Strategies for Navigating the World as a Vegetarian or Vegan​

Vegan and vegetarian food

Navigating the world as a vegetarian or vegan can be challenging, but with the right strategies and mindset, it can also be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. By being informed, prepared, and confident in your choices, you can successfully stick to your dietary preferences and values, while still enjoying a variety of delicious and nutritious foods. By prioritizing your health, ethics, and environmental sustainability, you are not only making a positive impact on your own life but also on the world around you. 


Eating plant-based food is becoming more popular around the world, but navigating the world as a vegetarian or vegan can be a challenge. It can be difficult to find plant-based meals, ingredients, and traveling companions that share your values. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. With a bit of creativity, planning, and persistence, you can travel not just as a vegetarian or vegan but in a way that brings joy and satisfaction. In this guide, we’ll show you how to navigate the world as a vegetarian or vegan—by strengthening your fellow omnivores’ understanding of plant-based diets through educational conversations about their nutritional importance, by finding vegetarian/vegan-friendly restaurants in different cities around the world, and by learning how to cook tasty vegan meals regardless of where you are.

Smart Packing Strategies for Vegetarians/Vegans

For vegetarian and vegan travelers, packing for trips can be a tricky endeavor. Packing the right foods is essential for maintaining an on-the-go vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, but it doesn’t need to be difficult. Here are some tips for smart packing when traveling as a vegetarian/vegan:

  • Bring Plenty of Snacks: One staple of any good travel arsenal is snacks. Snacks are essential to staying satiated during your travels, and they can be anything from trail mix to nuts, seeds, and jerky. While there are many store-bought veggie and vegan snacks available, it’s also possible to make your own by combining grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and some dried fruits in small zipper bags that won’t take up too much room in your suitcase.
  • Utilize Protein Powders: Protein powders are great for getting a big protein and nutritional punch without having to take up much room in your bag. You can get single-serving sizes that you can easily store in airtight containers or bags when you’re traveling.
  • Invest in a Food Dehydrator: This is a great way to bring foods you already know you enjoy wherever you go. Dehydrated vegetable chips or fruit leathers can make for wonderful snack alternatives and add variety to your snacking routine while on the road.

Smart Travel Experiences for Vegetarians/Vegans

Traveling as a vegetarian or vegan requires planning and being mindful of the specific needs of the individual traveler. Fortunately, with a few smart strategies, making sustainable, healthy eating choices while traveling is possible.

  • For starters, it’s important to research potential destinations and understand their culinary culture. For example, countries with a diverse range of cultures—such as India, Spain, and Thailand—may offer more interesting vegetarian dishes than more homogeneous countries.
  • Once you know where you’re headed, locate vegetarian/vegan restaurants in advance to ensure there are options available when you get there. Booking accommodations that include a kitchenette or self-catering provisions can also be beneficial if cooking for yourself is an option.

If you are staying in one place for a while, utilize local markets to source fresh ingredients. This will give you an insight into the cultural cuisine while also helping to support the local economy. Finally, packing snacks from home can help when traveling long distances or staying in places without easy access to healthy food.

Getting to know the Local Cuisine

Vegetarian/vegan travelers can enjoy getting to know the local cuisine of various countries without having to worry about limiting their options. They can take advantage of the unique flavors and spices available in each cuisine, as well as the health benefits that come with eating fresh, local produce. While it may be intimidating to embark on a culinary journey yet unknown, there are a few strategies you can employ to narrow down your choices:

  1. Use Online Resources: With the internet at our fingertips, it has never been easier to research recipes and vegan eating options ahead of time. Through apps like HappyCow, locals and travelers alike can recommend vegan-friendly locations nearby.
  2. Get Creative: If you’re feeling adventurous, try incorporating traditional local ingredients into your favorite vegan dishes for an even richer culinary experience. You may be surprised by what flavors you can come up with. 
  3. Sample Street Food: Street food is a great way to try out all sorts of vegan-friendly treats, from stuffed dumplings in China to grilled corn in Mexico. However, take special precautions when preparing and eating street food as it may not always be hygienic or healthy depending on where you are located.

With these tips in mind, vegetarian/vegan travelers can embark on delicious journeys to explore exciting new destinations while staying true to their dietary principles. 

Finding Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurants around the World

Navigating the world as a vegetarian or vegan can seem daunting, but it does not have to be. With the right research and preparation, you can find delicious vegetarian and vegan restaurants around the world.

  • Research Online- The internet is your friend. Research online to find local veg-friendly eateries in whatever city or country you are visiting. Look for online reviews to ensure that the restaurant is up to your standards. Many cities even have  veg-friendly guidebooks and maps highlighting vegetarian/vegan-friendly establishments.
  • Ask Around- Talk to residents once you arrive in a new place. Locals are usually able to give great recommendations on where to eat and what dishes are vegan/vegetarian friendly. You will also be able to get an insider’s perspective on the ingredients that restaurants might use, helping you make sure your food choices meet your dietary needs and restrictions.
  • Modify Dishes- If you cannot find a restaurant that caters specifically to vegetarians and vegans, many restaurants around the world offer options for adjusting popular dishes for dietary needs. In most cases, it is as easy as asking for dishes without meat or dairy products added. 

What You’ll Need?

When planning for self-cooked meals, it helps to make a list of the necessary items you’ll need:

  1. A pot
  2. Utensils- spoons, forks, etc.
  3. Basic ingredients such as rice and vegetables
  4. Optional protein sources like nuts, beans, etc. are available if desired.
  5. A source of heat like a stovetop burner or an electric kettle
  6. Optional condiments: spices, sauces, etc., if desired
  7. Food storage containers (can help you keep track of what you’ve prepared)
  8. A cooler/insulated bag (if traveling by car or boat) to keep food cold
  9. An ice pack (if flying) for keeping food cool during transit

These items will ensure that you can create a variety of vegetarian/ vegan meals wherever you go – just don’t forget the recipes. 

How to Stay Healthy while Traveling as a Vegetarian/Vegan?

With a little bit of preparation, it is possible to stay healthy and energized on your travels as a vegetarian or vegan. Here are some tips for eating well and maintaining your health:

  • Bring Healthy Snacks- Eating out can be an expensive and complicated situation for vegetarians and vegans, so it’s a good idea to bring along some healthy snacks to keep you fueled during the day. Nuts, dried fruit, protein bars, and energy balls are all great options.
  • Check your Vitamins- Make sure that you have all of the necessary vitamins that you need while traveling, particularly if you don’t have access to a range of nutrient-rich meals. Taking an iron supplement is recommended for vegans who are prone to anemia due to their dietary decisions.
  • Stay Hydrated- Your body needs water to stay healthy, so make sure you’re carrying a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go. This will also help keep your energy levels up during long days filled with sightseeing. Make sure to check the safety of tap water in each new city before drinking it – bottled water is always safest. 

By following these easy tips, you will be able to stay healthy and satisfied while traveling as a vegetarian or vegan. 

Keeping Connected and Informed as a Vegetarian/Vegan on the Road

Navigating as a vegetarian or vegan can be tricky when you’re traveling, but there are more and more resources available to make the process easier.

  1. Apps- Apps such as HappyCow are great for finding vegan- and vegetarian restaurants traveling in a new place. Users can review restaurants, browse menus, and mark their favorites, making it easier to find vegan and vegetarian-friendly eating spots while abroad. Other apps like Vegans Paradise can provide you with recipes if you’re looking to cook your food (or trying to replicate a meal you had abroad).
  2. Websites- Online resources like vegguide.org can be great for finding out about local food options and cultural cuisine around the world. You can also look for vegan-friendly tour companies that cater specifically to vegetarians and vegans, like Vegan Travel Adventures or Responsible Travel, both of which offer tours globally.

These resources help keep travelers informed so they can better prepare for their next meal, no matter where in the world they are.

Tips for Eating Out as a Vegetarian/Vegan

Traveling as a vegetarian/vegan can be tricky, as some restaurants may not have vegetarian/vegan options. However, with a little bit of preparation and creativity, you can make sure that you’re able to find food to meet your dietary needs.

  • Research Ahead- Make sure that you research the area in advance and find out if there are any reliable vegetarian or vegan-friendly restaurants. This will save you time and energy when you arrive at your destination so that you don’t have to worry about going hungry or searching for hours for something suitable.
  • Speak Up- Don’t be afraid to let waitstaff know your dietary requirements ahead of time. Most restaurants will be happy to accommodate any dietary needs if they are notified in advance. They may even recommend dishes on the menu that can easily be adapted for vegetarian/vegan diners.
  • Get Creative- Don’t forget to think outside the box when it comes to eating out as a vegan/vegetarian. There may be dishes on the menu that can be modified with extra veggies or sauces or dishes from other cuisines that are already suitable for vegans/vegetarians. With a little bit of creativity, you can usually find something delicious and satisfying.

Ensuring that your dietary choices are followed and that you receive the nourishment you require wherever you go might be challenging when you are a vegetarian or vegan, but it is achievable. When you go, do some research on the area you’ll be visiting, pack some specialized food alternatives, and have a backup plan in case there aren’t any vegetarian or vegan-friendly restaurants there. You may ensure that you can enjoy your trips and maintain your vegetarian or vegan lifestyle by paying attention to the advice and incorporating it into your vacation arrangements.