Plant-based diets are evidently becoming more and more mainstream here in Great Britain, according to the Vegan Society, the number of vegans having quadrupled in the space of four years, and the UK launching more vegan products than any other nation last year. However, that isn’t to say the trend is travelling quite as far as we vegans are. When your almond mylk is far from your reach, and you’re faced with age-old meaty cuisines and language barriers, travelling as a vegan may seem quite a challenge – it’s easy to find yourself missing your home-comfort vegan food more than you ever did meat and cheese!
After recently returning from two gorgeous weeks in Croatia, but being presented with one plate of grilled-aubergine too many, I’ve come up with 5 of my best tried-and-tested tips for holidaying-herbivores …
This tip should really be ‘plan ahead and pack snacks’, but I’m enjoying the alliteration, so we’ll leave it as it is. If, like me, being hungry equates to being the hulk, than make sure you always carry round protein-packed snacks for where the vegan options are scanty or non-existent – whether that be nuts and dried fruit, or you’re more the protein-bar kind. This means you can keep the hunger-monster at bay and enjoy exploring wherever you are.
Where the UK may be ahead of the game vegan-wise, were notoriously miles behind in terms of language-learning. Explaining ‘veganism’ in a language where you can barely say ‘hello’ poses a challenge. Its useful to learn a couple of phrases for ordering in restaurants, and some the word for some key ingredients to avoid when super-market shopping. Learning more about local ingredients and cuisine also means you can search for dishes that are already animal-free, so you don’t miss out on trying some of the traditional foods.
It’s easy to open a menu, scan past the list of dairy and meat dishes, reach the end and sulk because there’s nothing you can have (and the hulk returns). Here’s the time to get creative – see if there’s meals that are mostly vegan bar one ingredient you can ask for it without, or different sides you can club together for a DIY main. At one restaurant, after asking a waiter if he could do anything for me, he said he could replace the goat’s cheese in a dish with avocado which made a lovely meal.
This one kind of goes without saying: cook for yourself, and your fellow travellers, where you can! Whether that be on a camping stove, a shared hostel kitchen, a villa, or even a hotel-floor picnic. Enjoy exploring local markets for fresh fruit and veg, as well as larger stalls for beans, legumes etc. and you’ll find enough to come up with a balanced vegan meal (and save money!)
And my final tip returns to the pre-planning – searching apps like Happy cow, and the ‘vegan’ tag on TripAdvisor, is a god-send for finding restaurants that your vegan-self, as well as carnivorous-companions, can enjoy.
Happy travels and happy eating!
Heather is a final year English student at Leeds university who loves to write just as much as she loves coffee – as well as her studies, she is a faculty wellbeing representative, a member of the uni yoga committee, and a lover of cooking colourful vegan food and keeping fit 😊