5 Ways being vegan makes travelling better
There’s a big misconception that being vegan prevents you from travelling the world. But it’s simply not true. When I started travelling as a vegan I actually found that far from making my travelling experiences worse, it made them BETTER. Now I couldn’t imagine travelling any other way! Still don’t believe me? Here are five ways being vegan makes travelling better.
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1) You’ll save money!
I’ve found that I have saved some serious money on food abroad since becoming vegan. Especially if I eat specifically in vegan or vegetarian restaurants!
Being more on the niche side means often finding vegan/vegetarian restaurants off the beaten tourist track which are more targeted to locals – and at cheaper local prices!
These restaurants can often be smaller cafes or community set ups as well which I’ve always found are cheaper to eat out in than chain restaurants or notoriously touristy restaurants.
My favourite example of this was in the Czech Republic. I was spending the weekend in Brno this summer and found a fantastic little vegan restaurant which did veganised versions of traditional czech food.
I loved it – the food was SO good and only cost me £10 for three courses and a bottle of czech lemonade! It was half an hour walk away from my accommodation but I loved the fact that it was miles away from the main tourist area. It was like I had been let in on a local secret.
In countries where you may find it more challenging to find vegan options, I’ve sometimes opted to go self-catered so I can cook some of my own evening meals to save the stress of finding places to eat every single night. I especially love to go the self-catered route when I’m travelling solo because you can save so much money too!
2) You’re less likely to get sick
I’m not just saying this because I’m vegan, I promise! But if you go for the veggie option whilst you’re travelling in more developing countries you’ll be less likely to get sick.
Meat in particular is more prone to getting contaminated if it hasn’t been cooked right through or has been left out. Some countries don’t pasteurise their dairy products as well which means bacteria found in raw milk isn’t killed.
Regulations on this are different in some countries so travellers that consume dairy are at a greater risk of getting a stomach upset or potentially something more serious.
There is one exception to this for vegan travellers and that’s surprisingly, salad! I know, I hear you: “Woah Mel I thought you said we’d avoid getting sick if we were vegan, now you’re saying we can’t even eat salad safely?!” and of course you can!
But if you’re unsure about the tap water (especially if you are travelling in a developing country), be careful with salad because it has more than likely been washed in tap water during preparation.
3) It’s easier to eat healthy
If you’re like me and travel with a partner and close friends that aren’t vegan, you’ll try and find places to eat that will cater for everyone. This means you’ll likely go to restaurants that cater for vegans and vegetarians but have limited vegan options.
I generally find that these options (if vegan meat and dairy substitutes are not available or popular in-country) are almost always healthier options overall. Usually in the form of veggie based pastas, soups and sides – even at Remy’s Restaurant at Disneyland Paris (below!).
Also if you’re in a country that is a little less vegan-friendly, their only dessert options suitable for vegans will usually be a fruit salad or sorbet (much to the disappointment of dessert-loving vegan travellers!).
But the advantage of these being the only dessert options is that they’re far healthier than having cake, tarts, pies or icecream. This is how I ended up with a surprise birthday fruit platter when I celebrated my birthday in the UAE – it was very cute though!
If you decide to opt out of dessert altogether (which I mostly do if these are the only options available) the advantage is your meal works out much cheaper too.
4) It’s so much fun discovering local alternatives
When I first went vegan I worried about missing out on one of the biggest joys of travelling – the food! But since I turned vegan I’ve travelled to 13 countries and found vegan alternatives in almost every country.
Discovering vegan alternatives for local food is now one of my favourite things to scout out when I travel! I’ve tried veganised local dishes in the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the USA, Cambodia, Laos, the UAE and France to name just a few.
Although I didn’t find France vegan-friendly overall (which isn’t a surprise as they are famous for their signature meat and dairy based dishes!), I loved every vegan alternative I could get my hands on! These included: ratatouille, red wine beef stew, french onion soup, croque madame, fresh croissants and crème brûlée.
Yes, it can be a little more challenging as you need to do a bit more research into a destination before you go but trying local vegan food is one of the best ways being vegan makes travelling better!
5) You’ll gain a greater connection to each country’s people, animals, culture and environment
It sounds awfully profound! But I feel that being vegan has really allowed me to connect with other countries’ people, animals, culture and environment in a way I never have before. As it’s a unique way of travelling that most people never get to experience.
Whether that’s connecting with other vegans through eating in local community-run vegan cafes, experiencing native animals in their natural habitat or learning about the country’s environmental and sustainability efforts.
Being vegan allows you to appreciate a whole other side of travel you had never thought about or knew existed.
If you’re looking for more tips and tricks for travelling as a vegan (outside this blog of course! 😉) I highly recommend Lonely Planet’s Vegan Travel Handbook.
It’s such a great resource for vegan travellers that I’ve accidently bought it twice!
The guide takes away some of the stress you may have about travelling as a vegan. Helping you research where to go, how to find the best vegan restaurants and accommodation and how to travel with non-vegans.
What other ways have you experienced that being vegan makes travelling better? 😄
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