When considering travel abroad, most of us would think of the sights we’ll see, the people we’ll meet, the fumbling around in the local language to communicate. Another big motivator of travel is the food – but for vegetarian and vegan travelers, this might become a source of stress instead. Traveling abroad can be stressful enough at times, but worrying about where you’ll be able to get food can turn some off of the idea entirely. However, even though it may not seem like it, vegetarianism and veganism are practiced by people all over the world. It may require a little more preparation, but you too can have a fantastic travel experience even if you don’t eat animal products.
1) Using the Internet as a Resource
Before and during your travels, the Internet is going to be your friend as there are several great resources available for vegetarian and vegan travelers to find great places to eat. Yelp is well-known as a great place to get a recommendation – type “vegan” or “vegetarian” in the search bar to see what comes up. HappyCow is specially built to find restaurants and stores that are vegan and vegetarian friendly, as well as VegGuide.com and VeganTravel.com. Also, if your destination has an official tourism website, consider checking that out to see if there is an official guide for vegetarians and vegans.
2) Learning Phrases
Ordering a meal in a restaurant in a local language can be tough enough, but it can be more challenging to try and describe your dietary needs as well. However, by learning set phrases ahead of time, you can properly communicate your needs to wait staff. Consider also having these phrases written down on index cards and bring them with you to the restaurant – a local might have difficulty understanding what you’re trying to say behind a thick foreign accent, but having it written down makes it crystal clear.
3) Knowing Your Local Culture
Knowing local culture can also make a world of difference and unlock other avenues for dining that might not be apparent at first glance. For example, did you know that Buddhist monks in Japan have had a tradition of not eating meat for hundreds of years? An entire culinary tradition known as shojin ryori has developed out of this; and not only is it internationally recognized and celebrated, it is all vegan friendly as well. By doing some research ahead of time, you could discover other ways in which the people of your destination have embraced vegetarianism or veganism and implemented it into their culinary traditions.
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