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When you’re at home, you can easily whip up your vegan meals or grab something from your local restaurant that you know is vegan. When traveling, getting your vegan means gets a little bit more complicated. However, complicated is far away from impossible! So if you’re a vegan traveler, here’s how you can easily stick to your lifestyle and eat like plant-based royalty:
Do some investigating
If you’re just choosing your travel destination, it might be smart to do some research on vegan food and restaurants in the areas you’re considering visiting. Some cities and even countries are more vegan-friendly than others. For instance, Southeast Asia is a great destination for vegans because they have a climate perfect for growing all sorts of delicious fruits and veggies all year round. China, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Greece, and Italy are also friendly to vegans and you can find many traditional dishes that are plant-based. Plus, New York, London, Budapest, and Berlin are abundant in vegan restaurants and eateries. On the other hand, places like Argentina, Iceland, Scandinavia, and the Balkans historically focus mostly on meat and fish in their diets and don’t have a very good supply of fresh fruit and veggies due to their climates. Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit these countries as a vegan—you’ll just going to need to work a bit harder for your meals, that’s it.
Use the apps and websites
If you want to find out all about great vegan restaurants, fast foods, and eateries, you can always consult the internet and get your answers. Start with Happy Cow, which is similar to Yelp, but for vegans. This app allows users to review vegan restaurants and leave useful tips for people coming after them such as the menu, hours, prices, location, etc. You can also go to Couchsurfing.com and visit some of the vegan groups. There you can find locals who are vegan and mostly willing to offer first-hand information on places to eat and places to buy the freshest plant-based groceries and snacks. If you want to make friends while traveling, ask helpful locals to join you, so you can share travel stories and vegan tips face to face.
Have some snacks in a pinch
If you’re traveling in a notoriously non-vegan country like Russia or Mongolia, arm yourself with plenty of snacks to get you by between meals. Granola bars are always a great option because they are easy to carry yet nutritious and calorie-dense. Dried fruits, nuts, and seeds are also a great snack option for travelers. And the best thing is that quality vegan snacks can be ordered online and delivered to your address. Plus, they come in handy packaging perfect for travel. Sometimes, when you can’t find anything vegan to eat, these snacks can save your life and make your trip much more comfortable.
Choose the right accommodation
When traveling as a vegan, try to choose lodging with a kitchen and a fridge. This way, you can rely more on cooking and prepping your own foods than on eating out (great for your wallet and your vegan diet if you’re somewhere without too many plant-based restaurants). Stock your fridge with veggies and fruits and add some whole grains to your pantry. This way, you can always home many options to prepare when you come back from your daily explorations and want to retire for the night with your plant-based homemade dinner.
Get over the language barrier
Many times, the biggest issue when traveling as a vegan is not avoiding animal products but explaining to the locals that you don’t eat animal products. It helps to have a few phrases memorized or written down in your notes for each country you visit. You can learn how to say “I don’t eat meat and animal products” and you can easily show that to the staff in restaurants or your good hosts. Make sure to write it down in the local language as well as phonetically in English so you can read it out to people and not sound crazy. If you know you’re going to have an internet connection, you can always use Google Translate—it’s a helpful tool for travelers of all lifestyles.
Learn about local food norms
Historically, some countries and cultures use animals as a source of food but also hunt them and kill them in their religious or cultural rituals. What is worse, these animals might include species that your culture might love and protect. This can come as a shock, especially if you didn’t know about this part of the local tradition. Therefore, it’s best to prepare in advance so you can get over the culture shock and be respectful towards others and their choices.
Eating vegan is not impossible while traveling, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Use these tips to your advantage and you’ll not only enjoy your travels but also stay true to your vegan lifestyle without too much stress.