UO GUIDE: VEGAN TRAVEL TIPS WITH @LAURESQUEMarch 7, 2017
To me, traveling is an essential aspect of life. Experiencing new things, wandering through beautiful surroundings, learning about different cultures, chasing adventure, watching sunsets on rooftops in cities filled with mysteries and stories yet to discover, memories yet to create. I don’t know what I’d do if I wouldn’t be able to discover and explore. Leaving comfort and my daily slump behind and going out into the world is refreshing and the feeling of freedom is so addictive.
Something people often tend to ask me about is whether eating a plant-based diet makes traveling difficult for me. The answer is very simple: no. With a tiny bit of effort and the right amount of preparation, traveling while being vegan is completely problem-free and often allows me to get off the beaten track and discover parts of countries and cities regular tourists never would!
Here are my tips for a comfortable and stress-free vegan traveling experience.
1. Do research beforehand
Before you leave the comforts of your home, the grocery store just around the corner and your favourite vegan friendly restaurants, make sure to do some research and look up local cafes, stores, dishes and ingredients for the country or city you’re visiting. HappyCow.com is a very handy website to use, but googling should do the trick just as well. Make sure not only to look up trendy restaurants, but common dishes, fruits that are in season and other cheap/easily accessible alternatives as well.
2. Fruit & veg are your best friend
Whenever I travel I tend to eat loads more fruit and veg than I do at home (which is crazy because I always eat loads of fruit and veg). This might be a bit different for everyone, especially for those who are not into greens and fruits, but it is the most convenient, cheap and healthy way to be vegan while traveling. Fruits and vegetables, especially locally sourced, in season ones, are usually easy to get, nutritious and don’t cost much. Combine with (canned) beans, potatoes, rice or other sources of starch and you’ve got yourself a meal.
3. Always carry some snacks with you
There has been more than one occasion when there wasn’t any vegan food accessible for a long period of time and I ended up being very hungry. The best way to avoid being in a similar situation is to always carry some kind of snack with you. Granola bars are compact and usually satisfy my hunger for a couple of hours. Try to save them for emergencies though – the local food is probably way better and a lot more exciting.
4. Find accommodation with a kitchen
Whenever I travel I always try to find an accommodation with a kitchen. To be able to cook my own meals saves me a lot of money and makes it way easier to be vegan without too much of a hassle. Most (youth-)hostels usually have public cooking areas and are very affordable to stay at. If you prefer an accommodation that’s a bit more private, AirBnB or regular hotels/B&B places often have kitchens as well. Just make sure to look it up before you book!
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself: fries are okay!
On some occasions there might just be no vegan options. If you travel with other non-vegan people, chances are that you’ll go out to grab some dinner at a place that doesn’t have any vegan dishes. In these cases I’ll usually have a portion of fries and a plain salad. If fries aren’t an option, maybe a plain bowl of rice, potatoes or vegetables will be available. Though it isn’t great, sometimes you’ll just have to compromise and eat whatever is available. Try not to be too picky.
6. Learn some essential words in the local language
Words like ‘eggs’, ‘milk’, ‘dairy’, ‘meat’ and ‘fish’ may come in very handy when locals don’t speak English very well or don’t know what veganism is. You might just end up with a fried egg or omelette if you ask for a vegan meal without being specific.