Keeping to a Vegan Diet while Traveling
It is easy to stick to a routine when everything stays the same. However, it is difficult to know exactly what’s in your food when your eating at new restaurants, trying new dishes or translating your preferences between languages. As a traveling vegan myself, I know it is not always easy to find vegan meals. But it is possible to stick to a vegan diet and eat healthy while on vacation without much hassle. Here are a few tips;
Bring Food Along
It is always smart to pack snacks. Trips never go as planned and it can be hard to know when or where the next meal will happen. Having snacks around saves money and offers an energy boost while on the go. Plus, not every restaurant caters to vegans. Travelers may have to make many substitutions to a dish before it is ready to eat, and the leftover result may be simple and bland. No one should have to settle for lackluster dishes while on vacation. Travelers should pack their favorite vegan condiments and discretely use them on food to increase the flavor. For example, bring along some vegan cheese, pine nuts or hemp seeds to sprinkle on a salad, or make some raw fruit treats for the road.
Research before Travel
No one is truly a stranger in a strange land thanks to the internet and travel guides. Travelers research climates, hotels and attractions before vacationing anywhere, and it is smart for vegans to research food options. Looking into the customs of an area, finding vegan friendly restaurants nearby a hotel and searching specifically for vegan cuisine is helpful before travel.
The most helpful pieces of advice will come from fellow vegans so look for blogs or reviews of hotels and restaurants to find tips from others. There may be specific vegan groups from an area on the internet, or a few travelers may have listed how they survived in a new location on a vegan diet. In my most recent travel to the west coast, I found a great site that allowed for me to better prepare for my trip by reading the reviews on Las Vegas hotels and finding vegan alternatives in the midst of the heavily condensed buffet zone. Being prepared beforehand will help travelers enjoy the sights without worrying about the food.
Learn the Language
Venturing across the world means there might be a language barrier. While people in many countries speak English, it is helpful to learn a few phrases in the native language. Do not just look for translations of the word “vegan” because this often just means a simple meal in other cultures. Assemble a list of basic vocabulary words that relate to foods vegans typically eat. There are tons of Apps to do this and several lists on the web too. This lets travelers inquire for specific and well liked items. Foreign countries often offer unique foods. There many be special vegetables or vegan dishes that a country is known for. Look up the vocabulary for local foods to try new vegan items.
Offer Ideas at Restaurants
Restaurants try to accommodate patrons, but many wait staff are not always familiar with the needs of a vegan diet. It may fall to the guest to ask questions and make suggestions to help inform the staff. Knowing what a restaurant offers beforehand and having ideas ready helps the process of dining out go smoothly. Those who are friendly and explain their dietary needs while making polite suggestions should find that the restaurant is willing to make changes, and who knows, maybe it’ll be a hit and stay on the menu permanently.
Cook While on the Road
Eating out for the entirety of a vacation is the fastest way to gain weight and lose money. Most accommodations have a kitchen area, so travelers should plan to cook a few meals. Cooking gives vegans total control of a meal and can be a worthwhile experience. This lets travelers visit authentic markets, buy local foods and create their own recipes. Making dinner in a different setting can be as memorable an occasion as anything else on a trip.
Staying true to your vegan diet while on vacation is not impossible. Some people may encounter locations that do not have vegan options, but all vacations have setbacks. Maintaining a positive attitude and laughing over challenges helps make the most of any vacation. There is always another restaurant nearby. You will not starve. Researching the area, planning beforehand and being flexible make it possible to have an enjoyable, exciting and relaxing vegan vacation.
Guest post by Cole Millen, an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life’s best memories are made through real life apprehension of legitimate “experiences.” Follow his blog at Cole’s Mill.