You've just mastered eating vegan at home and now you have to try and find vegan food in a foreign country? Sounds impossible right? Wrong. It may take a few tweaks, but I promise you it IS possible to find delicious vegan fare all over the world. I am happy to say that vegan food is becoming more and more accessible worldwide and maintaining a vegan diet overseas is becoming easier and easier, but here are a few tips if you're wondering where on earth to start.
Airports are becoming more and more user friendly these days. Gone are the days where you have one bad coffee shop, a newsagent type bookstore and a tacky souvenir shop. Some airports are so enormous that they have whole designer clothes, massage areas, entertainment, bars and entire food courts. Even at the smaller airports, they will stock things like packets of chips and nuts in the shops, food places normally have a salad, wrap or a fruit option, or if you're really lucky - you'll find 2-3 food outlets with a range of suitable food. Planning ahead always helps, so you know what is available and if you need to pack some extras.
When you book with your airline, you can select vegan options for meals. All long haul flights allow you the option when booking and even small trips normally have one to two vegan options aboard. If you're still worried, pack a few things like muesli bars, nuts or dried fruit that will last the journey.
I am a fastidious researcher. I hate wasting time being indecisive or getting frustrated because I can't find something. I love to read traveller's tips and blogs to find the best foodie spots as well as activities and things to see that are a bit different to the traditional touristy stuff. Recently on a trip to LA, as we were only going for 3 days, I didn't want to waste precious time hunting for vegan options. I did research and I was blessed with some of the most incredible food I've ever eaten.
I do like to wing a few things and love to explore and find things myself but my planning has always been well rewarded. I would definitely recommend exploring areas on foot in a new area, because some of the best hidden gems aren't on TripAdvisor or HappyCow, but you'll find restaurants with accidental vegan dishes that may just be the most delicious thing you have all trip. I normally find things like fresh fruit stalls or little juice bars like this and some pretty cool shops and sights as well!
If you're in a country where you don't know the language very well, a good safe option for food is to make sure you have included the buffet breakfast in your hotel stay. Buffet breakfasts will always have a range of local delicacies, as well as good vegan staples like fruit, toast and cereal which will help you start the day satisfied. Also the hotel will have people who speak a variety of languages and can help you discover the best places for vegan food.
MINI MARTS AND SUPERMARKETS
Sometimes all you can grab is a packet of Pringles and some Oreos but Mini Marts are worth their weight in gold. Sometimes you are in the middle of nowhere, but these kiosks or local shops will have what you need to tide you over.
TOURS AND ALL INCLUSIVE PACKAGES
The best thing to do with these is at the time of booking, ask if you can specify dietary requirements. Most, if not all, are willing to accommodate to the best of their abilities. Be aware that some places don't necessarily understand the word "vegan" so making sure you are clear, saying that you don't eat meat or animal products, may be necessary. In Thailand they managed to cater for vegetarian (they don't use a lot of dairy there, so most of it was vegan) and managed to have quite a few delicious vegan meals.
What difficulties have you found travelling vegan? I'd love to know in the comments below!