Traveling as a vegan
People often ask me how I manage to be vegan on all my travels. “It must be so difficult”, they say.
Well, in my experience it is not hard at all! Of course some places are easier than others, but no matter where you are, there are always options. I thought I would share some advice on how to make it easier traveling as a vegan.
Before you go on your trip – Google and search on local vegan Facebook groups on your upcoming destination/s. There’s also a site and app called happy cow where you can search for restaurants and shops in certain areas that are vegan or veg-friendly.
Learn some useful phrases
Make sure to learn or at least write down some phrases in the local language, how to say “I don’t eat meat, fish, bird, cheese, eggs or milk”. The locals will appreciate your effort to learn their language and it makes the risk of misunderstandings smaller. There are also apps that do this for you, such as Vegan Passport and Vegan Phrasebook.
Don’t be picky
This is very important. Sometimes there are very few options for you and some places and people have never before heard about the term vegan, so be happy with what you get. It makes it easier for you and the people with you.
Be sure to always have snacks in your bag. Sometimes while traveling, you go long days without many options. Nuts and nut bars are obviously life savers many times. Also fruit, chips/crisps and possibly even bread with peanut butter and jelly.
Bring your own toiletries
When you are shopping for toothpaste, schampoo etc. in a foreign country, you might not find any alternatives that you know are CF and vegan, and wi-fi access at stores to google about it is definitely not a common or easy solution.
Think about your accomodation
If you are staying at posh hotels, there’s usually no problem about asking for a specific diet, but if you are couchsurfing or staying at smaller hotels, you cannot expect them to provide you with proper alternatives.
If you are staying at hostels or apartments, you can easily go to the supermarket and buy all that you need. And if you couch surf, bring your own food and also make your host some lovely vegan dinner.
Animals are not entertainment
Stay away from zoo’s and other places that use animals for the amusement of people. Don’t ride animals, and don’t pay any money to anything involving animals unless it is for charity or for something that favors the animals.
If you want to see and interact with animals, do it with the free ones. Go on safaris or hike in the jungle.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Be mentally prepared that you might get something non vegan in you without knowing. We all know how milk powder and similar unnecessary ingredients hide in weird places. And sometimes you might be left with having to choose to get something that is not entirely vegan. On my trip through central america, I was once in need of snacks for a long ride. There were no options for me! I ended up buying cereal bars that contained a little bit of honey. Cause in the end, being completely vegan can be difficult in certain situations(like who knew there could be egg powder in toothpaste!?). And being vegan is mostly just trying not to suck as much.
Every single day you are putting a good example for the world in both ethical and environmentally. You allowed to make mistakes. We’re only human after all.