Studying abroad for a semester? Planning an exotic vacation? Whatever it is, we’ve got ya covered. Believe it or not, being vegan is easy no matter WHERE you are in the world! With a little planning, you can eat your vegan heart out anywhere, anytime. Your vegan food pics will know no international borders.
Follow these tips, and we promise that you’ll be eating like vegan royalty no matter what country you find yourself in:
- Get on Facebook. Facebook is gonna be your BFF when it comes to sharing all your awesome travel photos and making your friends jealous, but it’s also a great resource to use before you start your journey! Ask all your vegan buds if they’ve visited your destination before and if they have any suggestions. Also, search for local vegan groups on Facebook in the area you’re visiting—they’ll be the best source for the lowdown on where to eat!
- Break the language barrier. Aside from practicing basic phrases in your destination’s native language, you should learn the words for things like meat, fish, dairy, cheese, eggs, etc., and practice asking for dishes “without cheese” or “without meat.” You can even make a little card to carry around that says (and shows) what you can’t eat, or you can order the one below from SelectWisely!
- SNACKS! Make sure you’re prepared for long plane, train, or walking expeditions by packing yummy, ready-to-eat snacks! Vegan energy bars are perfect for tossing in your bag, and GoPicnic makes awesome, healthy portable vegan meals that are easy to pack, too. Having snacks on hand is also helpful for when you first arrive somewhere and haven’t had a chance to get settled.
- Don’t be shy about your vegan-ness. If you’re studying abroad, tell your school program (as well as your hotel or host family) about your dietary needs ASAP! Special diets and allergies are super-common nowadays, so accommodations can almost always be made without an issue—especially when people know in advance!
- Do your homework. The Internet is a magical thing, children. Do some research on commonly used hidden cooking ingredients that aren’t vegan (for example, fish sauce in some Southeast Asian dishes or lard in some Hispanic dishes) so you can be sure to ask for your meal to be made without them.
- Eat authentic. Once you do some research to get familiar with the local cuisine, you can figure out what’s already vegan or easily customizable. Like, did you know that “pizza marinara”—which is essentially a cheeseless pizza—is a standard menu item in Italy? With a little research, you’ll be überprepared once you arrive at a restaurant!
- HappyCow is gonna change your life. HappyCow’s restaurant guide is the BEST resource for finding vegan food anywhere in the world! Type in any location to search for vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants—as well as health-food stores—in the area.
- Get creative. Imagine you’re in a restaurant using your foreign language skillz to ask if there are any vegan options, and the waiter says no. UGH. Don’t give up! Sometimes it’s a lot easier to ask if they have anything vegetarian, and THEN ask for no dairy products or eggs. Also, scan the menu for items that could be vegan on their own (veggies, rice, pasta, breads, beans, lentils, etc.) and ask if they can throw these things together and make you something awesome.
- Go grocery shopping. Do yourself a favor and hit up the local markets! You’ll find that many of them have TONS of beautiful, fresh produce, and you can often find shelf-stable snacks such as beans, nut butters, crackers, and perhaps even some other randomly vegan goodies. Check out the crazy fruit selection at this market in Spain:
And yum, this lil’ soy yogurt spotted in Iceland:
- Use common sense. A lot of international vegan dishes that you eat at home are also vegan in their country of origin! Think Indian, Thai, Ethiopian, Mediterranean, Mexican, etc. If you eat it on the regular at home, it’s probably easy to find vegan elsewhere, too.
- Chat up the locals. If you find a health-food store, ask the employees which restaurants serve great vegan food! Meet someone who speaks English well? Jump at the opportunity to see if they know any vegan-friendly spots! You never know who’s got the inside scoop on vegan goodies.
- Keep those eyes and ears peeled! It seems like a no-brainer, but be on the lookout for the word “vegan”—I once found the most awesome, creamy, delicious soy-based gelato while in Italy simply because a “vegan” sign was on the shop’s front window! Another peta2 staffer found this VEGAN barbecue in Korea:
- Nobody’s perfect. Remember: Being vegan isn’t about being perfect—it’s about speaking up for animals, not supporting cruelty, and inspiring others to do the same. So if you’re not able to read the ingredients in the bread used on your sandwich, don’t beat yourself up over it. Just do your best using all these tips and tricks!
And duh, you guys, don’t forget about us over here at peta2! 😉 Be an international superhero and stay on top of your animal-saving game no matter WHERE you are with peta2’s brand-new iPhone and iPad app!