Backpacking as a vegetarian can be tough, depending on where you go. Some countries, such as most of India are known to be very friendly to both vegetarians and vegans, though people in other countries may not even know what a vegetarian is outside of major cities. In order to make things a little easier on your trip, here are a few useful tips for travelling as a vegetarian or vegan.
Always keep a phrase book handy
Many modern phrase books have sections specifically related to vegetarian related food questions. Try and learn the most common questions and statements that you may need while ordering food such as “I am vegetarian”, “Is this vegetarian?” and “Does this contain meat?”. In a pinch, Google Translate can also help with this, but beware of a lack of phone signal as this can catch you out, especially in rural areas.
Vegans or vegetarians who don’t eat eggs or dairy products may struggle with this even more as Veganism doesn’t even exist as a word in many languages so make sure that you also know phrases related to the most common animal products in food.
Know your vitamins and minerals
While a vegetarian diet can provide you with everything that you need to live healthily, if you are not careful you can still find yourself deficient in important vitamins and minerals, make sure that you eat a variety of foods on your travels and try to avoid eating too much refined grain and sugar, which can be very common in foods in some countries. If you are unsure of what foods will give you the vitamins and minerals that you need, here is a great guide for vegetarians about vitamins and minerals.
Do your research
Most major cities in most countries will have some fantastic vegetarian and vegan restaurants, they are especially common in the coastal areas which usually have more tourism and are more exposed to ideas such as vegetarianism. A great website to find vegetarian and vegan restaurants in an area is Happy Cow.
Pack some dried snacks
Sometimes you will visit and area where there are no vegetarian or vegan options, to prevent yourself from going hungry it is a good idea to take some dried snacks such as dried fruit and nuts so that you always have something to eat, even if nothing is available where you are visiting.
Don’t worry too much
Even if you are in a country that isn’t particularly vegetarian-friendly, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a good time, or that you are going to go hungry. Most cities and towns will have a supermarket which will normally sell plenty of vegetarian and vegan foods from which you can make your own meals. Sure, this isn’t as glamorous as eating in a fancy vegetarian restaurant, but it can save you a lot of money, and more money ultimately means more travelling!
I hope that you found these travel tips for vegetarians useful, if you have any more tips for our readers, please post them in the comments below!