1. At restaurants, try ordering regular menu items without the meat
Many restaurants globally may not have the vegetarian selection you’re hoping for. However, often restaurants are willing to make their regular menu items sans meat. Some readily availabe meal options for requesting meat to be excluded include:
- Pasta dishes, like spaghetti and fettuccini
- Pizza (choose your own topings)
- Tacos (with cheese and beans instead of any meat)
- Rice and veggies
2. Consider bringing the essentials from home (and supplement with local vegetables and fruits)
This one is especially relevant for vegans whose diets can be quite a bit more restricted. Bring foods you’ll absolutely need, like favorite nut butter, snacks, supplements, and even vegan/vegetarian protein powder. Most places will have a selection of seasonal and regional vegetables and fruits but may lack vegan and vegetarian-friendly protein.
3. Google “health food stores” around where you’re staying
You might be surprised at what kind of options are actually available when you do a little digging. But even if you don’t find dedicated health food stores, regular stores should have a decent selection of vegan/veg options.
4. Websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp allow you to filter restaurants in your area by “vegetarian”
Doing some research ahead of time will ensure you and your travel companions know where to find the best veg-friendly restaurants at your destination. These days there are typically countless options in most major cities around the world.
5. Book accommodations that will allow you to cook
Having a full kitchen, kitchenette, and a fridge at your disposal will be a game-changer, particularly in countries with very limited meat-free options.
6. Bring Stasher bags and other eco-friendly food containers
These will allow you to bring nuts, dried fruits, and other snacks if you happen to be in an area where the majority of restaurants lack veggie options
7. Plan to spend a bit more
The majority of places around the world will have vegan and vegetarian options, but the more sophisticated and accommodating restaurants may come at a premium cost. Pad your budget with a bit of extra cash to make sure you can afford the foods that fit your dietary needs, even if they’re a bit more expensive. For example, our experience in Paris is that pretty much any upscale restaurant should be able to prepare you the most incredible veg-friendly meal you’ve ever had if you ask nicely.
8. Consider staying in a vegetarian hotel or a vegan hotel
A simple Google search of your destination should give you an idea if such hotels are available. You’d be surprised how many incredible locations around the world have these popular hotels.
9. Use technology to your advantage
Technology has made traveling as a non-meat eater easier than ever. There are apps that tell you how to communicate your veganism in over 100 languages, apps that tell you what vegetables and fruits are in season in your region, and even apps that let you find veg restaurants and products around the globe.
10. Do some searching online for national cuisine that typically doesn’t include meat
Knowing which of the famous cultural dishes can be made without meat ahead of time means you can still enjoy the local cuisine without worrying so much about the ingredients. Of course, you’ll still need to double-check with the wait staff before ordering anything.
11. The appetizer menu is a vegetarian’s best friend
Many of us have known this for a long time, but when in doubt study the appetizers as they are often more likely to be vegan/vegetarian if a restaurant has slim pickings. Instead of getting a main course, get several good-looking appetizers.
12. Use social media to your advantage
Often vegans and vegetarians will share restaurants and stores that carry veg options. Search on Instagram, Twitter or TikTok for #vegan and then whatever city or country you’re visiting. Variations can include hashtags like:
- #vegan(city name)
- #(city name)vegan
- #vegetarian(city name)
13. Find regional vegan travel guides
Go online and search “(destination) vegan guide” and you’ll likely find a few veg sources of inspiration for your travels. Plus, many guides will have the language to help you avoid certain ingredients and animal products.
14. Don’t forget to pack other cruelty-free vegan products
If using personal hygiene cosmetics, skincare, haircare and general products is important to you, be sure to bring them. Many countries will have a limited selection, if they carry them at all. It’s, therefore, better to bring what you need for your full trip than risk running out halfway through. Obviously being wise with baggage weight is also an important consideration and not bringing too many liquids in your carry-on bags as they won’t pass security in most countries.
15. Research the language ahead of time
Know how to communicate your dietary needs before you go so you’re not scrambling at the last minute. Being able to say “I don’t eat meat, fish, or poultry, do you have meat-free options that are vegetarian?” in the language of your destination will go a very long way. Also think about having it written down in the local language on a printout or saved on your phone can be very helpful!
16. Research vegetarian communities in your destination
Often you’ll find vegan and vegetarian communities on Facebook, Reddit, MeetUp, or other social platforms. Connecting with other vegetarians in your destination is a great way to find local restaurants or tips for eating animal-free in your travels.
17. Double check with the server that there are no meat or animal products in your food
We’ve all probably been in that situation where you ask if something has meat and are told “no”… but it has fish. You can always confirm politely with the waitstaff to ensure that there are no meat or animal products in your food before consuming. It’s better to be safe and double check!