Top 5 Tips for Vegan Travel: Being a vegan is undeniably one of the best decisions I’ve made for my life. It has improved my vitality, encouraged me to get very creative in the kitchen, and I know I’m taking care of the planet. As I talk with people about a vegan lifestyle for beginners, I often get questions about being a vegan while travelling. The truth about this is simple: it’s easy to be a vegan while travelling!
I know that seems unbelievable, but over the years of being a vegan, I’ve traveled to many different countries around the world. At first, of course, I found it to be challenging and often had to eat really simple meals. But the truth is you can eat wonderful, delicious, and authentic local meals while staying true to your vegan diet! Here are 5 of my best tips for eating a vegan diet while travelling.
1. Plan Ahead Before You Travel
This one might seem obvious, but it couldn’t be more important! Before you go on any trip, you take time to research your destination. You figure out where you are going to stay, how to use transportation, and what sights you want to see during your days and nights. Well, as a vegan, I like to add research about vegan options to my travel research.
As I prepare for a trip, I take time to look up vegan restaurants in the city I’m traveling to. I like to take a map and mark where all the restaurants are, especially restaurants close to tourist destinations. But on top of restaurants, I also like to look up vegan cafes, farmer markets, and other whole food grocery stores where I’ll be able to find healthy options. A great resource for this kind of research is happycow.net. Once you’ve got this research done, you can feel more confident about staying vegan during your travels.
2. Pack Smart Snacks
Even though you can usually find vegan options anywhere in the world, some places might lack the nutrient dense food that you are used to. For me, I like to bring along nutrient rich foods, and protein bars to supplement my travel diet, which can often be high in carbs and fats, but low on protein and vegetable diversity.
If you’re nervous about getting enough variety in your diet, or you just like to snack during the day, pack lots of snacks into your luggage before your trip. Snacks that I like to bring include: vegan protein bars, granola bars, chia seeds, hemp seeds, green powders like spirulina, goji berries, and cacao nibs. With these on hand, you can be confident you’ll keep up your nutrient intake, even if you’re living on rice and beans for a few days!
3. Graze Throughout the Day
Remember that although food is a big part of travel, it isn’t all of it! Focus the energy on your trip on seeing all the cool things in the cities and countries that you are visiting. While you explore, spend the day snacking and grazing on fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds. This will keep you full and happy while you explore, and help you avoid trying to find a vegan meal in a meat-loving culture.
Also bonus, if you snack throughout the day, you can try all the vegan options for streets foods that exist around the world. It might seem surprising, but street food markets can be some of the best places to find vegan options. Fresh fruit smoothies, sliced vegetables with chili paste, or light noodle salads, all of these things are either already vegan, or can easily be made vegan by omitting just one or two ingredients. Feel free to graze all day and explore the markets looking for delicious vegan options.
4. Learn Useful Phrases
This tip is one that all travelers should do, not just vegans! But it’s extra important for vegans to learn a few useful phrases in the local language before you get there. Being able to ask for vegan foods, or explain what vegan foods are, will make your life so much easier day to day. On top of that, it’ll make it easier to meet locals and find local friends! And who doesn’t want that while traveling?
Some of my favorite phrases to learn before I get on the plane include:
- I am a vegetarian.
- I don’t eat meat.
- I don’t eat fish or chicken.
- No eggs, please.
- No fish sauce.
- Thank you!
A big part of this is researching local cuisine before you go. If you’re travelling to Asia, make sure you learn the words for fish sauce, anchovy paste, and other non-vegan ingredients that are included in many dishes. The same is true for other parts of the world. Also, remember that vegan might not be a concept that most locals know, so be prepared to explain what foods you do and do not eat. Some cultures think that vegetarians still eat fish!
5. Find Apartments or Hostels with Kitchens
This last tip can go a long way on making your trip easier, especially if you’ll be travelling for an extended period of time! Using websites like Hostelworld or AirBnB, it’s easy to find places that include kitchens. Being able to cook your own meals sometimes will help you get more variety into your diet, and won’t make your new foreign travel diet a shock to your system.
As a bonus, cooking your own meals lets you explore the local markets and discover new, local ingredients! It’s so much fun to cook with herbs, spices, or vegetables that aren’t available back home. And exploration is what travel is all about.
Get Out There And See The World As A Vegan
Travelling as a vegan doesn’t have to be difficult. If you take the time to do your research and discover the foods and restaurants that cater to vegans, you can enjoy every moment of your trip without worrying about your diet. And once you come back home, make sure you review those restaurants and write about it in your blog, so that other wanderlust vegans can benefit from your knowledge!
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