Staying Vegan on Vacation
From personal experience I can say that traveling as a vegan can be tricky. Especially with an omni husband who wants to try plenty of places that I wouldn’t normally set my foot in. But over the trips with and without kids, I can offer some tips to help you prepare before your get away.
It is a great idea to research ahead of time if there will be any restaurants close by where you will be staying. The app Happy Cow is great for this and can even provide you with information on grocery stores that would be near by so you know what you can fall back on. Also if staying at a hotel, you can request information ahead of time. Another option is to join a Vegan travel group on Facebook, or ask friends for tips from other vegans who have travelled to the same place as you are headed.
Researching activities for the little ones is also important. A lot of times abroad the entertainment is unfortunately involving animals that are being taken advantage of. Make sure you know what you want to do before you get there. Some amusement parks also have zoos in them are aren’t just rides and playgrounds. Maybe a water park, animal sanctuary or museum?
If you are not going far, bring food along
If you are just headed out for a day trip, and your research has shown that you won’t have many options, bring along enough food to tide you over. Maybe you’ll get lucky, and happen upon something. Worst case scenario is that you have food with you home again and you don’t have to cook the next day. Win, win!
Remember the term VEGAN is not always understood
When stateside I almost always have to explain the term VEGAN for waiters/waitresses. It is commonly mistaken for vegetarian, and I have more than once received a dish with cheese on it after having been very clear that I did not want any animal products included in my meal. It is best to be redundant and when in doubt spell it out! Simplify it for them… NO milk, NO cheese, NO egg, NO sardines, NO honey, NO butter, and so on and so forth. This is especially important when trying to make a vegan meal out of a non-vegan meal. Also, in some countries, such as Sweden, vegetarian can often mean vegan. As vegetarians who eat milk are lacto-vegetarians, and vegetarians who eat egg are ovo-vegetarians, or if they eat both…lacto-ovo-vegetarians. So as stated above… when in doubt, spell it out!.. and don’t be afraid to ask.
A random fact coming at you in the middle of these tips! A lot of times Mexican restaurants boil their beans in pork stock. So when asking for black beans on your taco instead of meat is a great start, but make sure they haven’t been cooked in something that makes them not vegan anymore. *
Many non-vegan meals can be made vegan
Don’t be afraid to ask for changes. My husband could tell you stories! All the times I have ordered modified non-vegan dishes with NO this and EXTRA that! Being shy is something I got over very quickly after going vegan and I can honestly say I feel proud when I make something up out of the nothing that seems to be offered and it tastes great.
Don’t forget the sides
Side dishes can often be turned into a meal on their own. Pick a few veggies (Not cooked in butter) and a starch and Vòila!
Raw is the new fast food
One big difference between non-vegans and vegans is that eating raw meat or animal products can be for non-vegans dangerous. But for vegans eating raw can be easier and healthier. And traveling is always a good time to keep the immune system on point with lots of fruits and leafy greens. As a vegan it is a great alternative to find fruits and veggies at farmers markets and grocery stores and make that into a quick and easy meal. Don’t forget to rinse them off though.
Vitamin Sea and Vitamin C
Don’t forget while traveling anywhere whether it be the beach or the mountains, that it is always great o boost your immune system with Vitamin C. Either with fresh citrus fruits and juices or with supplements. This way you will be able stay on your feet and be able to enjoy your vacation as the healthiest version of you!
Be safe out there, and good luck! And if you know of any vegan family friendly places to travel, let me know!