Travelling as a vegetarian or vegan can present some extra challenges. Finding food at the right time for the right price is a challenge regardless of dietary requirements, and ensuring you have decent vegetarian options available requires planning and research beforehand. Of course, it varies drastically depending on your destination – countries with a high Hindu or Buddhist population have far more vegetarian options as the norm, while some East Asian countries rely heavily on meat for their cooking. As part of the preparation for your trip, food should be a large consideration, and with a good knowledge of local foods and eateries you should have no problem navigating vegetarian or vegan travel.
- Research local dishes and recipes. The most convenient, authentic and available food to eat while travelling will always be the national and traditional dishes of that country. Spend some time familiarising yourself with them, finding which ones contain meat and which ones don’t. Look up recipes specifically to find out whether meat may be involved in some way – this is especially important for vegans, because while some dishes may appear veggie-friendly, the preparation may involve animal products.
- Use vegetarian listing sites. There are vegetarian directories for every country all across the world such as Happy Cow, and they make your travel planning far easier. Local vegetarians review and compile listings for vegetarian eateries worth trying, usually sorted by cuisine type, location and other dietary requirements. You can find places that look good ahead of time, check their location, and plan how to get there from your other activities. Vegetarians have less luxury to just wander in anywhere, so having an arsenal of places you know will serve good options saves a lot of hungry heartache.
- Learn local words for vegetarian. If you’re travelling to a country that speaks a different language, it’s up to you to learn how to communicate your needs. While many places will have varying levels of English as common practice, some places will have none at all. Being able to say “is this vegetarian?” or “can you make this vegan?” is extremely handy, and even if you can’t fully understand the reply you’ll be able to discern yes or no.
- Keep track of your nutrition. If you’re backpacking or using up large amounts of energy with walking while travelling, you need to keep on top of your nutrition. Bringing supplements such as iron, B12 and protein ensures that whatever you’re eating, your body will stay in good condition.
Travelling as a vegetarian means you can’t always rely on being able to walk into a place and find something to eat – instead, you need to do research and prepare yourself to make good food choices ahead of time.
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