Being a vegan can be incredibly rewarding, but it also presents a unique challenge when traveling. With some preparation, it’s easier than ever to eat vegan around the world without much stress. It’s natural to feel anxious about navigating the world as a vegan, but it’s easier now than ever before. No matter where you’re traveling, here are some tips for eating around the world as a vegan!
Do your research before you go
The recent popularity of the plant-based diet has made eating around the world as a vegan easier than ever before. However, you’ll still need to do your research before you travel. Make sure you’re familiar with the traditional cuisine and determine whether any of those dishes are already vegan or can easily be made vegan. For instance, in general, many Asian countries with a strong Buddhist influence have a veggie-friendly diet and culture. Also, progressive cities like Lisbon in Portugal, are packed with vegan options.
Another great way to research a location is through social media. Use hashtags on Instagram to help you determine the best places around town to find vegan food (plus, you can see some photos before you go!). For instance, if you’re visiting Lisbon, try to search #lisbonvegan, if you’re in London, try #londonvegan — and so on.
Pinterest can also be a wealth of a resource for finding vegan food all over the world. Having a list of vegan-friendly restaurants prepared before you travel is an easy way to get excited about your trip and feel more confident eating as a vegan abroad.
Eat raw food when traveling
While it can be hard to find vegan foods in traditional restaurants in much of the world, markets and shops will always sell fresh fruits and vegetables, most of which can be eaten raw! When in doubt, opt for a large fruit salad for breakfast or a big salad for lunch. Experiment with the local cuisine by trying locally grown fruits and vegetables that are hard to find at home.
Learn valuable vegan phrases
If you’re unfamiliar with the local language where you’re traveling, it can be helpful to learn some of the basics so you can communicate your dietary needs. If you’re afraid of making a mistake when you speak, write or print key phrases on notecards so you can show them to anyone preparing food for you. Also, many translation apps are available on your mobile phone, and may be worth downloading. Learning how to say “No meat/egg/fish” is an easy way to avoid uncomfortable situations.
Speak to your accommodation in advance
When you’re traveling, you have a lot of accommodation options to choose from like hostels, inns, and large chain hotels. Some of them are becoming more familiar with vegan travelers and they are willing to make arrangements to make your stay as comfortable as possible. This includes carrying soy milk in the lobby cafe or offering vegan selections for breakfast. It never hurts to ask before you go about whether or not your accommodation is vegan-friendly.
Choose places with a kitchen
Sometimes, it’s easiest to just cook the majority of your meals yourself while traveling. A lot of hostels and Airbnb’s come with their own kitchens, which can make preparing vegan meals convenient. This is also a great way to save some extra cash since meals are always less expensive if you’re willing to make them yourself!
Sign up for a vegan cooking class
In cities all over the world, you can sign up for a vegan cooking class and enjoy a meal that you’ve created yourself. It’s a great way to meet locals, and to learn the culture through food. With Portugal Farm Experiences, every vegan cooking class supports a great cause. Our Shiitake Mushroom Farm can be the perfect solution to try that can of classes, you can see here: Shiitake Mushroom Experience
Pack your own food containers and favorite snacks
Packing lightweight food containers and cups can make a big difference. These convenient boxes won’t take up much space or weight in your luggage — plus it makes it easy to bring your own vegan foods as you go exploring. Pack some sliced fruit in your backpack for a quick snack during your city excursion, or bring leftover dinner on a hiking trip. Being prepared can save you money, time, and stress.
Also, if you’re sure you won’t be able to access your favorite treats on the road, consider doing a bulk candy order of your favourite vegan sweets before you go. Maybe it sounds silly, but if you love having access to cruelty-free candies, this is a good trick to have up your sleeve!
Relax and enjoy your trip!
If you’ve done all your preparation beforehand, the only thing left to do is relax and enjoy your trip! Be sure to keep an open mind and be flexible in order to make the most of your trip.
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