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May 28, 2020 | Guest Post by Aisling O'Connor
Something I took for granted before I was vegan was not having to think twice about where I was staying, and what I was eating when traveling. While the perks of traveling are getting to try new fun vegan foods, like Gregg’s vegan sausage roll in the UK, outweigh the cons, it’s not always easy, but some vegan travel tips from someone who’s made all the mistakes can help. Here’s what you need to know when traveling as a vegan.
If you’re on a long-haul flight, call the airline in advance and ask if they offer a vegan option. Many airlines can cater to vegans and vegetarians, but carry less vegetarian meals than meat-meals so there’s a chance if you arrive without informing them of your dietary limitations the choice is either to go hungry or take a meal with meat and pick around it. By calling in advance they can prepare and reserve a meal for you, or you’ll know in advance if you need to eat before boarding.
In the unlikely case that it turns out you can’t eat a single thing on the plane, you’re going to have to pick up snacks in the duty-free to get you through the flight.
I used to love the little mini shampoo bottles in hotel rooms as much as the next person, but the chances of them always being vegan and cruelty-free is slim to none.
You can call your hotel in advance and ask if their toiletries are vegan and cruelty-free if you would rather not bring any. There are some vegan hotels in big cities like London or Los Angeles, but, most places don’t have vegan hotels.
As many vegans are vegan for environmental reasons, you might feel more comfortable bringing your own soap and shampoo bars for the trip. Something many people overlook about veganism is that it’s not just about food; it’s a lifestyle.
Many people bring their own shampoo in mini travel bottles regardless of whether they’re vegan or not, but if you’re on a short trip with only hand luggage, shampoo bars help bypass the liquid ban as they count as a solid.
Last time I was in London my hotel didn’t even so much as have a carton of soya milk, let alone any substantial vegan food for breakfast, so I kept a lukewarm carton I picked up in the corner shop in our room. Don’t make my mistakes; it was miserable. I wish I had these vegan travel tips at the time, but I learned the hard way.
If you plan on having breakfast in your hotel, call in advance, and ask if they have vegan options for breakfast. Otherwise, make a list of vegan breakfast places before you arrive so you don’t have to spend all morning hangry and looking around for somewhere suitable.
If you’re opting for Airbnb instead of a hotel, eating is going to be considerably easier if you can use the kitchen, but the con is, do you want to cook while you’re traveling?
It’s easy for things to get lost in translation when traveling in a country with a language different from your own. Many meals can be made vegan by removing certain ingredients like eggs or cheese, but to be on the safe side, it might be helpful to be able to reiterate it to staff in their native language. You should also learn how to say “I am vegan”, so they know that you can’t have any animal products. For example, “I’m vegan” in Spanish is “Soy vegano”.
Thankfully with Google Translate in everyone’s pocket now, you can quickly search a phrase on the spot or look up words on the menu that you don’t understand.
While it’s nice to be spontaneous and pick where you’re having dinner on impulse, not every restaurant has a vegan option. If you’re not in a big city, there might be very little vegan food to choose from in the location. Hob on a site like Yelp before you travel and make a list of the best places that catered to vegans and vegetarians. Insert your findings into your itinerary so that when you’re out sightseeing you know which restaurant or cafe nearby is suitable to eat in.
Very often when it comes to eating out, the vegan or vegetarian option is either a salad or a giant bowl of carbs. A part of me suspects that the belief that vegans and vegetarians are protein deficient stems from other people not knowing how to feed them and only giving them meals like curry with the chicken taken out. I’ve lost count of the number of times “the vegan option” is actually just a portion of chips or salad; the worst was a burger bun with lettuce in it, I wish that was an exaggeration. Bring snacks, and make sure the snacks are high in protein.
How easy it is or is not to be vegan largely depends on the destination; big cities are very easy to navigate as a vegan but smaller less urban destinations have fewer options and require more preparation on your part. The main thing is to have everything planned out before you arrive. If you keep to these vegan travel tips, you should get by just fine.
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About the Author: Aisling is a 23-year old Irish blogger and journalist. She loves coffee, books, and music. She runs the lifestyle and vegan blog pricklypineapples.ieBack to overview
We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest.