My friend said something surprising to me the other day when we were talking in the car. He was telling me about the trips he’d been on before he went vegan when he said “I’m kinda scared to travel out of the country now that I’m vegan.”
This is something I’ve never given much thought to. I grew up in Texas and studied at a hyper conservative university where veganism was shunned. I never leave the house without enough food to keep me going at least until the next day. Maybe this is something he has never had to deal with- being prepared. So let’s address the concerns people have about being vegan and going abroad.
#1. There will be nothing for me to eat. I will starve.
There is always something to eat. You might have to do a little bit of searching, but you will find something and it will be delicious. Veganism is on the rise, and vegan restaurants are popping up all over the world. Everywhere I’ve been in the last two years has had multiple vegan restaurants. Check out Yelp, TripAdvisor, and HappyCow for recommendations before your trip and always travel prepared. Before I go abroad, I always stock up on vegan protein bars. Take the number of days that you’ll be out of the house and multiply by two- this is the number of bars I usually take for myself. If all else fails and I simply cannot find any vegan food, I can survive a pretty long time on just the food I brought along. If you happen to be staying somewhere where you have access to a kitchen, hit up the nearest convenience store and buy yourself something to cook: grains, fresh vegetables, beans- these staples can be found anywhere.
#2. They won’t know what vegan means and I’ll end up eating animal products accidentally.
This is a totally understandable concern. As a vegan, one of the worst things is accidentally consuming something that came from an animal. Last year I accidentally ate something that had milk fat in it and I felt horribly ashamed for weeks, even though it had been unintentional. So what should you do if you go somewhere and nobody understands what you mean when you say vegan? Learn how to describe it and then start lying about food allergies. Maybe the word “vegan” doesn’t ring a bell, so you’ll have to explain “I don’t eat any kinds of animal meats and I don’t eat cheese or milk or eggs or butter…etc.” Brush up on some key words in whatever the language is of the place you’re going and do your best to list everything you cannot eat. When all else fails, tell everyone you are lactose intolerant and allergic to eggs and pork.
#3. I’m traveling with other people who aren’t vegan and they won’t cater to my needs.
Those are some crappy traveling buddies. Leave them and never travel with them again. Seriously.
I have had amazing vegan food all over the world. Stay tuned for some reviews in upcoming posts, filled with delicious mouth-watering food pictures. Every time I’ve taken organized tours, the guides have been wonderful at providing snacks I could eat and finding restaurants for the group that included veggie options as well. Be nice to people, know how to explain your diet, always be prepared with extra food on hand, make sure you have a kitchen in your hotel/Airbnb/hostel, and do your research ahead of time on local vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants. Everything will be okay.