While an increasing number of places are becoming more vegan-friendly than ever before (Paris, for example, has transformed itself from vast vegetable desert to land of veggie burgers and gourmet vegan dishes) and a number of countries are naturally vegan-friendly, there are still destinations out there that are not vegan-friendly in the least.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t visit and enjoy vegan food, anywhere you want to go in the world! For more information, check out my vegan travel guidebook The Essential Vegan Travel Guide. Click here to find out more.
So, for the our first episode of Vegan Travel Gals in August (a new live vegan travel chat show hosted on Facebook live), Donna of Green Earth Travel, Wendy of The Nomadic Vegan, Kristin of Will Travel for Vegan Food and I chatted about travel to non-vegan-friendly destinations. You can catch the whole hour-long show below; skip to 10 minutes in to get past the technical difficulties! Or, I’ve summarised the key points below the video.
What to do if you’re travelling to a non-vegan-friendly destination
- Know some phrases in the local language or download the Vegan society’s vegan passport app. This app explains in 79 different languages that you’re vegan and what you do and don’t eat.
- Be aware of some local dishes that are often vegan or easy to veganise. For example, many Italian dishes are naturally vegan or easily made vegan.
- Find out about any religious or cultural reasons for being vegan or time periods in which veganism is practised. For example, in some Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, some Buddhists practice veganism and if you ask for Buddhist vegetarian food (‘jay’), you will get vegan dishes. In countries with large Eastern Orthodox or Coptic Christian populations, like Romania or Ethiopia, strong adherents to the religion practice ‘fasting’ (excluding meat, fish, dairy and eggs) during Lent and other days throughout the year.
- Make sure you have the latest apps, like HappyCow (a vegetarian/vegan restaurant and store listing directory), on your phone, so you can easily locate vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants nearby using GPS.
- Keep in mind some of the most vegan-friendly cuisines and vegan options in different cuisines from around the world. While it might seem odd to opt for a Moroccan restaurant in France, sometimes a veggie tagine is the best vegan option locally! Wendy’s new book, Veggie Planet, highlights some of the most vegan-friendly cuisines in the world and the vegan options from each.
- Contact locals before your trip — search Facebook for local vegan groups for the city or country you’re visiting or search Instagram and Twitter hashtags such as #veganprague if you’re visiting Prague, for inspiration and to connect with local vegans. No one’s better placed to give you advice. You can also post in the Vegan Travel F acebook group or search on there to see if anyone else has posted advice for your destination.
- If it looks like your destination really doesn’t have much in the way of vegan food, opt for a self-catering option and book an Airbnb, local holiday apartment or hostel with kitchen facilities. No matter where you go, you’ll be able to find ingredients to make your own food in the kitchen! Have some emergency recipes up your sleeve (in my book The Essential Vegan Travel Guide I have a recipe section of emergency recipes to be made in a small kitchen or even hotel, using items like a coffeemaker to make oatmeal or couscous in a coffeemaker).
What are some of the tricks you’ve used travelling to non-vegan-friendly destinations? Have you ever been stumped and unable to find vegan options? What did you do?