Vegan struggles when travelling

vegan struggles when traveling article cover

Travelling as a new vegan can be challenging. Not only are you trying to see the world, you’re also trying to maintain your diet, in an area completely foreign to what you’re used to. 

Granted, there are a few things to take into account before planning a trip. This post will go through some common struggles vegans experience while travelling. 

Finding vegan-friendly accommodation

What do we mean by vegan-friendly accommodation? When it comes to travelling, you get 3 options of accommodation. 

1 is a hotel room, wherein you commonly get the option to have breakfast included, and sometimes lunch and dinner. 

2 is a hostel, where you also typically get a breakfast option.

3 is staying in an apartment, where you have a bit more control on how you eat. 

By vegan friendly we mean, whether the place you’re staying at provides a solid vegan option, whether it’s local to supermarkets and/or vegan-friendly restaurants.

If you fail to do the adequate research, you may find yourself struggling to get your 3 meals in, simply because you’re staying in a place that doesn’t cater for a plant-based audience. 

A way to prevent this is to run your research in much more detail. Know the area you’re staying at, and ensure you have all your required amenities within reach. 

Having to cook for yourself

Now let’s say: You’ve chosen an apartment as you’re expecting to cook for yourself most of the holiday. 

Another struggle experienced by travelling vegans, is having to compromise the luxury of having food prepared for you. 

Often we have to experience extra preparation when travelling, be it in the form of packing ingredients, or having to clear up extra time, to prep packed lunches, to simply make sure you’re fed throughout the trip. 

When I was younger, a big part of travelling was trying to local food. However, you do tend to find many regions around the world, aren’t as catering to vegans.

One example I have, is when I went to Kassioppi and stayed in a hotel, I had to compromise and survive off soup and stuffed vine leaves – wasn’t ideal. 

It’s not all bad, though. Sometimes it can be fun traveling to new places and exploring different supermarkets, you can usually find some good ingredients to throw together for a decent meal.

plant based chickpea quinoa

I made this chickpea quinoa salad this one holiday where I simply had no vegan options anywhere, survived on my precooked packed lunches.

Sometimes not finding vegan restaurants

As mentioned, vegan restaurants can be hard to come by in some less developed countries. 

If you’re anything like me, you’d know that vegan restaurants are way more comforting than a restaurant that merely has a “veggie option”. 

With food being such a big part of culture, vegans do often struggle as there isn’t much choice for them everywhere they go. 

This is especially tough when it comes to staying in a hotel, which is why we recommend staying in an apartment where possible.

hungry man

“Normal” restaurants with no vegan options

Following on from above, vegans sometimes have to compromise and go to a “regular” restaurant, and survive solely on the starters and sides available. 

Say you’re staying for a week, you don’t want to be surviving on just chips, salad and soups, no-one does. When it happened to me once, I was wary of every other place I’ve travelled to, to ensure I don’t experience the same thing twice. 

plain salad

Language barrier when communicating allergies

A common issue we vegans face when abroad is a language barrier when communicating your allergies. On more than one occasion I’ve accidentally consumed a non-vegan food, simply due to the negligence of the restaurant. 

I distinctly remember ordering a burger that I was told was vegan by a Dutch server in Amsterdam, to find out it contained egg-based mayo and dairy cheese, instead of veganised options. 

Another example is when I went to Portugal and was enticed by a “vegan burger” which I then found out contained mayonnaise. It’s annoying when that happens, because the rules of veganism isn’t too hard, simply no animal products. 

However, if you’re serious about your lifestyle, you will have to spell it out to servers, unfortunately. 

No vegan options in an airport, or on planes

Airports are just irritating, and I’m sure it’s not only for vegans. When travelling early in the morning there’s nothing worse than knowing you’ve got a long flight, and there won’t be any options for you in the airport, or on the plane itself. 

It’s getting a little bit better, but many places are still outdated with their practices. I find myself having to bring a packed lunch on the plane to keep my hunger satisfied, although I don’t mind cooking, it takes up extra space and I could use the convenience sometimes. 

Clashes with friends and family

Being a vegan isn’t easy, especially when your friends and family aren’t.

Travelling for them is a case of seeing everything and experiencing everything, which includes tasting everything, which includes things that were previously living. 

It can lead to clashes, friends and family not wanting to travel with you for the sake of you limiting their experiences, and mere inconvenience. 

Say you did travel with your friends and fam and went everywhere with them, you’d have to settle for starters and sides instead of a proper meal. This is another common struggle experienced by vegans, but that’s why I like solo travelling!

Hope this gives you some insight into struggles vegans face when travelling. If you liked this post, be sure to share it with a fellow vegan who can relate. 

Thanks for considering veganising it for your vegan lifestyle inspiration. Stay well and stay blessed.