Looking for some top travel tips for vegans? Even with Veganism having significant growth in the last few years, travelling in a new country as a vegan can be intimidating when all you see is animal products everywhere! After almost 10 years of being a vegan and 6+ years of travel, I have a few great tips to share with those who want to travel everywhere and anywhere whilst eating great food, including the countries that are seemingly not so vegan friendly. Don’t worry, there is plenty more to eat in Japan than just seafood!
Sidenote: if you’re looking to travel to Europe’s top vegan cities with other vegans (while learning delicious plant-based recipes along the way), check out Contiki’s Vegan Food European Explorer!
1. Download Happy Cow & Fussy Vegan
Some of the easiest travel tips for vegans are to download these two apps before you ever begin your travel planning.
Happy Cow is an app for sharing and finding restaurants, cafes, food trucks etc that have vegan options or are fully vegan, anywhere in the world. This is particularly helpful when travelling with meat eating friends as you are able to find places that cater to both! People leave detailed reviews and photos for you to see so you are able to find the perfect place for you to eat. You can put in the exact location of where you are staying and see what food options are close by for you! The search option has filters such as outdoor seating, wi-fi, accepts credit card and opening hours, all of which are incredibly helpful when travelling.
Before you head off, check out whats around in your destination and plan out some places you want to eat at. This will save you lots of time when you are tired and hungry after a big day of exploring!
Fussy Vegan is another great app but is currently only suitable for use in Australia, Canada, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, NZ, UK and USA. This app allows you to scan the barcode of a product and will tell you if it is vegan or not. You can also search for a product or browse through each country food chain menus to find something vegan. This is super helpful is you are looking for snacks in a convenience store or buying groceries to make a meal in your hostel.
2. Join The Local Vegan Community On Facebook
When I am planning a trip somewhere, one of the first things I do is search on facebook for a vegan group in that area. For example ‘Vegans of Adelaide’, ‘Is it vegan?(Japan)’ are groups I have been apart of. Try searching – Vegan & the city or country you are visiting. These groups are a great insight into what products are around and where people like to eat.
I have found all of these groups to be incredibly welcoming and friendly. Many times I have put up a post asking for recommendations and will have 50+ responses in a short time.
Similar to this, there are lots of instagrams dedicated to showcasing the vegan foods of different cities. Often searching the hashtag #vegan followed by the city (eg. #veganparis) will show you some pictures of beautiful places to eat!
3. Learn Some Vegan Phrases In Different Languages
Spend some time learning important words or phrases for vegans in the language of the place you are visiting. Words such as meat, dairy, contains, cheese, etc are important to know as some countries also don’t understand what vegan is and will tell you something is vegan when it isn’t. Some countries have an understand that vegan includes eating egg or dairy, so it helps to know special words when reading menus. Learning the symbol for ‘soy’ in Japanese was a great help to me with all of there vending machine coffees and milk drinks! Before visiting Japan, I had printed out a card that said ‘I am a Vegan. I cannot eat egg, dairy or meat’ in Japanese and would show this in restaurants when I was struggling to order. You could do something like this to save you time or use google translate if you have access to internet.
4. Bring Re-Usable Products With You
Most vegans are eco-conscious and that shouldn’t stop when travelling. I always take a collapsable container, a straw, cutlery, a water bottle and a coffee cup/mug that is large enough to hold a smoothie. Having these products on hand is always beneficial to reduce my waste when getting food on the go. Having a container on hand, is always great when you can’t quite finish your meal and want to take the leftovers. Whilst travelling in Thailand, I would take my large coffee cup down to the street vendor making smoothies and ask for it to be put in that instead of plastic. As I was consuming 3-5 smoothies a day in the Thailand heat, it was important to me to not be using single use plastic each time and even setting an example to other travellers and maybe even the street vendors!
5. Research! Research! Research!
Remember that it all comes down to putting in the time to research where you are going and what is on offer before you get there. Countries like France and Japan might not seem vegan friendly on the surface but there are hundreds of options out there! Don’t miss out on your dream destinations because you are worried about what you will be eating. Putting in the time to learn, create lists and have apps ready to go are some of the biggest travel tips for vegans.
Go Easy On Yourself
Most importantly, it’s okay to mess it up and make mistakes. Go easy on yourself. Everyone’s vegan journey is different, and if you make a mistake and consume an animal product, you will be okay! If you buy a product thats not vegan and realise afterwards, give it to a friend or someone in the hostel! I have made plenty of mistakes with food while travelling, assuming something is vegan when it is not. I am not impressed with myself for those mistakes but I wont beat myself up over it and I am still just as vegan as before. It is bound to happen at some point and that’s okay. Being a vegan is about doing the best you can to reduce your impact, so go easy on yourself and enjoy your travels!
Enjoy finding amazing vegan food around the world!