How To Travel as a Vegan?

Traveling around the world that is still predominantly meat-oriented can be quite a challenge for vegans and vegan food enthusiasts. Ensuring that your dietary choices are catered to is not always an easy feat – vegans often have to put in extra effort to ensure their meals are cruelty-free and plant-based.

The world is gradually becoming more vegan-friendly, and with the right strategies, you can travel anywhere without compromising your vegan lifestyle or values.

Below, we will provide you with all the necessary tools and tips for traveling as a vegan. From planning your meals to finding vegan-friendly accommodations, we have got you covered. We will also discuss some mobile applications that could be very helpful in your journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Research your travel destination for vegan-friendly options, including restaurants, stores, and local markets. Online communities can be a valuable resource.
  • Learn to understand foreign menus and familiarize yourself with common non-vegan ingredients in the local cuisine. Use translation apps and learn key phrases in the local language.
  • Scout out plant-based restaurants and cafes once you arrive at your destination. Ask hotel staff, locals, or use apps to find these places. 
  • Utilize vegan travel apps like HappyCow or TripAdvisor to find establishments offering vegan diet options. These apps provide location-based searches, user reviews, and detailed information about each vegan restaurant.
  • Pack vegan snacks for times when vegan options may not be readily available. These can tide you over until your next vegan meal and help balance out meals when fruits and veggies are hard to come by.
  • Stay mindful of your actions and their impact on the environment and animal well-being. This includes choosing entertainment options, shopping choices, and accommodations that align with your vegan principles.
yellow Volkswagen van on road

Prepare for Your Journey

As a vegetarian or vegan traveler, it’s essential to meticulously plan and prepare, particularly when you’re committed to maintaining your lifestyle while on the road.

In preparing for your vegan travels, look for vegan-friendly restaurants or stores where you can buy vegan foods. You might even discover local markets that sell fresh fruits and vegetables. Remember to check the menu options at your hotel, too – some places serve vegan food (e.g., vegan meals or desserts) upon request.

It’s usually a good idea to join online communities centered around your travel destination and ask users about vegan product recommendations in their area. To illustrate the point, Reddit has a large number of national subreddits, most of which accept English-language posts and can provide valuable insights about local vegan options.

Always remember that being a traveling vegan may present its challenges, but with careful preparation and planning, it doesn’t have to be difficult!

MacBook Pro near white open book

Learn to Navigate Foreign Cuisine

Mastering the art of deciphering foreign menus can be your secret weapon to maintaining your plant-based lifestyle while exploring new cultures. Not every country will have vegan or vegetarian labels on their food, so it’s crucial to learn about the local diet and common dishes.

Try to look up the cuisine in advance to identify potential vegan food options or dishes that could be easily modified. You should also make a list of common non-vegan ingredients used in the country you’re visiting, such as fish sauce in Thailand or lard in Mexico, so you know what to avoid.

Don’t hesitate to take advantage of translation apps available on mobile devices; they can often translate menu items directly from a picture.

But don’t rely solely on technology; learning some key phrases in the local language can also come in handy.

Here’s a small table with translations for “I am vegan” and “Does this contain any animal products?” in five popular languages:

Language“I am vegan”“Does this contain any animal products?”
SpanishSoy vegano/a¿Contiene esto algún producto de origen animal?
FrenchJe suis véganeEst-ce que cela contient des produits d’animaux?
ItalianSono vegano/aQuesto contiene prodotti di origine animale?
GermanIch bin Veganer/inEnthält das tierische Produkte?
Japanese私はビーガンです (Watashi wa bīgandesu)これは動物性製品を含んでいますか?(Kore wa dōbutsusei seihin o fukundeimasu ka?)

Understanding foreign cuisine isn’t just about avoiding non-vegan ingredients—it’s also an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture while ensuring you stay true to your dietary choices.

Look for Plant-Based Restaurants and Cafes

Doing internet research during the prep phase is only the first step towards finding vegan restaurants at your destination. The real work involves scouting out plant-based eateries once you arrive.

There are several ways to do this. One approach is to simply ask the hotel staff about their vegan recommendations. With how popular the vegan lifestyle has become, it’s very likely that at least several employees will know of a place. In larger cities, you can also find vegan restaurants by simply walking around. Often, these establishments will have signs advertising their plant-based options.

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If staff turns out to be unsure, try going local and asking residents for their advice. Locals can often provide the best insights into where to find delicious vegan food at very affordable prices.

Once you find the vegan venues, don’t forget to ask about their sourcing policies – some places might use only locally sourced, organic ingredients, which is a big plus for most vegans.

rectangular beige wooden tables and chair

Utilize Vegan Travel Apps

Exploring new places can feel overwhelming, but thanks to modern technology, there’s a wealth of handy apps that specifically cater to your plant-based lifestyle.

Apps like HappyCow or TripAdvisor make it significantly easier for you to find vegan-friendly restaurants and stores, no matter where you are in the world. Not only do they provide valuable information about eateries that offer vegan options, but they also share user reviews, which can help you decide whether or not a restaurant is worth visiting.

Such apps offer a number of advantages to their users, including:

  • Location-Based Searches: Apps use your current location to generate a list of nearby vegan-friendly establishments. With this feature, finding a delicious meal on the go becomes as straightforward as it gets.
  • User Reviews: Such apps often include customer reviews and ratings for each establishment. This helps you gauge the quality of vegan food and service before deciding where to eat.
  • Detailed Information: Vegan apps provide detailed information about each restaurant, including their address, operating hours, menu items, and even photos of the establishment itself.
tripadvisor vegan restaurants

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Pack Vegan Travel Snacks

Packing your bag with a stash of plant-based snacks can be a real game-changer when you’re on the go.

As a vegan, you might find yourself in situations where there aren’t many vegan options available. It could be during your flight, at a pit stop during road trips, or even in between sightseeing.

Eating vegan snacks can tide you over until your next meal and save you from unnecessary hunger pangs or settling for something that doesn’t align with your dietary preferences.

It’s not just about staving off hunger – these snacks can also help balance out meals on days when good-quality fruits and veggies are hard to come by.

Remember to pack your own food based on how long your vegan travel adventure will last -enough to keep you satiated but not too much that they weigh down your luggage!

Be Mindful Of Your Actions

Veganism is more than a diet change – it’s a commitment to ethical and sustainable living. This means that while traveling, it’s important to stay mindful of your actions and their impact on the environment and animal well-being.

Let’s assume you visit a town where a famous circus is having a show. Before buying a ticket, research whether the circus exploits animals in their performances. If they do, it might be best to opt for another form of entertainment that aligns more closely with your vegan principles.

Shopping is another area where you’ll need to exercise caution. A locally mass-produced cow leather bracelet might be a beautiful gift for your family back home, but it’s not cruelty-free – an animal had to die for the souvenir to be made. Consider buying clothing and accessories that don’t involve animal exploitation.

Even when it comes to accommodation, you can make choices that reflect your values. A hotel in the middle of the rainforest may offer breathtaking views, but to build it, countless wild animals had to lose their natural habitat. Opt for eco-friendly accommodations that are mindful of their impact on the environment and wildlife.

Final Thoughts

Traveling as a vegan doesn’t have to be a complicated task, even in a world where carnivorous diets are still dominating. With the right preparation, understanding of foreign cuisine, and use of modern technology, you can easily navigate your way around the globe while adhering to your plant-based lifestyle.

Remember, it’s not just about refusing to eat meat. Being a vegan on the road also means being mindful of your actions and their impact on animals and the environment. So whether it’s choosing cruelty-free souvenirs or staying at eco-friendly accommodations, every decision counts.

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