Veganuary is here, and passionate vegans like myself are rejoicing at the sudden influx of dairy and egg-free treats lining the shelves of every supermarket, not to mention the array of fast food places releasing their own vegan goodies (I’m looking at you, Greggs).
Veganism is on the rise (great!) and in the UK it has become easier than ever before to live a vegan lifestyle. However, the same isn’t true for many countries across the world. If, like me, you love to explore new places, you’ll know that finding good vegan options on holiday can be a struggle. It isn’t just about the language barrier – in some parts of the world, the concept of not eating meat is truly baffling, let alone not eating eggs, milk or fish.
So, with this in mind, I’ve put together some of top tips for upholding your veganism on your next trip. I hope they help!
Take snacks (and lots of them!)
Before you leave, do your research. If you’re heading somewhere like Germany, the chances are you’ll find tons of vegan places to eat in ( you can read my blog on the best vegan food in Hamburg here). If, however, you’re heading somewhere like Thailand, where a great deal of dishes are cooked with meat and egg, you’ll need to plan ahead. Take vegan treats from home (e.g. cereal bars, mixed nuts and a small jar of peanut butter) in your suitcase, so that whenever you get stuck, you’ve always got something to snack on.
Plan around your meals
In some cases, planning around your meals simply won’t be possible. However, if you can form a holiday itinerary and sight-seeing route based around some pre-approved eateries, you’ll always know there’s a good vegan meal just around the corner!
Apps like Happy Cow (you can also use their website for free) will be your best friend in this situation. Simply type in your location and it’ll show the cafes/restaurants with vegan options nearby, so you can plan accordingly! I’ve used this in many different places, from Iceland to Bali, Italy to Cambodia, and it’s never failed me.
Know your options
Unfortunately, there won’t be vegan restaurants everywhere you go. In this event, you may have to say goodbye to dreams of seitan chicken burgers and vegan cheese pizza and simply settle for less. Despite this, there are usually some go-to foods you can rely on. These include:
- Fresh fruit
- Boiled rice
- Bread (pair with peanut butter and banana to keep you full)
- Chips and potatoes (check what they’ve been cooked in)
- Tofu (if you’re not sure what it’s being fried in, opt for boiled tofu)
- Trail mix
- Boiled greens
- Soya milk (although not always available in eateries, many supermarkets will sell it)
These might not be the most exciting of foods, but sometimes we just have to compromise. On the plus side, at least these foods will keep you full even in the world’s least vegan-friendly countries.
Read travel blogs
If you enjoy travelling, foodie recommendations from other like-minded travellers will be one of your most valuable resources. Once you’ve settled on a location, find a couple of travel blogs with a vegan focus and see which eateries they’ve recommended. This is the best way to find unbiased restaurant reviews and also get a sneak peek of the food on offer!
Unsurprisingly, one of the hardest parts of being vegan abroad is tackling the language barrier. This can be challenging so make sure you have a few phrases up your sleeve before you order. Fortunately, Google translate can help you out here! There are some places where veganism simply isn’t a popular concept, so it may be a better approach to say “I’m vegetarian” and to ask for “no eggs” and “no dairy”. If you don’t have the confidence to learn and speak these phrases, consider printing them out on flash cards before you leave home.
These tips have helped me fill my belly across the world, so I hope they help you too!