Tips For Plant-Based Travellers
Plant-based eating is an ever-growing topic of discussion. The health benefits are undeniable and as more people switch to vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based diets, there are a growing number of options available at supermarkets and restaurants. However, when it comes to travelling and staying true to your plant-based ways, it can be a little harder. There’s no need to completely abandon your eating habits or fall back onto the meat-eating wagon, you just need to plan a little more. Here are our top tips for getting by as a plant-based traveller.
Choose Your Destination Wisely
It’s simple; some destinations are more vegetable-focused than others. In countries like the UK, despite being heavily meat-focused in their cuisine, you can get a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan meals in all supermarkets and most restaurants. This goes for other dietary requirements too, including dairy-free or gluten-free. Somewhere like India or South East Asia would be another great choice for plant-based travellers, as so much of their diet is based on fresh fruit and vegetables. A destination like Argentina might prove more challenging!
So which countries are best for vegetarians or plant-based eaters? Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Ireland and the UK, Italy (yes really! Almost all pastas and salads can be made vegetarian) and Israel, to name but a few.
Do Some Research In Advance
With a variety of tools like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Zomato and of course Google at your fingertips, nowadays it’s easy to find out what restaurants serve, where the best plant-based options are, and how to get to there.
Before you embark on your trip, it’s a good idea to do some research with phrases like “destination + vegan” or “destination + vegetarian + restaurant” and see what comes up. From there, you can also search through reviews on review sites for terms like ‘vegetarian’ and see what reviews and comments come up. And don’t forget social media! It’s amazing how many places are recommended online in groups and statuses, by people with similar dietary requirements to you. Write down a list of numbers before you go, so that if you’re not connected for some reason during your travels, you still have an old-school way to find a plant-based place to eat.
Choose The Right Accommodation
Making sure that your hotel is able to accommodate your diet is key to planning an easy plant-based holiday. This is even more important if you’re doing an all-inclusive or resort holiday. but even if you plan to use your hotel as nothing more than a place to shower, sleep and fuel up in the morning, it’s still crucial to choose the right place!
Ask hotels that you’re interested in whether there is (or can be!) a little fridge in your room. The ability to store some basics such as milk alternatives, hummus, fruit and other items that you can snack on or have for lunch in a pinch makes it much easier to relax and enjoy your travels.
It’s also important to ask about their breakfast at the hotel in advance – a buffet is a good bet as there’s almost always fruit salad and bread. At some establishments, there’ll be hot items like mushrooms or tomatoes, or a salad bar where you can pick out the ingredients you can eat. If there’s no buffet, ask whether there’s a vegan or vegetarian option on the regular menu – something like mushrooms on toast, fruit and muesli, or even a vegetable soup. A good hotel will be happy to make you something if you let them know ahead of time, even if it’s not a standard menu item!
Learn Some Local Phrases
Trying to explain to someone in rural Thailand that you don’t eat meat can be tricky, so learn how to say “I’m a vegan” in the local language. Plant-based isn’t always a widely understood term, but vegan is! You can even write it down if you’re not confident about your pronunciation and show it to restaurant owners or food stalls. Many plant-based travellers write down the name of common animal products in the local language too, so that they can keep an eye out for these words when reading ingredient lists or dishes on a menu.
So, with a little homework and a bit of planning, as a plant-based traveller, you can have fun immersing yourself in the local food and culture, even if it is not exactly the plant-based diet that you would eat at home.