Traveling the world can be challenging. Language barriers, cultural gaps, weird transportation schedules, unfamiliar foods.
There is a lot to take it.
Trying to balance a specific diet on top of all that can be, at times, a little much.
Or so people assume, anyway.
I’ve been vegan for over 15 years now. In that time, I’ve traveled to almost 50 countries around the world. Some were, from a culinary perspective, amazing.
Others…well, they were less good (to be polite).
But as awareness of the climate crises spreads, people are starting to take matters into their own hands.
Plant-based diets are becoming more popular in every corner of the world. Every major city around the world now offer vegan and vegetarian fare, and people are much more accommodating and understanding toward the diet and lifestyle.
So, is traveling as a vegan easy?
It’s never been easier!
But don’t take my word for it!
In this post, I reached out to a handful of veteran vegan travelers to share their thoughts, experiences and tips on traveling as a vegan.
Randi from Veggie Visa
Is traveling as a vegan difficult? At first it might feel like it but after learning a few simple tips for traveling as a vegan it becomes a whole hell of a lot easier!
I became vegan while traveling. In fact, my first day as a vegan was also my first day in Cambodia. I’m not gonna lie, at first it took considerable effort. Since Siem Reap, where I was at the time, wasn’t the vegan haven it is today I did spend a lot of time trying to find vegan options at non-vegan restaurants and ended up eating the same things over and over.
That said, once I learned a few simple tricks, traveling as a vegan became much much easier.
The most valuable tip I could give a new vegan that’s planning to travel is to book accommodations with a kitchen, like a hostel or an Airbnb. Even if you’re in a vegan friendly city like Prague or Paris, having a kitchen means you don’t have to eat out every meal. You can stock up on (or bring from home) vegan goodies to have on hand for breakfast or snacks, and you can prepare simple vegan meals for those dinners when you’re too tired to get yourself to a vegan restaurant.
For more vegan travel and lifestyle tips, check out veggievisa.com!
Paul and Caryl from Vegan Food Quest
Vegan travel is easier in 2019 than it has ever been. The explosion in the availability of vegan and plant-based food means that no longer do we have to make do with salad and French fries — although there’s nothing wrong with that combo of course!
This increased availability, combined with superb websites, blogs and travel guides, makes life as a greedy vegan a very easy life indeed.
Happy Cow is by far the best of these online resources and should be a must for all vegan travel lovers who don’t want to go hungry. We have been travelling in Southeast Asia since 1998 and living in the region for 5 years. Never could we have dreamed of being able to order vegan cheese in Thailand, vegan sushi in Cambodia and vegan burgers in Singapore but that is now a reality and we love it.
For awesome vegan travel guides, be sure to visit veganfoodquest.com!
Kaitlin and Steph from LEZ SEE THE WORLD
We both started working toward fully plant-based eating a number of years ago, and in the past decade we’ve seen the food industry change so much! We travel full-time and have seen impressive trends of vegan friendly eating all over the world.
We believe that it’s never been easier to travel while being vegan! As people everywhere are becoming more interested in plant-based eating, the demand for vegan food is increasing around the globe. Businesses are starting to focus on offering food that is conscious of animals, the environment, and our health, and are catering to vegan diets more than ever before.
Our best tip for vegan travel, is to do plenty of research before reaching your destination! While you will likely find more options in bigger cities and more metropolitan areas, there are still vegan friendly spots in rural and remote destinations if you know where to look.
Our favourite tools for finding vegan friendly businesses around the world are Google Maps, Yelp, and Happy Cow.
For more plant-based tips and lesbian travel advice, visit lezseetheworld.com!
Kimberly from Pannali Travels
These days, vegan travel is as easy as any other travel! If you are looking for a gourmet meal, there are incredible vegan restaurants in larger cities around the world.
But beyond specialty vegan restaurants, many world cuisines lend themselves easily to veganism. For example:
· Indian food is almost always vegetarian, and can be made vegan on request. Just ask for no ghee, cream, or paneer.
· Other Asian cuisines (Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese), though often flavored with meat, rarely have dairy. The main dishes are usually made with fresh ingredients too, which is a plus for those on a plant-based diet.
· Even Italian cuisine, associated with lots of cheese and gelato, offers delicious pasta dishes with fresh herbs, tomato sauce, and olive oil. They also serve many roasted vegetables, chickpea-based dishes, and even vegetable-filled vegan pizza.
· Cuisines that have beans as a staple can also easily be made vegan – as is the case for most of South America.
With a little flexibility, the modern veagn won’t have many problems abroad as long as they plan ahead and ask questions.
For solo travel and personal development advice, visit pannalitravels.com!
Sam and Veren from Alternative Travelers
Generally, when people hear that we are full time travelers AND vegan, they usually respond with some form of, “Wow, that must be so hard!”
Luckily, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
While traveling as a vegan certainly takes a bit more research, flexibility, and resourcefulness, it has also enriched our travels in a way we cannot quantify. Not to mention we eat much better food than before going vegan!
Since we cannot just walk into any restaurant and expect a vegan meal, we search out local places serving vegan food. This has led to many memorable moments and meals with passionate restaurant and shop owners across the world. We have connected with other vegans worldwide via Instagram, Facebook, and Couchsurfing. Veganism is an instant point of connection and most vegans are more than happy to help out others traveling in their country.
We’ve also found that there are usually at least a few traditionally vegan (or easily veganizable) dishes in each country’s cuisine, so vegan don’t have to miss out on a traditional food experience.
Our #1 tip for new vegan travelers would be to do a bit of research before your trip. There are so many great resources out there for vegan travelers, including the Happy Cow app for finding vegan restaurants and options, Vegan Passport for key translations, the worldwide Vegan Travel Facebook group and other specific vegan groups for countries, and of course tons of vegan travel bloggers with helpful guides, videos, and books.
We have many vegan city guides for cities across the US and Europe, as well as our Madrid Vegan Guidebook to help travelers choose the best of the best in Madrid’s underrated but amazing vegan food scene!
For vegan tips and housesitting advice, visit alternativetravelers.com!
Jim and May from Spanish and Go
For us, the answer depends on the country and location. Mexico gets a bad rap for not being vegan friendly, but being vegan in Mexico is a walk in the park compared to our most recent home, Puerto Rico. Any destination with fresh, cheap fruits and vegetables makes things a lot easier.
Our travels are focused around Spanish-speaking countries (and territories). We’ve traveled expensively around Mexico, and even Mexico City can feel like Portland, Oregon when it comes to vegan options. Ditto for Playa del Carmen, where you can find some incredible vegan restaurants.
Yes, meat is a huge part of Mexican and Spanish cultures and your seemingly vegan food might be cooked with a meat broth, but when I go out to eat at a non-vegan restaurant I accept having to trust the word of the waiter when explaining our dietary preferences.
That said, there's almost always guacamole, tacos de papa (without meat in the potatoes), and tacos de frijoles (also check that there's no bacon and are not cooked with "manteca" which is lard). Sopes, huaraches, gorditas, and tlacoyos are all made with masa and can all be topped with potato, mushrooms, beans or other veggies.
If you really want to play it safe, shopping at your local market and cooking at your Airbnb can be a great way to save money and enjoy some fresh local produce!
For tips on learning Spanish and visiting Spanish-speaking countries, visit spanishandgo.com!
In case it isn’t clear, it really has never been easier to travel as a vegan. After 10+ years and 40+ countries, I’ve definitely had my share of terrible meals as well as some challenging cultural interactions. But, when you factor in the health and climate benefits of a plant-based diet, overcoming the obstacles is well worth the effort.
As long as you plan ahead and learn a few tricks, you’ll be able to travel as a vegan with ease!
Have anything to add? Share your tips or comments below!
P.S. - For some weird and wonderful tales of being vegan on the road, be sure to check out my book!