Taking a vacation doesn’t have to turn into vegan nightmare. With these simple tips, you’ll be eating well no matter where you’re vacationing.
1. Avoid deciding your limits before you arrive. Try to refrain from falling into a pattern of assumption that vacations will be difficult food wise or you might find it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you’ve already made up your mind the food is going to be boring and limited, then you’ll probably seek out the dull pasta dish on every menu without even considering other possibilities. Give people and places a chance before assuming the worst.
2. Find accommodation with kitchens and don’t discount hostels in your search. If you’re worried about being able to eat out or simply want to save cash then find some place where you can cook your own meals. Self-catering apartments are one option, but if money is an issue then consider hostels (long gone are the days where hostels are exclusively for young people). They’re inexpensive, often have private rooms (some suitable for families), and almost always include the use of a kitchen with basic utensils and cookware.
3. Get yourself a copy of the vegan passport (for overseas trips): The Vegan Passport explains in an impressive 73 languages, what vegans do and don’t eat. If you can’t get a copy, spend a little time making a list of words in the local language of foods you will and won’t consume. Think about things people have queried in your own language and consider how you can communicate the same responses in the language of your destination.
4. Do your research before you go. Never forget to pack knowledge, something easily acquired by spending a few hours researching the area. Look on the internet to find local vegetarian friendly restaurants and print maps with the addresses clearly marked (print addresses in the local language, if possible, to avoid confusion when directing taxi drivers).
Furthermore, look up recipes for regional dishes you’d like to try and take note of the non-animal friendly ingredients popularly utilized in the cuisine. The more you know about the constituents of a country’s food, the more likely you are to be aware of any offending ingredients which are popular. For instance minimal research about Thailand’s cuisine brings to light the extensive use of fish sauce in Thai food preparation. Knowing about this in advance means you can ask restaurants to avoid using specific ingredients and their derivatives.
5. Don’t be rude. If you find yourself frustrated and in a situation where there’s little for you to eat, don’t blame it on the locals. Politely request plain rice and bread if that’s honestly all that’s available. Retreat to your lodging and query staff and/or other tourists about ideas on how to communicate your needs when dining out. It’s senseless to get angry with people over something they don’t understand and confrontation is severely frowned upon in many cultures; you won’t win anything by arguing. Be calm and try again tomorrow.
To avoid stress, plan ahead and know what’s apt to be on your plate. You’re unlikely to find yourself in a situation where there’s literally nothing you are able to eat, so with a little research and friendly communication you might be surprised with how many great vegan meals you’re able to enjoy while away from home.