I have been vegan for three years, and traveling can be a challenge, especially in countries where meat is usually the star of the meal and veggies are just another way to decorate the plate. Here are a few things I learned that will make your vegan travel adventure easier:
The first step to getting prepared is to know where you’re going and what to expect in terms of food. Wherever I go, I start by reading what people usually eat locally to see if I would have options in normal restaurants.
Find the names of a few local dishes that are vegan, so wherever you go you have a safe choice to order. It’s also good to know if there are any dishes that seem vegan but actually aren’t, like refried beans. Traditional refried beans are made with lard.
Here are a few websites I like to browse:
This is one of the simplest things in the world, but I decided to put it on the list because most of my friends didn’t know about it. You can either call the airline or manage your booking from their website to choose what to eat on your long flight.
Most companies have a vegan meal option, but sometimes it’s unclear which one you should choose because they all say vegetarian. Calling is the best way to go to make sure that you’re getting what you want!
Bonus: They bring it to you before everybody else, so you don’t have to wait until the air hostess finally reaches your aisle to eat!
There are a few apps that help you find vegan restaurants near you, such as Happy Cow and VegMan.
I personally prefer to use Foursquare; there is a search option for vegetarian/vegan restaurants, and it also tells you what places were able to make a custom meal even if it wasn’t on the menu.
There are no restaurants around the area; it happens. You decided to go off the beaten path and followed that narrow little street that looked right out of a movie set. It was definitely worth it to see a hidden part of the city but now you are tired and in need of a break. But most importantly, you are hungry after walking all day. Be sure to have something you can grab on the go, just in case! This is useful for those days when you can’t find a restaurant with vegetarian or vegan options.
Don’t bring all the protein bars from home (although having a few for the plane wouldn’t hurt). You can just buy snacks once you’ve arrived at your destination. My favorites are cashews or any sort of nuts and sliced veggies with hummus; you can find these almost anywhere. But if you can’t get them, going to the market and buying fresh fruit is always a good idea, plus is a great way to see more of the culture.
On Couchsurfing or even Facebook, there are forums where you can talk to other vegans who live in the area or people that traveled there. It’s a great way to get the best tips and also meet new people that share your values. While backpacking in Europe, I found this couple through Couchsurfing, and they offered to host me in Vienna. It was an amazing experience! Not only did they cook all the meals for me, but I also got to learn what things they used as a substitute for meat or eggs as well as where to find the best vegan restaurants.
We would love to help you plan your Latin American travels! Our tours are completely customizable, so you don’t have to worry about anything other than enjoying yourself (not even about the food, we’ll take care of it). Talk to one of our travel experts!