Backpacking as a vegan can pose considerable problems, especially in countries where meat-eating is the order of the day. With a little research and preparation you can have a great holiday without compromising your diet. Here are six tips to help you:
1. Learn the local Language
The words “vegetarian” and “vegan” do not exist in all languages. You may encounter blank looks and lots of shoulder shrugging when you walk into a restaurant asking for vegan or vegetarian meals. Learn a few essential phrases and the words for basic food stuffs which will allow you to shop for food at markets, health shops and greengrocers and order food in restaurants and snack bars.
2. Learn how to order Food correctly
When ordering, ask staff to make changes to your menu, such as hold the beef and replace it with something vegetably. Tell staff you’ll only pay for what you have actually ordered, that should prompt willingness. Download an app called V-Cards, which shows a description of veganism in more than 70 native languages on your mobile’s screen; this will explain to restaurant staff what you want to order.
3. Book only Hostels and Campsites with Kitchens
With a kitchen in situ you can prepare your favourite meals at a fraction of the cost and not compromise your vegan diet. If you can’t find anywhere with kitchens at your chosen destination, invest in a camping cooker and a couple of pots and pans. For less than £30.00 you can have your own mobile, light-weight kitchen and eat out in the nearest park. Buy an easy-to-follow recipe book suitable for travel cooking and invite fellow campers or hostel guest for a meal. You’ll have a great night out and make tons of new friends!
4. Be prepared
Not every place you’ll be visiting will have health food shops. Take a few things from home, basics like B12, maca, spirulina, probiotics, coconut oil, salt, olive oil, brown rice and curry powder. With suitable carriers like rucksacks or wheeled suitcases, there’s no need to throw anything out at the end of each stay.
5. Seek out Local Farmers Markets
Provided you have travel/health insurance there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be tasting samples of exotic dishes from roadside food stalls. Just be sensible and check their hygiene level first. If lots of locals are eating there then that’s a good sign it’s OK. Eat your way around a market for free, if you dare! Here’s some informations and tips if you’re unfortunate enough to get the infamous Traveller’s Diarrhoea. Sooner or later you’ll pick up the infamous tummy bug. Buying ingredients from local farmers markets and preparing your own meals is still the safest option. Your purchase will also support local farming communities.
6. Take up Yoga
Take up yoga before travelling; yoga studios and yoga hostels are great places to learn of world-wide eateries serving delicious vegan and vegetarian food, where to find local farmers markets and where to discover health food shops in the countries you plan to visit. People will also tell you about local food that is suitable for a vegan or vegetarian diet.