#9. Tips for Being Vegan on Holiday!
"On an island in the sun, we'll be playing and having fun... and it makes me feel so fine I can't control my brain" - Weezer, Island in the Sun.
There's nothing more exciting than thinking about all the places you want to visit and then booking your holiday! The sun, sea, good wine and of course the food! Now... being vegan might make you a little worried about what you might eat whilst you're on your jollies and that's a fair point. Depending on where you choose to travel the local cuisine might not be full of vegan delights and of course you don't want to be stuck eating chips all week. It's a novelty at first but it gets boring quickly.
I've been to three countries since being vegan; Portugal, Ireland and Berlin. The latter being a vegan paradise. We all know that Portugal is famous for seafood and piri piri, and Ireland of course, is famous for hearty meat stews and casseroles. Not exactly the vegan paradise you might be expecting. Does that mean you can't visit these countries anymore? Hell no!
These are some of the tips I have if you're going on holiday:
- First things first ... check HappyCow! This app is a total lifesaver and you can search for food spots using a location or a postal/zip code (it's also great for finding new eateries in the UK!) If you have Wi-Fi you can search for options nearby which will include vegan, vegetarian, veg options and health food stores. Need I say more? It's an absolute must have for your mobile phone! When you find a seriously good vegan spot on your hols you'll be there more than once I can assure you!
- I've found that social media can also be a great place to search for some tasty grub using hashtags. I usually type #vegan and then the place. For example #veganlagos or #veganennis and see what pops up! You could use social media to ask where other vegans recommend going using Twitter, Facebook groups or Instagram... or you could search good old TripAdvisor.
- Take some grub with you on the plane for the journey. You could either make your own or take something with you but most airports or train stations should be able to offer vegan options. There's usually a Pret a Manger, Starbucks or Bagel Factory hanging around and you can easily grab a butty or salad and a hot brew to get you on your way.
- Whether you're staying in a hotel, Airbnb or in self-catering don't worry. You've got this! Hotel breakfasts can be a little bit boring over the course of a week depending where you are but there will be fruit, toast and every vegan's saviour... the baked bean. A plate of beans on toast will definitely set you up for the day! In other places like Airbnb or self-catering apartments where you're looking after yourselves you can make whatever you want. Find your nearest supermarket and grab a load of bread or pittas, fruit juices, fruit, hummus, veggies and plant based milks etc. They might have soya based yoghurts, spreads and ice creams too (look out for the Sojade brand). If you use your HappyCow app and find a health store you'll be able to get lots of meat replacement products, pate and cheeses for picnics on the beach.
- If you're in the UK or Ireland make sure you keep a tote bag handy (you could do this abroad but it might spoil if it's too hot). You can carry your favourite plant based milk or butter alternative so you don't get stuck in a coffee shop or at a hotel breakfast. In Ireland, I actually had a tub of hummus in my bag! I know it sounds ridiculous, but there really weren't many vegetarian options in Ireland, let alone vegan choices! So to go to a café for lunch meant I could pimp up my roasted veg butties or paninis!
- Going to a notoriously meaty or fishy restaurant with friends or family? Get the chef to make you a big salad with all the veggies and some chips on the side. It won't be the best meal you'll eat but at least you're not feeling left out with nothing to eat. The language barrier might be an issue so it can be useful to translate some words before you go just in case. Learning words like Honey, Milk and Eggs is useful.
- If all that seems like too much trouble, there are some holiday destinations that are becoming quite popular for vegans. Looking to go abroad for some sun? Try Majorca or Malta. Wanting a European city break? Then head to Berlin, Amsterdam or Barcelona. Or, if you're wanting to go further afield then set your sights on Bali, India, New York or California! The world is your vegan oyster so don't be put off. A bit of preparation before you go means you can relax and soak up the rays.
If you have any other tips I'd love to hear them so please feel free to comment down below! Look out for my Berlin blog soon :)