get the most out of your travels!