Traveling with your family can be wonderful or challenging. If you’re a vegetarian, there can be some issues around you wanting to seek out vegetarian food and restaurants and them wanting to plow through attractions or wanted to try out non-vegetarian foods.
Tip #1 – Make arrangements so you can venture off alone.
Plan in advance for how your family (and you) can feel comfortable with you doing some things solo. For example, so you can trek across town to a vegetarian restaurant. This is usually as simple as making sure that you and someone else in your family each have a cell phone that is charged and works in the foreign country.
Make sure your phones are charged before you leave your accommodation for the day! Your family may be a bit reluctant to let you venture off at first. Let them know you’re going to a safe neighborhood and that you’ve mapped the directions so you won’t get lost. Eventually they’ll get used to you doing this but depending on your family, it may take awhile!
Tip #2 – When in Paris Eat Falafel
Where possible find out if a city is famous for any vegetarian dishes that your extended family are likely to be keen to try as well. Virtually everyone likes falafel. It so happens that the Marais district in Paris is famous for it’s falafel.
This strategy works for this like gelato in Italy too. Tell them you’ve researched “the best gelato shop in Rome” and that it just happens to also have milk-alternative, egg-free gelatos too.
Tip #3 – Skip dinner at Seafood restaurants.
Let’s say your family all want to go to some disgusting stinky seafood restaurant. Rather than enduring it, give them a heads up in advance that you’re going to do something else that evening. As long as you’re not excluding yourself from every family meal, your family members are likely to understand if you’d prefer not to go watch them chow down on octopus.
Tip #4 – Map vegetarian friendly food choices.
Take responsibility for not becoming excessively hungry (and thus cranky!). This can mean taking some snacks with you. In some places, you’ll be able to use an app like Yelp to just locate vegetarian friendly options that are near you. This means it won’t matter where in a city you happen to be at lunch time.
Given that travel in unpredictable, if you’re doing family travel, it’s probably not that realistic to think you can keep everyone to a schedule that will allow you to reach particular destinations by the time you’re hungry. You’ll need to have some skills for being able to locate vegetarian food close to wherever you’ve ended up at lunch time. Think beyond vegetarian restaurants e.g., supermarkets, mini supermarkets, health food/organics stores, and food trucks.
Tip #5 – Book Self Catering Accommodation
Self catering accommodation solves a lot of problems for vegetarian travelers. If you’re traveling in a large group of family then booking a villa can be a good value choice. A big advantage of family travel is if your parents volunteer to pay for the accommodation! If you’re traveling in the US, a lot of 3* hotels are starting to have microwaves available for guests. In some cases these will be in the room. In other cases there will be snacks and drinks for purchase in the lobby and the guest microwave is located with these. In my experience it’s permissible to heat your own food using this microwave (I’ve asked the hotel staff and this is ok). I love to reward hotels that provide this amenity with my business! It makes life a lot easier for me as a vegetarian traveler!