For as long as I can remember I’ve always loved travelling. I love seeing new places, meeting new people, and exploring different cultures. Trying foods from other countries is also one of my favourite aspects of traveling, and despite common misconception, going vegan has not changed that!
I’ve found that I get a lot of questions from the people I meet while travelling about what it’s like to travel as a vegan:
“Isn’t it very difficult?”
“Don’t you wish you could try X,Y,Z?”
Surprisingly, I’ve also met a lot of vegans while abroad, who have told me that they are more ‘relaxed’ while travelling as they find it difficult staying vegan.
Actually, it’s not as difficult as you might think! In my opinion, travelling should never be an excuse for abandoning veganism/not going vegan. In big cities it’s becoming easier and easier, and even in the most remote of places I’ve managed to find tasty vegan food. In short, of course veganism is going to be easier in Madrid than a tiny village in Spain, but if you’re dedicated and determined there’s no reason you cant find vegan food wherever you are!
After spending the last 8 months travelling I’ve picked up a lot of tips along the way to share and, hopefully, prove to you that you don’t need to give up veganism to go travelling!
1. Happy Cow is your best friend
The Happy Cow app has been a lifesaver while travelling. For those who haven’t heard of it, it’s a huge database of vegan and vegetarian restaurants, as well as restaurants with vegan options. Even in the smallest of towns I’ve managed to find great vegan food thanks to Happy Cow! You can refine by cuisine, type of eatery, features (e.g. wifi – very useful when working remote!), making it incredibly easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. For any vegans travelling I would without a doubt recommend checking it out!
2. Forget the label ‘vegan’
In smaller towns in the Dominican Republic, for example, I found that the majority of people were not familiar with the term vegan. While in the UK I would usually look for dishes with ‘vegan’ in the title or marked vegan on the menu, this wasn’t the case there. It was easier to take traditional dishes and request them without meat or cheese etc. .
For example, rice with beans, plantain and avocado was easy to find almost everywhere (just request without meat) and tasted delicious! I’d definitely recommend looking at traditional dishes and seeing which may be naturally vegan.
3. Get creative
Sometimes while traveling, particularly in smaller towns, I would find that there was absolutely nothing vegan on the menu. Here’s where you have to get a little creative and build dishes from combining ingredients they already have. Often I found that asking directly if they had ‘vegan options’ would result in a no, whilst asking to combine ‘X,Y and Z’ was a lot easier and got me a tasty vegan meal!
4. Bread is always a backup
Before you judge, you can make some delicious meals with bread! In every country I’ve been to, if I’ve ever really struggled to find vegan options (or just wanted a cheap meal!) bread has always been a lifesaver! Not only does fresh bread taste delicious, but you’re guaranteed to find it anywhere! Morocco had a large Syrian influence so bread and the incredible hummus you could find there was one of my go-to’s. In France a simple baguette with vegan cheese was divine. In Costa Rica avocados were the best I’ve ever tasted and went perfectly with toast!
5. Use Google maps
Although I tend to mainly use Happy Cow to find vegan eateries, Google Maps is also a very useful tool for finding vegan options! Sometimes I find that non-vegan restaurants with a few vegan options get missed by Happy Cow, so simply searching ‘vegan’ on Google Maps often brings up a lot of results that I wouldn’t have otherwise found!
6. Get cooking!
Travelling long-term would definitely get very expensive after a while if eating out every day. One of my favourite things to do is hunt out vegan options in supermarkets in other countries, as often you find so many new things! In Germany they had so many interesting vegan products, such as vegan schnitzel and Spaetzle. Often I actually find it easier to cook traditional dishes from a country myself than try to find a vegan version in a restaurant.
In Sri Lanka, for example, where there were a lot less branded vegan products (e.g vegan sausages, vegan pies etc) I also loved trying out all of the interesting fruits and vegetables I’d never seen before!
In conclusion, travelling as a vegan is not only 100% possible, but personally I find that it actually makes things a lot more fun! You would not imagine my excitement when I found out that there was a fully-vegan Pastel de Nata shop in Lisbon! Or discovering Kozmosz in Budapest and Kong in Lisbon (both of which remain two of my favourite finds) – both were fully-vegan restaurants serving vegan versions of traditional dishes. I find that this is an excitement I didn’t get before going vegan, back when I could try all of these dishes anywhere.
But now it makes finding places like the above all the more special!
So I would definitely recommend following all of these tips and giving travel as a vegan a go, and of course if you need any help or advice my
DM’s are always open!