Vegan travelers have it hard sometimes. From local customs in off-the-beaten-track places to shortages of nutritious ingredients, sometimes its just hard to eat plant-based when traveling. But we are here to tell you that YOU CAN DO IT! Here are our 7 TIPS FOR VEGAN TRAVEL to make your plant-based backpacking trip easier in any situation.
7 Tips for Vegan Travel
1 – Research your destination:
Every country is different when it comes to vegan food. Sometimes the places you think will be the easiest turn out to be very difficult. It’s always good to know what you are getting into before you hit the ground.
2 – Use sites like Happy Cow:
There are many websites out there that help you to find vegan eating options. Happy Cow is like “Yelp” for veggies. Just search your destination and all of your best options will show up at your finger tips. When you love a place, leave them a review so others can find them enjoy their veggie goodness!
3 – Carry snacks just in case:
Having superfoods and protein powder in your backpack can save you in the clutch. There’s nothing worse than getting off the bus in the middle of nowhere and noticing the only food option to be mystery meat on a stick. Packing things like spirulina powder, vegan protein smoothie powders, chia seed, and assorted nuts can get you through to the next bus stop. Or bring a pre-made superfood powder mix like Organifi for “just add water” energy and nutrients!
4 – Buy food to make yourself:
Many hostels and AirBnBs offer kitchens where you can cook your own food. If you are traveling long term and want to save money, this is a necessity whether you are vegan or not, especially if you are roaming places like Europe of the States. In all honesty, parts of Europe (Spain is hard!!!) and middle America are hard places for vegans. Luckily, the grocery stores are always stocked with fresh produce that you can turn into the vegan feast of your dreams!
5 – Learn the local word for “vegan”:
Sometimes people really want to give you the meat-free food you want, but just can’t understand you. Learning the word for “vegan” or “vegetarian” can help you to quickly cross this barrier. In Thailand, where the language is hard, the word for vegan is surprisingly easy. Just say “jay” after what you order. For instance if you want vegan pad thai, just say “pad thai jay”. Just look up the local word wherever you are on Google Translate before you arrive to make everything easier.
6 – Travel to vegan friendly places:
Let’s get real. Some countries are extremely hard for vegans. When Carrie was in the Peace Corps in Tanzania, the first thing her host family did was kill a chicken in her honor. She had to make up a story that she was “allergic” to meat and if she ate it she would die. They took this very seriously and all was well after the chicken incident. We have run into several other countries where veganism was challenging. The hardest were Bolivia (where fried chicken is the most widely available food), Cuba (the food was bland and boring, with a lack of fresh produce), and Spain (in Spain some people think ham is just a condiment to put on everything.
On the other hand, some places can be absolute vegan heavens. Many places in Asia have many Buddhists who avoid meat. These countries know how to cook a good meat-free curry dish!
7 – Go beyond food:
These days it is possible to use vegan hotels, tour companies, and other services, if you can find them. There aren’t many websites focused on guiding you to vegan merchants outside of food. Please let us know if you know of any good sites!!!
Ahimsa Vegan Cafe in south Sri Lanka is always a treat!
If you like these 7 tips for vegan travelers, then stay tuned for some more vegan friendly posts from us! Also, don’t forget to check out our Youtube channel for our library of travel videos!
(Cover photo credit to Katie’s Healing Kitchen)