No one wants to starve on a vacation; but when your food choices don’t alight with what the crowd likes, you may well do. It is hard enough to get good food on vacation for omnivores so you can only imagine the stress that vegans have to go through. Being a vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian doesn’t mean you don’t get to enjoy your vacation though. Plant-based eating has gained popularity around the globe over the years and the travel industry has been forced to comply with the dietary needs of vegans. You still have to be smart about your food needs to enjoy your vegan vacation and here are the tips that will help you get it right.
Check the vegan rating of the destination
Plant-based forums have ratings for vegan and vegetarian-friendly destinations all over the world. You will be able to find reviews and experiences of fellow plant-based eaters on Google, Yelp, Happycow, VegGuide, Tripadvisor and VegTravel. On Yelp or Google, just insert the word vegetarian or vegan in your filters when looking for your vacation destination. Portland, Orlando and Scottsdale currently hold the top spots for being the most vegan-friendly vegan destinations. If you already have a destination in mind, like glamping holidays in the north east, then you can narrow it down to the vegan rating of the restaurants and local eateries and get a good idea of where you can get your first meal when you reach the place.
At least get some kind of kitchen
Forget being on vacation, your own local eatery probably cross-contaminates vegan food with animal-based counterparts. When on vacation, anything can go wrong with your vegan food order, from restaurants branding non-vegan food as vegan to all food on the menu having one animal-based ingredient or two. That is why it is imperative for you to find accommodations where you can get a highly-upgraded kitchen to make your food, perhaps something like the ones offered by Meredith Lodging brands. Keep in mind that the rentals offered by them are known to be equipped with all the latest amenities, starting from high-end furniture, to fully furnished kitchens and everything in between.
However, in the event that you might have gone with a different option of staying at a hotel room, make sure it is one that has a microwave and a refrigerator so that you can prepare yourself something if the menu doesn’t have any good options.
Get a vegan food tracking app
The Plant-based community is big and enlightened so don’t be worried about starving on their watch. Happycow is the first must-have app for any vegan traveller as it carries vegan guides for more than 180 countries around the world telling you the locations with the best vegan foods and guides on how to order and enjoy food while on vacation. Other apps include Vnutrition, Veggly and So Vegan. You need to evaluate the app you choose to ensure it covers your destination before relying on it for your trip.
Get your vegan passport
If you don’t have this one, then you are late for the train. It currently costs $2 but it is worth every penny considering the number of languages you can translate on it. The app allows you to communicate your dietary preferences in more than 78 different languages which means you can get your orders right in any restaurant around the world.
Stock up on vegan snacks
You can’t plan everywhere you will be in advance on vacation and even the best-planned trip will have you in a place where vegan food is not an option. When vacationing as a vegan, you need to imagine yourself as a person hiking in a forest where you may or may not find a fruit to eat. Stocking up on your biscuits, granola bars and other filling snacks will give you an option when the food options available to you aren’t acceptable.
Forget about Vegan restaurants
There aren’t that many vegan restaurants to go around, so if you are hoping to find an all-plant-based restaurant from door to toilet, you will be disappointed. You should go for regular restaurants that have vegan food options instead if you plan on enjoying your trip. You will get to enjoy your vacation with a few compromises than you will if you stay rigid because the world just isn’t all vegan yet.
Prepare to buy food from grocery stores
As a vegan, your food budget will need to be a lot more flexible because hotel food may not suffice. The plans for your trip, therefore, need to include the closest grocery stores where you can get some food. Fresh food markets are also a great choice for vegan food shopping when on vacation.
Go for vegan-themed vacations
Joining vegan forums through apps or social media can also help you plan your vacation for the best experience. Certain travel agencies offer vegan-themed tours for both vegans and omnivores willing to try a plant-based vacation. Tour companies such as Intrepid often advertise their vegan-themed tours which gives you an opportunity to enjoy your vacation without having to worry about whether you will get the right food.
Get a local guide
Technology can be reliable at guiding you to the known locations that have vegan food but it has its limits. Having a local guide doesn’t just help you get all the hidden eateries with great vegan menus; they also ensure your security while at it. Vegan forums such as Happycow can also give you the connections you need for local guides. For instance, if you were to visit Hawai, particularly Maui, then getting hold of a local guide could help in more than one way. Wondering how? It goes without saying that the guide can help you find vegan eateries in the location. Besides this, he can also tell you about the hidden attractions that might not be yet a sensation on the Internet. Lastly, you can also be advised on what to do when you are in Maui and how safe it would be depending on your age. Say that you were to find a few adventure sports to participate in. If that is the case, then the guide could suggest sailing with the help of firms like Kai Kanani. If you are not somebody with too many ailments in the body, then you can definitely consider trying your hand at this.
Be ready for disappointments
The only way you will get a perfect holiday is by not expecting one at all. Just plan your trip and hope that it will go well while ready to hit bumps along the way. Restaurants and travel agents always disappoint even when you don’t have special diet requirements so you can learn to expect less when you are a vegan. You should plan mitigations such as a kitchen, packed food and worst of all, eating food that may not be really vegan or vegetarian. The best way to go about it is to close your eyes and enjoy your vacation.
Do you know any more vacation tips for vegans and vegetarians? If you do why not tell us about them in the comments below.