I have been vegan for four years now and love the lifestyle choice with all the positivity that comes with it! However, I have experienced my fair share of vegan hurdles. Being a very keen traveler I have realized that travelling can expose some of these hurdles. Yet, there are simple ways you can overcome these, making sure your lifestyle choice doesn’t get in the way of trip. In celebration of International Vegan day, I wish to share with you my most important tips on travelling as a vegan.
1) Understand that not all cultures recognize veganism
For some cultures, the term vegan simply doesn’t exist. Therefore, be prepared for people in certain countries not to know what veganism is. Furthermore, don’t be offended if people look at you bemused once you whip out the v word. Even though a culture may not recognize veganism, it does not mean they wouldn’t be open to learning about it. One of the great gifts of travelling is learning about other cultures, as well as teaching people about aspects of our culture.
2) Bring a snack bag!
If you are travelling to a place where there are limited or no health food stores, take a bag of vegan bars to fill you up on your travels! I once stayed in a remote town in the middle of Malawi, where fish and chicken were the staple of most meals. However, with my bag of vegan goodies (oat bars, hummus chips, dried fruit, nuts and seeds), I managed to survive just fine! Aim to buy snacks high in calories and protein (‘trek’, ‘clif’ and ‘naked bars’ are a good bet), to make sure you have all the energy you need for exploring!
You can find these in any health food store or online vegan shop.
3) Look for vegan apps
Apps are a brilliant way to suss out vegan restaurants and shops in the area. If you are in a country where you cannot speak the native tongue, try the app ‘Vegan go go’. This brilliant app will translate simple sentences you may need when eating out, such as ‘can you please tell me if this has milk in it’, into any language! Another one for the journey, ‘Happycow’, gives you a list of all vegan and vegetarian restaurants nearby for you to stuff your face in. Finally ‘Is it vegan?’ will tell you if a product is vegan once you scan the barcode onto your phone – again great if you cannot read the language of the ingredients.
4) Get on those multivitamins
Certain countries may not sell things where we vegans get some of our vital vitamins from, such as nutritional yeast, non-dairy milks, a wide range of nuts or fruits or even the most common vegetables. With this in mind, make sure you take with you the most important vitamins to stay in tip top shape on your travels! These will include vitamin B12 and D for overall health (best to buy in spray form for easy absorption), omega-3 tablets for your brain, magnesium for energy, and a general multivitamin.
5) Research the area
Use your veganism as a tool for exploring! If you are in a location which is particularly good for vegan food (think Berlin, New York, Tokyo), then google up on your location before you go. You may find intriguing restaurants that will excite your vegan taste buds immensely. It’s also always worth making sure you do general research too. Check out the the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s travel advice pages to make sure you’re prepped and ready to go.
So go on you vegans. Go out and show the world the wonderful vegan lifestyle!