5 Tips for Traveling While Vegan

Veganism is the next big thing. It is easier now than ever before to pursue a plant-based diet either as a full-on lifestyle change, or as a method of incorporating more veggies into your diet. But what do you do while traveling? Chuck it all out the window? You don't have to! As a vegan of over 5 years and a lover of all things travel, here are my 5 tips for traveling while vegan.

by Unsplash

by Unsplash

1. Use HappyCow.

If you haven't heard of HappyCow, check it out! I absolutely love this website. Other vegans and vegetarians will add restaurant listings, which are approved by the facilitators of the platform, and add reviews. You can see whether or not a place is vegan, vegetarian, or sells meat but has some vegan items on its menu.

 I find myself veering towards vegan restaurants if I'm traveling solo, or with others that like vegan food. If not, then the veg-friendly option is super helpful! You can see what vegan options they have, and whether or not they're any good, from the reviews on HappyCow.

 Some of my favorite meals in my life have been from restaurants listed on this website, and I have yet to visit one country that doesn't have a listing on HappyCow. Try this out if you're new to being vegan while traveling. You won't be disappointed!

 

2. Go to the grocery store.

I find this the best piece of advice for my wallet, travel experience, and veganism. Why? Because grocery stores vary quite a bit depending upon where you are in the world. There is a wealth of information you can learn about a culture just by perusing the aisles of its grocery stores.

 If you're staying in a place with a kitchen, you can even pick up some food and cook, instead of eating out for every meal. I have saved who-knows-how-much money just from this travel hack alone. And, to top it all off, I've experienced grocery stores so different from mine at home. What a cool outing!

by Unsplash

by Unsplash

3. Be culturally sensitive—but stick to your guns.

There is a sometimes-heated argument about whether or not vegans should change for travel, in order to be culturally sensitive. I lean more towards no, because there are secretly vegan local dishes all around the world. Also, this is more of a personal choice, because I went vegan due to health issues. If I eat meat, I run the risk of becoming seriously ill. However, I still want to be respectful of my hosts when I travel. It can be difficult to balance!

 In my experience, it is best to be honest and forthcoming about your dietary restrictions, but not to compromise them. This is especially important for those of us with severe allergies, or stomach problems. At the end of the day, do what's best for you! If that means eating differently while traveling and adopting a vegan diet sometimes, then that's that. But, if you want to be vegan 100% of the time, it is doable while traveling, and you can do so without being disrespectful.

 This is another reason why HappyCow is so great! It helps you connect with vegans from the country you're visiting, because the overwhelming majority of the restaurants listed are locally-owned and operated. It's also a way to contribute to the local economy. I always like to take the opportunity to ask the staff their favorite places to see and things to do in the destination. Sounds like a win-win to me!

 

4. Try local cuisine made vegan.

Depending on your destination, there may be a plethora of vegan options available from cultures all around the world. I still like to try at least one meal, even if it's at a veg-friendly place, that is a local dish made vegan. I've found that some of my favorite meals are these!

 For example, I recently tried vegan haggis in Scotland. Haggis is a sheep dish that is very traditionally Scottish--I'd never heard of it before arriving to Edinburgh. A local veg-friendly restaurant had a vegan version of it, and I fell head-over-taste buds in love.

 Should you try that highly-rated Vietnamese fusion restaurant in Amsterdam? Absolutely! But, should you also try the vegan haggis in Scotland? Yes, yes, yes. Not only is it a culturally enriching experience, but it also appreciates and celebrates the uprising of the vegan community all around the world.

by Unsplash

by Unsplash

5. Engage with vegans from all around the world.

This also comes from trying local restaurants that are either all vegan, or have a few vegan options. Chat with the staff a little bit! Obviously, if they're busy, then they're busy. But, if not, then ask them about their hometown. I'm always happy to share off-the-beaten-path advice about my own hometown of Nashville, TN. Locals are a gold mine of information about places to see that you maybe never considered, and you can give advice based upon your own experiences in return.

 From using HappyCow and then traveling to different areas of the world, trying vegan restaurants, and chatting with the staff a bit, I have met so many incredible people. The owner of a vegan restaurant in Tokyo walked me through their whole menu, asked me about my experience as a vegan, and told me a little bit about day trips I should take. This was only my first night in the city, and I already had ideas for all the loose parts of my itinerary!

 There are vegan friends to be made all around the world. All it takes is for you to put yourself out there, and try something different.

 

There you have it, folks! I've learned so much about the world, myself, and my body as both a vegan, and a traveler. My experiences around the globe have been made so great by my interactions with the vegan community that can be found in every corner of the world. Veganism and travel have both brought me such balance and inner-peace. Vegan or not, I hope you find the same. Be well, and keep exploring!

 

 by Sarah from Sarah L. Travels

Sarah is a writer and blogger from Music City, USA with an intense case of the travel bug. On her blog, Sarah L. Travels, she writes about travel, veganism, and plain ole life. When she’s not writing, you can find her curled up with a good book or planning her next adventure.

 You can follow her & her adventures below:

Blog: https://www.sarahltravels.com/

 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sarahltravels/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sarahltravels/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahltravels/

 Twitter: https://twitter.com/sarahltravels 

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A Guide to Hawaiian Cuisine

Hawaii is a vibrant and fascinating location, with the same applying adjectives to the island’s culinary history, which has led to a melting pot of cuisines. In 300 AD the first islanders arrived, yet there was hardly any edible animals or plants in Hawaii at the time. It is believed that the voyages brought dogs, poultry, pigs and plants to eat. They taro they brought proved to be a success story, as they discovered it was suited to the island’s humid and wet conditions, which is why it became a stable.

But, this only scratches the surface of the melting pot. Captain Cook introduced seeds for pumpkins, melons and onions, as wells English pigs and goats. When the Chinese came to Hawaii around 1850 to work in the field they bought their stir fries and woks, which influenced the cuisine. Portuguese people then brought their love of malasadas, chilli peppers and pork. After this, the Japanese came to Hawaii, adding another touch of cultural culinary flair to Hawaiian cuisine and this is why it is known as a melting pot of cultures and influences. 


Traditional Hawaiian Dishes

•    Laulau – Laulau is made using taro leaves. Pork is wrapped in these leaves and then it is cooked in a hot rock oven underground for a number of hours until smoky flavoured and soft.

•    Poke – This is a raw seafood dish. Poke is essentially the Hawaiian version of Japanese sashimi. It is served in cubes and many different types of fresh saltwater fish are used, although tuna is the most common.

•    Poi – Thick paste that is made from taro root. This is a must-try when you travel to Hawaii. The root is either baked or steamed. It is then pounded and water is added to create the right consistency. 

•    Pineapple – If you are going to embrace Hawaiian cuisine you definitely need to incorporate fruit into your diet and the islands are famous for their pineapple, making it the ideal choice.  

Given that Hawaii is such a journey away, a lot of people tend to incorporate this trip with visiting other countries around there. It is not uncommon to visit Central America, for example, a lot of people incorporate Los Angeles into their trip. You could go a bit further afield and visit some culture-filled places in South America too. Where should I travel to in South America? There are lots of amazing options, including Peru and Lima. the best thing to do is align with a professional company who can organise all of this for you. After all, you may even want to do a worldwide tour and venture into Africa and Asia too!


So there you have it: a glimpse of the amazing Hawaiian cuisine! It’s reason enough to visit this part of the world.