With Covid regulations lessening, many of us are returning to travel after a two-year hiatus. So perhaps our gadabout practices — from packing to planning — are rusty.
And, whether we’re new to the vegan scene (our most recent VegWeek first-time pledgers!) or seasoned vegans, we may be worried about how we’ll maintain our vegan habits when we’re away from our home kitchen and neighborhood go-to’s.
My recent trip to Bali reminded me that it’s actually fairly straightforward (and fun!) to travel internationally utilizing these simple tips:
Use the tried-and-true Happy Cow database for preliminary research. Enter a location to find nearby options, then check out their websites, menus, and reviews. You can narrow your search by vegan, vegetarian, or veg options. I’ll do a quick Google “vegan” search to see if any other interesting ideas come up. Make those reservations for weekend nights. (While at your location, Google Maps can become your best friend for sightseeing and looking for anything nearby; however, having the basic lay of the land ahead of time and reserving your tables for the busier weekend nights can make traveling a lot less stressful.)
2. Remember the Flight
Are you flying to your destination? Remember to order your vegan/non-dairy vegetarian dish ahead of time. When given advance notice, airlines are typically fairly accommodating. Make a phone call if there isn’t a vegan alternative easily available.
I contacted them about a week before my journey, and the representative made sure I had a fantastic vegan meal. (Note: When three other passengers saw what was on my plate, they requested our flight attendant if they may have the same.
Because dairy is inflammatory, many non-vegans welcome the opportunity to consume a non-dairy alternative.)
3. Let Others Try
Are you traveling with non-vegans? While you can do your research to identify locations with vegetarian options, ask your fellow travelers whether they’re interested in visiting at least one or two of your vacation destination’s all-vegan restaurants. It will not only enrich your own experience, but it may also be a fun way to introduce your family and friends to some wonderful vegan dishes.
4. Bring Food With You For Your Stay
If you’re staying at an Air BnB, stock up on vegan treats just as you would in your own kitchen. If you’re staying at a hotel, don’t be afraid to tell them you need oat milk for your cereal or almond milk for your coffee — and that you’ll need those items at the breakfast buffet or in your mini-fridge for the duration of your stay.
5. Be Thankful
Thank you for being grateful. While many of us have years of experience figuring out easy substitutions or practicing plant-based creative cooking, we must remember that we occasionally ask others to enter unfamiliar territory. And they are deserving of recognition for their efforts. So, please do yourself and the animals a favor by being generous and genuine in your expressions of thanks anytime someone goes out of their way to accommodate you. If they’ve made something delicious for you, thank them and push them to include it on their regular menu.
If you have a chance to have something that isn’t vegan – whether accidentally or on purpose – please don’t fall into the “all or nothing” pothole on what I hope will be a lifelong journey for you. One meal or tablespoon does not have to send you into a tailspin. If you realized halfway through the gelato that it wasn’t dairy-free, just let that moment pass without allowing it to define or entirely derail you. Every meal represents a new opportunity to help animals, the environment, and your own health. Everyone had a safe, healthy, and enjoyable trip!