How to Eat Around the World on a Vegan Diet

Wendy Dessler
Jul 23, 2023

For the most part, eating in foreign countries as a vegan depends on your preparation and destination. When you say that you are vegan or vegetarian in Western Europe and North America, most people will understand what you mean. Moreover, most European cities are great vegan hubs that you should make sure you visit at least once.

The trouble comes when you visit a place with a high language barrier and vastly different food cultures. In some parts of the world, being a vegan might not be understood or could be uncommon. In such countries, finding food might be hard. If you do not do your own research, you might find yourself in very awkward situations.

Good Tools and Resources for Planning Vegan Travel

You can use online websites such as Happy Cow to find some nice restaurants in Orange County, for example. You will find menu information, locations, and read reviews. You can also use Couchsurfing to message local vegans directly and ask for their suggestions.

Not only can you ask about good vegan restaurants abroad but you can also find out about the best local grocery stores.

Photo credit: Vegan Liftz

How to Communicate Your Needs When There is a Language Barrier

You can still let people know what you want even if there is a language barrier preventing you from communicating effectively.

Here are some tips:

Write it down – you should write down a few phrases in your notebook when you are in a foreign restaurant. For instance, writing down ‘I do not eat meat’ is a great way to let the locals know what you do not want on your plate. Find out how to write these phrases in the local language and you will be good to go.

The Vegan passport this small book has many vegan phrases that will come in handy in your travels. You will find copies of it in 80 different languages for every country that you will visit. The book costs ten dollars but it will save you a lot of trouble.

Use Google Translate – this is a good option if you are in a place with internet access. To be on the safe side, you should consider downloading the languages you need while at home for convenient offline use. You can use the application to take pictures of the menu and translate it to English.

Best Places to Travel as a Vegan

A few of my favorite cities for vegan food are Berlin, Austin, NYC, and Toronto. You will have some of the best vegan foods in your life in those places. In countries with a high number of vegans and vegetarians such as Sweden and Germany, you will find restaurants and groceries much easier.

How to Survive in Countries with Few Vegan Options

When you know that you are traveling to a country with few vegan options, you should plan ahead. Make sure that you pack a trail mix as well as some granola bars to keep yourself from starving. Traveling as a vegan might mean that your meals will not always be exciting.

When you make your diet a priority, you might end up feeling disappointed because some meals can be very bland. For this reason, you should focus on your trip instead of worrying too much about where the next meal will come from.

Couch Surfing Tips for Vegans

If your primary accommodation will be through couchsurfing, you should do the following:

Add information and photos to your profile – you should be detailed about yourself if you want people to get a sense of your personality. Make sure that you share your favorite books and movies to give your host a sense of who you are.

Get references- the backbone of couch surfing are references. You might never find a host if you do not have any references. Make sure that you ask your friends and colleagues to vouch for you to increase your odds of finding a host.

Get verified – you should pay a small fee to get your phone number and address verified. If necessary, you might have to send a copy of your passport. This shows people that you are an actual person not a bot.

Thank you Wendy! We hope these tips will be helpful for all our vegan and vegetarian travelling friends! And if you're not vegan or vegetarian, why not consider trying a vegan or vege diet on your next trip? This could be a great way to reduce your environmental impact while you travel! In many cases, we've also found that vegan restaurants already have a lot of GOOD practices in place too, particularly in terms of environmental GOOD. Be sure to ask about the social and economic practices too.

Any additional tips to add? Please share them in the comments below!

July 23, 2023
5 min read