Simple Tips For Eating Vegetarian While Traveling

Eating vegetarian while traveling may seem impossible but it really isn’t. You always find something you can have.

I’ve been a vegetarian for many years and have never gone hungry. No matter where I was, even in restaurants that specialize in meats, I’ve always found something I could eat. 

If you’re worried about what you’re going to eat as a vegetarian when you travel, TRUST ME, it’s so much easier than you think now.

You just need to be prepared with a few tricks down your sleeve and you’ll be okay.

Some people may even think that you miss out on trying international cuisines as a vegetarian. But, you’d be surprised at how many cuisines have vegetarian options, and how easy it is to make products vegetarian by changing one or two ingredients. 

It’s really not as stressful as people might think and it’s totally doable without much trouble. If you just follow a few tips and guidelines it’s so much easier. That’s why we wanted to make this list of tips for you, to help you make your traveling experience as a vegetarian as easy and stress-free as possible.

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HOW TO EAT VEGETARIAN WHILE TRAVELING

1. Request a Vegetarian Meal In-flight

Most of the time, you’ll find a vegetarian dish on the menu, but on the rare occasion that you don’t, side dishes save the day. 

A lot of restaurants serve rice, beans, potatoes, or vegetables as side dishes. So, if there isn’t a vegetarian dish option on the menu, you can make your own meal out of a few side dishes.

2. Make a meal out of sides

Most of the time, you’ll find a vegetarian dish on the menu, but on the rare occasion that you don’t, side dishes save the day. 

A lot of restaurants serve rice, beans, potatoes, or vegetables as side dishes. So, if there isn’t a vegetarian dish option on the menu, you can make your own meal out of a few side dishes.

3. Ask about lard and chicken stock

So many dishes can seem vegetarian on paper but they aren’t. Meals are prepared differently depending on what country you’re in. Some countries can use oil to prepare something and others use lard for the exact same dish. You need to be careful about that.

Even something like a vegetable soup could have chicken stock in some places. Make sure to ask about these types of ingredients if you want to be strict about eating vegetarian while traveling.

4. Learn key phrases in the local language

The easiest way to ensure you’re eating vegetarian while traveling is to be clear when you ask for food. The easiest and most respectful way to do that is to approach locals in their own language. You can’t expect locals to understand English and to understand your food restrictions in a language that isn’t their own. 

To make it easier for yourself and locals, learn a few key phrases to explain what you eat and don’t eat. 

Some of the phrases we recommend you learn are:

  • Do you have any vegetarian options on the menu?
  • I don’t eat meat, fish, beef, or chicken. 
  • Can you make it without lard, chicken, or beef stock, please?
  • I’m a vegetarian. I don’t eat beef, chicken, fish, seafood (… anything else you don’t eat).

5. Go to supermarkets or markets

Eating vegetarian while traveling will always be easiest if you make your own meals. But we don’t always have a stove or kitchen supplies available when we travel. 

If you happen to have a kitchen available, cooking at least a few meals for yourself is super convenient. 

But even if you don’t have a kitchen. You can buy simple things like fruit, granola, and yogurt for breakfast. And just like that, you figured out one meal a day. That’s just an example, there are many meals you can whip up without a stove.

6. Focus on whole foods

You can never go wrong with vegetables, fruits, or nuts. There’s no way these foods won’t be vegetarian. When you can’t find anything to eat, these foods will always be a safe bet. 

Luckily foods like these are universal. Whole foods are available in most places you can travel to. 

If you don’t feel like going through the trouble of asking what is in a dish at a restaurant or requesting vegetarian options, stick to fruits and vegetables and you should be fine.

7. Pack snacks

It’s a good idea to pack snacks when you know you’ll be out all day.

Just in case you can’t find ANY vegetarian meals you’ll have snacks to survive while you find a vegetarian option.

8. Do research beforehand

Every country is different. Some countries, like India, have a very vegetarian-friendly cuisine. Other countries, like the USA or Germany, have big vegetarian and vegan communities so they have a ton of options. But a lot of countries aren’t very vegetarian-friendly at all. It’s a good idea to know what the case is where you’re visiting so you’re prepared. 

Doing research beforehand will also help you be aware of what’s in local delicacies or local dishes. That way you’ll know whether you can eat those or not. 

You may even find some vegetarian restaurants you want to try while you’re there. 

Overall, it’ll help you feel more prepared and comfortable.

9. Use Happy Cow

Happy Cow is a vegetarian’s best friend. Eating vegetarian while traveling is so much easier with Happy Cow. 

This app helps you find vegetarian restaurants, natural food stores, and vegan & vegetarian-friendly meal options near you.

If you want to travel as a vegetarian but you don’t want to miss out on going to restaurants and trying local foods, Happy Cow is a great ally to have.

10. Fries are your friend

If you can’t find any vegetarian meals, restaurants usually sell fries. Especially fast-food chains, if they don’t have a veggie burger available which many chains do sell these days, they WILL have fries. 

I can’t tell you how many times fries made eating vegetarian while traveling possible for me. They may not be the healthiest or most filling option but they can be a lifesaver. 

Just remember to ask if the fries are made with lard. In my experience, they’re usually made with oil so you should be fine.

11. Substitute ingredients or take out ingredients

There are always dishes that could easily be made vegetarian by just taking out 1 ingredient or swapping one ingredient for another. This is one of the easiest ways to find more meal options.

For example, if you find a sandwich that sounds great but it has chicken you could ask if it’s possible to substitute the chicken for mushrooms or cheese (if you eat dairy). It’s a lot easier than it seems 

Restaurants are usually helpful and want you to have a good experience so they’ll help you if they can. You just have to ask.

12. Ask Ask Ask

Don’t be afraid to ask. There are exceptions but if you’re calm and polite, most people are happy to help you. 

Be open to asking locals for help when you need it. You’ll regret it if you eat something you didn’t want to eat because you were embarrassed to ask. 

It’s also important to be very clear when you’re asking. Remember that vegetarianism can mean something different in each country and depending on who you ask. 

Even the word meat is understood differently by each person. Some people don’t include fish and chicken when they think of meat. 

We suggest you’re as specific as possible when explaining your eating habits. Instead of just saying you don’t eat meat, specify that you don’t eat chicken or seafood either.

CONCLUSION

Eating vegetarian while traveling isn’t as hard as it can seem. It may take some extra effort but it’s worth it if it’s an important lifestyle choice for you. 

If it’s keeping you from going vegetarian, it’s not something you really need to worry about. Vegetarianism and Veganism are becoming more and more common so most places have at least 1 or 2 options these days. 

Even if you go somewhere with barely any vegetarian options, if you put our tips to use, you’ll find something to eat no matter where you are.

Before you go

Check out the rest of our articles on travel tips. We have tips on how to stay healthy while traveling. As well as a few travel guides that we think you’ll love.

Also, we’d love to hear from you. What are YOUR tips for eating vegetarian while traveling?  Leave us a comment!

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