Porto is a city I need to visit!
Finally It’s summer and once again that for me like many others it’s time to get out there and travel. June, July and August mean spontaneous holidays, which kind of doesn’t make sense when it’s finally summer in the UK but a chance to escape the rat race of London is enough to make me voluntarily spend time in airport queues.
I’m usually fine if I visit the states or within the UK but if I venture out of the English speaking zones, and trust me, it takes me a long time to learn a phrase in another language, then I’m pretty much screwed when it comes to my vegan lifestyle.
I’m not saying you can’t survive as a vegan in non-English speaking countries but I think it’s wise to make plans before you travel so that your trip doesn’t turn into a food hunting holiday, which has kind of happened to me before.
For my next holiday which may be in August, I have devised a ‘Before I go’ steps of being able to enjoy the country instead of thinking of my hungry belly.
Before you go – My check off list
- When you select the area you want to travel to, research what the region’s main food group is. In the excitement of my holiday I forgot to prepare for my lifestyle when I went to a small area of Naples last year and although they are known for having good vegetarian dishes, for a vegan non Italian speaker it was tough!
- Happy Cow is an amazing site to look at before you travel, as they have recorded nearly every vegetarian or vegan friendly restaurant in the world I’m sure!
- If you are going to a party destination see which beers are vegetarian as some contain fish – http://www.barnivore.com/ has a comprehensive list of all Vegetarian Beers and Wines. I think this is one that even carnivores do not know about, most times I explain this I get an ‘urghh that’s disgusting’ look from them too.
- Always select your diet preference for the Flights, esp. if it’s a long flight, if they don’t have it, ring up and see if they can do anything for you. (here are foods you can take on flights for short trips where sometimes you have no choice but to but something on board. I always carry protein bars in my bag.
- If you are not great at the language, take translation cards with you, here are some that will help http://veg.ca/2013/01/17/vegetarian-travel-translation-cards. They will also help the person you interact with because not everyone will know what veganism is and you wouldn’t expect them to either, it’s wise to note that a little respect both ways counts for a lot.
- If you know the area is mostly non veg eateries, for example Porto in Portugal is beautiful, full of history and culture but it is well known as a large meat lover’s town! In this case you can plan before you go or see if you get some accommodation that is vegetarian so at least you can have breakfast and dinner when you get back, this is what I did in Naples. At HostelBookers (also where I work) we’ve created a page for this exact reason. It’s filled with our best Vegetarian Friendly Hostel and Hotels specifically for holiday travel. Some of these hotels I want to visit myself, the Hotel Na Balam on an Mexican Island looks pretty amazing, when I was reading up on what they offer I was reminded I need to go on holiday- they have a Yoga Hut, do holistic treatments and ‘Barefoot Weddings’, sounds lovely doesn’t it! And Legassi Gardens in Ghana are 100% vegan; the best part of their accommodation is they do organic farming workshops, which if I had a garden, I would be delighted to go to these but even without, I still want to go!
- By the way if anyone wants visit Porto as much as I do my lovely colleague sent me a veggie friendly eatery called Suibachi which looks nice!
This photo of Hotel Na Balam in Mexico just makes me dream (sigh!)
- If you are going to a remote area stock up on your fave veggie snacks! Just in case.
- When you get there, ask how the food is prepared, for example all cheeses are not Vegetarian (some contain animal rennet, these include Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), Gorgonzola and Grana Padano and in most countries they may use them on Pizza.
- And of course every country has a varied selection of fruit and veg, just seek out the best markets in the area and cook something yourself (although probably best if you stay somewhere that has self catering)
Some good apps whilst you are travelling
Be Nice To Bunnies – This mobile app from Peta.org helps travellers find cruelty-free hair care, cosmetics and skincare products, as well as other items.
VegOut – This application download from ITunes is for IPhone, Android, and palm devices. It helps you find vegetarian and vegan restaurants all over the world.
HappyCow – This app helps to locate vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants, bakeries, and health food stores in the United States and abroad. It also provides helpful travel tips.
Veggie Passport – This guide helps travellers translate their dining needs in 33 languages. For IPhone.