7 Tips on Traveling as a Vegetarian or Vegan

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There’s a rumor going around that it’s difficult to travel as a vegetarian or vegan because you will be faced with bland or perhaps even nonexistent food choices. Nothing could be farther from the truth! With just a little planning and research, you can expect to chow down on some great food choices and meals just about anywhere you go, whether it’s within your own country or you are traveling abroad. I know, because I’m vegan.

Read about Trending: vegan food will be hot in 2018

Consider these tips:

Plan plane travel. For short flights, bringing your own non-perishable snacks or even buying something at the airport (there are usually a few options at most airports) is best. For longer flights, you can contact the airline either by phone or by visiting the website after you have made your reservation and request a vegetarian or vegan meal.

Know the language. If you are travelling to a foreign country and are not fluid in the language, be sure you are familiar with certain words and phrases, such as “meat,” “fish,” “cheese,” “is this vegetarian?” and “is this vegan?” You may want to use a translation app on your phone or keep a small dictionary handy for looking up words on menus and food labels. 

Research vegetarian/vegan groups. Hundreds of vegetarian and/or vegan groups can be found around the world, and there’s a good chance there is at least one in or near your travel destination(s). Simply search online for such groups by city, state, country, or province and then check out their website, Facebook page, and other information. You may make some new friends or at the very least, be provided information about the best places to eat or buy vegetarian or vegan food.

For example: Visiting Austin, Texas? Then contact the Austin Vegan and Vegetarian Association. Going to or near Toronto, Canada? Then try the Toronto Vegetarian Association. Going abroad? Then try Expat Focus, which provides a wealth of information on where to find the best food and expats if you’re in the mood for company! Another way to find like-minded individuals at your destination is to check out the vegetarian or vegan meetup groups in the area. Happy Cow is a resource for veggie eateries, places to stay, and other veggie travel tips.

Bring along non-perishable snacks. This tip can apply to anyone, not just vegetarians and vegans, but it can be especially helpful for the latter two groups. Keep snacks handy no matter if you travel by car, bus, plane, train, or on foot. Dried fruit, high fiber crackers, tetra-packed beverages, protein bars, and a wide variety of add-water soups and oatmeal, and other plant-based foods are good choices.

Read our vegan chocolate zucchini muffin recipe

Do a vegetarian/vegan travel adventure. Would you like to travel with other vegans or veggies? Then you may want to sign up for a vegetarian or vegan tour, cruise, hiking holiday, or other adventures. In Ireland, for example, check out Vegan in Ireland for tours and classes. Holistic Holiday at Sea offers vegetarian and vegan cruises and other health-related holidays. Veg Jaunts and Journeys provides vegan tours in Europe and the states. Several other options for restaurant and accommodations can be found at vegvisits and vegguide

Call ahead. Do some research online for restaurants in your destination(s) and check out their menus for plant-based options. You may also want to call or email ahead to ask if they can prepare special requests.

Expand your horizons. You don’t have to compromise your vegetarian/vegan stance, but there may be occasions when you will be called upon to try an unfamiliar fruit, vegetable, grain, nut, legume, seed, or dish prepared in an unconventional manner, especially when traveling outside of your native country. Are you ready for mangosteens, dragon fruit, freekeh, candlenuts, kaniwa, or peanut stew?

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Deborah is a freelance health writer who is passionate about animals and the environment. She has authored, co-authored, and written more than 50 books and thousands of articles on a wide range of topics. Currently, she lives in Tucson, Arizona.