Traveling as a Vegan
Posted in: Vegan Living
So you’re vegan as f*ck and you want to take a great vacation but think it will be hard to eat and travel. Well WRONG!! Not only is being vegan possible virtually everywhere one would travel, it is often a lot easier than in the United States. I am, by no means, an expert on traveling (which is probably a bad way to start this off) but I wanted to share some tips and my experience. I recently came back from a solo trip to Thailand and had the best experience of my life. Here we go!
First thing first, the dreaded airport.
Not only can it be stressful finding your gate while dodging thousands of travelers and trying to remind yourself that you’re not a criminal while getting patted down, you’re hungry! Good news is there are a lot of places to get vegan food in airports. Most of the time you can find fruit on display and many convenience type stores sell snacks like pretzels, chips, cliff bars, etc. You can even bring your own outside food! But be careful with how you store it, make sure you contact the airport first. Getting an actual meal is a little harder, bigger airports will have vegan options(I got an awesome vegan burger at a restaurant inside JFK and tofu stirfry at BKK) but the smaller ones probably wont. A lot of airports will have a list of their restaurants online so just look and call ahead.
You finally made it through the twelve security checks and you’re on the airplane!
You have a 13 hours flight and you need something more than peanuts and dry pretzels so now what? Thankfully it’s 2017 so major airlines will accommodate any diet. When booking your flight look for the option where you can access your reservation and request a vegan meal on your flight. Some airlines don’t try to make vegan meals taste good at all and others bring out the red carpet. For example, I’ve seen a delta vegan meal consisting of a plain bagel, a banana, and an apple. Where as on my flight to Thailand I got rice with stew tofu and red lentil dalh(delicious). If for some reason you forget to request a vegan meal before your flight look for the vegetarian option on the menu! A lot of times it can be made vegan or is already vegan.
Hooray, you landed! Now its time to nap off the jet lag and explore the city.
You need a quick bite to eat in between exploring temples and biking around. The number one thing I recommend is to use the HappyCow app. It can highlight restaurants around your location that are all vegan, all vegetarian, or that have vegan options. I used it everyday in Thailand and found some amazing all vegan places (Vegan Heaven in Chiang Mai, Vegan Concept in Bangkok). If you’re saving phone space for pictures of elephants and don’t feel like downloading an app, then use google! A quick google search of “vegan food in mexico city” has presented me with five or six restaurants. You can view their menu, look at prices, and fit them into your travel plans. If you don’t have access to internet at all, talk to the locals and explore! Make sure you learn how to say things like “no meat”, “vegan”(which can be tricky since some languages don’t have the word vegan), “vegetarian”, “vegetable meals” etc. One of the best meals I had in Thailand was mango sticky rice. I just asked the vendor what it was made of (mango, rice, sweet coconut milk dressing) and chowed down. Step out of your comfort zone. I also encourage you to try lots of exotic fruit while on your trip, you may find something you love!
You’re stuffed! You ate all the vegan food you could manage/afford.
It’s time for some more activities. When choosing vegan friendly activities always keep the animals in mind. It’s very cool to see elephants in Southeast Asia but it is NOT okay to ride them. Instead look for animal sanctuaries where you can see and interact with the animals but also respect them. Thailand has a ton of elephant sanctuaries, the top two are Elephant Nature Park and Elephant Jungle Sanctuary; I highly recommend both. At these two sanctuaries you get to walk around and greet over 70 rescued elephants, feed them bananas, give them a bath, and maybe even get in the mud with them. Stay away from zoos and tourist traps where animals are obviously(or discretely) abused and exploited.
Those are my main tips and some of my experiences in Thailand. Traveling as a vegan is super easy and can be made great with a little bit of pre-planning.