I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, being vegan is easy. It really is. But it can also be daunting, especially if you’re new to the lifestyle. You’ll get those vegan meals nailed in the kitchen in no time and soon, navigating the vegan options in your local restaurants will become second nature. But what about when you’re somewhere unfamiliar? It can seem a whole lot more complicated to figure out what you can and can’t eat when you can’t even speak the language. Worry not, with a little forward thinking and a couple of nifty apps, eating vegan on holiday will be a breeze.
YOUR VEGAN FOOD BFF
Your absolute best friend when it comes to eating out whilst in an unfamiliar place is Happy Cow. I can only presume that you’ve already downloaded this app and use it all the time, because it’s literally the best resource ever. But if not, you must do so immediately. By simply clicking “everything nearby” on the Happy Cow app, you will find a list of the nearest vegan-friendly restaurants and cafes to you. Alternatively, you can type a location in in advance and see all of the options in that city to help you plan your vegan eats!
TIP: You can click “Create a Trip” in the Happy Cow app, which allows you to save all the places you want to try in a certain location, so you can plan ahead and have a list of eateries right at your fingertips for when you need them.
ASK FOR RECOMMENDATIONS
The internet is invaluable to you when it comes to chatting to other vegans and researching for your holidays. Obviously try good old google to see if any other fellow plant eaters have a blog post up with recommendations for wherever you’re headed, but why not also make use of social networks? Vegan groups on Facebook are literally made for asking questions so pop a post in one of those and see where everyone recommends. Twitter is also a great place to communicate within the plant-based community, so send a message out to your followers letting them know where you’re heading and see what they’ve got to say – you might just find out about a hidden gem.
TIP: Try tagging #veganhour in your tweets between 7-8pm on a Tuesday to interact with lots of friendly vegan tweeters!
LEARN THE LANGUAGE
Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily suggest attempting to learn an entire language before you jet off on holiday, it’s certainly a good idea to practice a few key phrases to help you get by!
First off, let me state the obvious and say that it’s simply polite to try and nail the basics, i.e. “hello” “please” & “thank you”. Plus, making an effort with these simple words will probably make the natives more inclined to try and help you on your vegan food-hunt should you require it!
Secondly, go ahead and google-translate some sentences/phrases that will help you when ordering food. Stick with simple things like “I am vegan”, “no meat” & “without cheese/eggs” and make a note of their translations so you’re good-to-go when you get to your destination.
TIP: The Vegan Society have created an app called Vegan Passport, which you can download from the app store for £1.99. This tells you how to explain your dietary requirements in 79 different languages, so you’ll never find yourself at a loss for what to say no matter where you end up!
I have no doubt that you’ll be completely fluent by the time it comes to packing, but if, for any reason, your new language skills fail you, it’s always a good idea to have a back-up plan. Pack some lil snacks in your suitcase for when you’re in a pinch. Or, for when you’re just feeling greedy and you’re not actually hungry but you remember that that snack is in there and so you’re like HELL YEAH I’M GONNA SNACK. No, but really, it is a good idea to pack some bits and pieces to give you peace of mind that you’ll never be caught short. Try things like nakd bars, Trek bars, Cliff bars & dried fruit for a (semi) nutritious hit of carbs that will be sure to power you through your sight-seeing.
CHECK OUT THE SHOPS
It’s always worth checking out local super-markets once you get to your destination. 9 times out of 10 you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised by the amount of vegan friendly food they have on offer – or you can, at the very least, pick up a bunch of bananas and some crisps. Every destination I’ve been to in Europe whilst I’ve been vegan has had dairy alternatives for milk, cheese and even yoghurt readily available on their super-market shelves. Plus, you’ll invariably be able to find tofu as well as obvious staples such as bread, pasta & veggies – which are ideal if you’re in a self-catered apartment.
SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA SETTLE
The bottom line is, when you’re on the move it’s not going to be possible to find gourmet vegan food 100% of the time. Instead of getting all huffy about it, remember why you’re vegan; you’re doing this amazing thing for the animals and the planet and if that means you’ve got to settle for some plain rice/veggies/potatoes/fruit (damn, this is starting to sound tasty) once in a while then that’s okay! Remember that one boring meal here or there won’t ruin your trip. As soon as you get back to a kitchen you can veganise all of the country’s signature dishes to your hearts delight!
FINALLY, always remember that wherever there is pizza, there is (nearly always) tasty food. Most pizza bases are made simply of flour, oil & water, and thus, are vegan. So simply get that veggie pizza sans cheese and you’ve got a happy holiday tummy.
You can find specific food guides on the places I’ve travelled under “Vegan Travel Guides”! What are your best tips for finding vegan food whilst on holiday? Let me know in the comments! ✨