Being vegetarian (or vegan) is extremely beneficial for your health and for the environment. But, with all the benefits vegetarianism provides, travelling as a vegetarian can sometimes be quite difficult.
In your home country, you spend a lot of time cooking at your own home, your friends and family know you’re vegetarian, and, when you go out to eat, you know all of the vegetarian hot spots. Therefore, you don’t normally run into any huge obstacles because of your diet.
However, when you’re travelling, things can be very different. You’re eating out all the time, you’re spending time with people who don’t necessarily know your dietary restrictions, and, you may even be somewhere where you don’t know the language and the concept of vegetarianism isn’t really understood.
But, don’t worry. You don’t have to pack a trip’s worth of vegetarian food, and you also don’t have to cave in and eat meat.
Check out these top 3 tips for vegetarian travelers that will make sure your trip goes smoothly.
1. Do Your Research
Before you head to a new country, do some research and see what options are available for vegetarians.
The type of research you do will depend on what country you are visiting, as some countries are a lot more vegetarian-friendly than others. . For example, if you are visiting a developed country, like Australia, you won’t need to do a ton of research, as everyone speaks English and it’ll be easy for you to explain your dietary needs. However, it can still help to look at menus beforehand to make sure vegetarian options are available.
These Subiaco Restaurants, for example, make little notes to indicate when a restaurant has vegetarian options.
If you’re going to a developing country where you don’t speak the language and where it’s meat-heavy, Google what other vegetarians have eaten in these countries. A lot of times, there are a few “go-to” options for vegetarians in each country that are easy to order wherever you go, such as rice and vegetable dishes.
2. Learn the Right Phrases
It can also be very useful to learn a few phrases that will help convey to others that you don’t eat meat.
While in many English-speaking countries saying, “I’m vegetarian”, is enough to get the point across, this isn’t the case for all countries. In some countries, vegetarianism isn’t really a concept. Therefore, you may need to learn how to say “I don’t eat meat”, or “I don’t eat cow, beef, chicken, etc.” to get your point across.
If the language is difficult to pronounce, write down the phrase so you can show it to your waiters.
3. Be Flexible
Your trip will be a lot easier if you’re a bit more flexible and less picky about your meals.
Being flexible doesn’t mean giving up your morals. However, it might mean picking the meat off of a dish and giving that meat to a dinner mate. Or, it might mean not questioning whether your food was prepared on a different pan than the food with meat in it. It also might mean being ok with the fact that your soup was made from chicken stock or that your noodle dish has fish sauce in it.
While you may not agree with eating meat, it’s important to remember that not all cultures share your viewpoints, and when traveling, it’s okay to bend your own rules a little. After all, travel is about expanding your horizons, pushing your limits and experiencing as much as you can.
With these 3 tips in mind, your vegetarian travels should be a lot more enjoyable. If you have any questions about our vegetarian travel tips, please comment below.