Wednesday 15 February 2017

New to Veganism? 5 Essential Travel Tips for New Vegans

vegan travel essential tips and advice
The populations of many countries around the world are waking up to the health benefits of veganism. However, there are just as many where this move to ethical and healthy eating is still in its infancy. We veteran vegan travellers know how to deftly handle this problem. Do you? Enjoying the local cuisine is a crucial part of the travel experience so it really isn't worth losing out on new taste sensations. If you’re a travel bug who is new to veganism, you need these 5 essential travel tips for new vegans on the move.

#1. Always Plan Ahead!

When travelling, it’s good to plan ahead, especially if you’ll be visiting multiple destinations. Governments often require advance proof of your onward trips. Fortunately, you can get a Dummy Ticket with a verifiable onward reservation and PNR (Passenger Name Record) number, from anywhere, in minutes. But too many vegans focus on planning their travel itinerary and yet don’t plan their eating itinerary! It is an essential part of your vacation. Always check, in advance, if the area you’ll be in has vegan or vegetarian restaurants. Some local restaurants, while not strictly catering to vegans, may have vegan-friendly menu options, or allow substitutions. Don’t take this for granted, though. A little forethought will ensure you’ll have a happier trip. Always plan ahead, and research your options before you book your trip.

#2. Be Prepared to Shake Things Up!

As a vegan traveller, you’ll sometimes find yourself in places that don’t cater as well to vegans as other countries do. You'll probably always be able to find the staples (beans, lentils, rice and raw vegetables) but if you're looking for ground flaxseeds or algae oil capsules, you could spend hours looking for a health-foods store. Needless to say, this might put a damper on your vacation, as you waste precious time. This can be avoided if you are prepared for such contingencies. So, stock up on whatever you might need, e.g. some plant-based protein powders for on-the-go nutrition, before your departure. Remember to take your USB-powered, travel-sized blender with you!
travel tips for vegan travellers
If you don’t have one, make it a priority before you go travelling again. Whenever you get to a place that lacks the plethora of plant-based food options you're used to, you won’t have a reason to stress. Just make yourself a tasty and nutritious shake.

#3. Don’t Get Irate, Educate!

When you are just trying to enjoy your vacation and you can’t find a decent vegan meal anywhere, it’s natural to get frustrated. But don’t get irate. Use this as an opportunity to educate others about veganism. You can, for example, take the time to share some knowledge with the management of the hotel or restaurant. Instead of ranting about their lack of vegan options, suggest that they consider adding a vegan meal or two to their menu. Recommend some clever substitutions that will make meals more vegan-friendly. You might not persuade every establishment to take your advice. But even if one of them does, you’ll have paved the way for future vegan travellers. You’ll have made a difference in the world while travelling and having a good time. That’s a travel memory that’ll last a lifetime!

#4. Combine Sightseeing With Meal-Seeking!

If you’re concerned that you’ll have limited time for sightseeing while seeking out your next plant-based meal, don’t despair. We have the solution. Open-air food markets! There are many vegan-friendly food markets around the world. Some of these vegan-friendly markets are indoor ones, some are outdoors. If you visit an outdoor food market, you get to do some sightseeing and people-watching, while enjoying the fresh air. And you can get yourself a cheap and healthy bite to eat. Now that’s how to multitask as a vegan traveller!
vegan travel essential tips for beginners
Many cities worldwide offer walking tours to visitors, some of them are even free of charge, or at least, very affordable. Choose a tour that incorporates a stop at an outdoor fresh produce market. In this way, you’ll also get to sample fruits and vegetables native to the region.

#5. Inform the Airline in Advance!

New vegans often don’t realize that most international airline carriers cater to vegans. They usually have a wide range of special meal options for all sorts of dietary requirements. The general rule of thumb is to inform the airlines you’ll be using that you need vegan meal options 24 hours in advance. For example, on Air Emirates or Singapore Airlines, you can have a vegan meal on a flight if you book it 24 hours in advance. On Air New Zealand flights, travellers can request the vegetarian meal, VGML, which is also suitable for vegans and it also has to be booked at least 24 hours in advance. Indeed, many airlines go the extra mile, quite literally, to serve their vegan passengers tasty vegan in-flight meals. United Airlines has a variety of plant-based meal options. And, Swiss International has partnered with the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant, Hiltl, to satisfy your need for healthy in-flight food.

What about you, how do you travel as a vegan? Feel free to share any tips & advice below!

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