Depending on where you go, vegan and vegetarian options can be pretty lackluster, especially in countries offering a meat-based diet. What’s a wanderlusty vegan or vegetarian to do? Follow these tips while you travel, and you’ll stick to your plant-based lifestyle with relative ease.
1. Research, research, research! The internet is a fabulous tool that has been connecting animal-free gourmands with their meatless heavens for a while now. If you’re travelling in the U.S., just hop on Yelp and plug in “vegetarian restaurant” and see what pops up. Romping internationally? Happycow.net and Tripadvisor.com are easy to use and offer great suggestions.
2. Stay Stocked. There are bound to be moments—in airports, on trains, helplessly lost in the concrete jungle of Paris’s banlieues—when you’re nowhere near a veg-friendly restaurant, or even a grocery store! Make sure you have emergency supplies of satisfying snacks like nuts, protein bars, etc.
3. Connect. Head to Meetup.com, which connects people based on interests, or Couchsurfing.com, which connects travelers to locals in their destinations, to connect with other vegetarians and vegans in the area. If you feel weird about meeting up or staying with them, you could simply message for tips and recommendations.
4. Use your dictionary. Learn how to ask whether or not animal products are present in what you’re buying or ordering. Make sure you’re able to recognize the names of ingredients you don’t want to eat on grocery labels too. (Not every country will have a label designating whether or not something is vegan or vegetarian, so it’s best to learn the words for what you don’t want to consume.)
5. Pack your own airline meal, or request the vegetarian option when you purchase your ticket. Some airlines allow this at the booking stage, but not all. If you don’t see the option, make sure you pack something to eat on the plane just in case the options aren’t completely friendly to your needs.
Finally, be brave! Sticking to basics will keep you going easily while you’re discovering new places, but if you spy something kind of funky looking but are sure it’s animal-free, dive in! You might have found a local staple to add to your diet.