If you’re reading this, then you’re probably either new to vegetarian or veganism, or you’re only just starting to spread your travel wings and start seeing more of the world in 2020. Or maybe both apply to you. Either way, the thought of vegetarian travel food can be a daunting one. After all, these days it’s so easy to follow a vegetarian diet, or even a vegan one, in the UK, but that’s certainly not the case in the many countries around the world.
There’s no need to worry, though. Just because you’re travelling as a vegetarian or vegan, that doesn’t mean you’ll be missing out or going hungry. As long as you come prepared and have a few handy tricks up your sleeve, then you’ll be able to keep yourself healthy on the road and enjoy plenty of delicious vegetarian meals. Here are our best tips for vegetarian and vegan-friendly holidays.
Get the best vegetarian travel food by speaking the language
We Brits are notoriously bad at not speaking foreign languages. And whilst that means we miss out on a whole other layer of experience when we travel, the sad fact is that we can generally just about get by with English in most places, so we’re not forced to make the effort.
But if you’re looking for vegetarian or vegan travel food, then that’s when a basic grasp of the language of the country you’re visiting will come in handy. It will mean you’re better able to understand menus and confirm with a waiter or waitress that what you’ve ordered doesn’t contain meat. And make sure they don’t think that chicken or fish doesn’t count. It will mean you’re able to ask locals about where you could find good vegetarian dishes.
Before your next holiday, spend some time learning the basics of the language and you’ll be amazed at how different your vegetarian travel food experience is.
Research the best vegetarian meals while travelling for your trip
When it comes to veggie travel, it’s always best to do your homework before you go. Most cultures have traditional dishes that are vegetarian or even vegan by nature.
But that might not be particularly obvious to you when you’re looking at a menu, and you’d be surprised how often people who are unfamiliar with vegetarianism don’t realise a dish is veggie-friendly, so a waiter might not know that they’ve got a vegetarian option.
The best way or removing this obstacle is looking up vegetarian dishes from the country you’re going to in advance and making a note of their names, so that you can spot them on a menu or ask for them.
Always be prepared with the best vegan travel snacks
The reality is that sometimes it can be hard to track down vegetarian travel food, and even when you think you’re safe, you might realise there’s actually tuna in your salad or your chips have been cooked in beef fat.
It’s for situations such as these that you always need to be armed with plenty of vegan travel snacks. Make sure you always have some nuts and dried fruit or other healthy travel snacks to tide you over whenever you struggle to find something to eat.
Get technology on your side for the ultimate vegetarian-friendly holidays
If you’re trying to find somewhere to eat, then a simple Google Maps search can be a great way to identify nearby spots serving vegetarian options.
Another app you need to know about is Happy Cow, which will show you options near you along with reviews from fellow vegetarian travellers. You have to buy the app initially, but it’ll soon earn its keep.
Self-catering: cooking while travelling is the way forward
When travelling as a vegetarian, it can be a good idea to opt for self-catering accommodation. That way, if you find it hard to find places to eat out you can always head for the local supermarket and cook up a storm in your kitchen.
It can save a lot of hassle if you can make sure you’re eating nourishing home-cooked meals at least once a day, and it’s also a fantastic way to keep costs down on your holiday.
Get the best food while travelling by visiting the best destinations
Often, the key to the best vegetarian-friendly holidays can be where you choose to go in the first place. As a basic guide, if you’re looking for a vegetarian or vegan-friendly feast then big cities are normally a better bet than rural areas, as urban dwellers tend to be ahead of the curve.
Cities that pride themselves on their selection of restaurants will always have something to offer foodie vegetarians. Dubai is an excellent example, with an array of world-class restaurants for vegetarians to choose from.
Certain parts of the world are also a lot better for vegetarian food. Urban North America, for example, is becoming more and more vegan-oriented, as is much of Northern Europe.
But if you’re looking for food that’s vegetarian by default, then Asia is the place for you. India especially is a vegetarian paradise, as restaurants are vegetarian by default, with big signs on the front of them letting you know if there are ‘non-veg’ options.
With a little bit of flexibility and a dash of determination, vegetarian travel can be a walk in the park.