Tips for a Vegan Vacation
By Carolyn Scott-Hamilton, Guest Contributor
Spring is here and that means summer is right around the corner. And with summer comes vacations, by air, sea and asphalt. Here are some tips to keep you green and healthy whether you’re vegan, suffer from food allergies or just want to stay slim and trim despite the callings of convenience foods and lack of time!
General Travel Tips for a Vegan Vacation
As vegans, the resources have become quite widespread when it comes to finding veggie friendly joints to eat virtually anywhere we are on the globe. But still there are certain countries and cities that can be quite difficult for us as well as those who follow gluten free diets, etc. Most of you may know about the VeganPassport which is quite good, however, I prefer the Select Wisely Cards. I like to wing it and see what the locals eat and challenge myself in finding a meal for me as well as my travel mates.
These cards come in almost every language and come in varieties that cover every special diet from vegan & diabetic to kosher to specific food allergies. And what’s great is, they slip into your wallet so you don’t have to tote around a book and flip through it to get what you need to say to your server. Get the cards for the languages of the countries you know you will be visiting and tuck them away in your wallet. Use as needed. And the translations are spot on so there is no confusion. They also have illustrations for added insurance that you will be getting what you need.
Here’s some more of my top tips:
- WATER!! That’s all I have to say – no matter the craft or when you get to your destination – drink water, always!
- Get your greens!! My favorite is by To Go Brands – GO Greens – 6 servings of veggies per packet. Mix 1 pack into and 8oz glass of water and you are set. Like I mentioned, some countries aren’t big veggie eaters and it is imperitve that we keep up our immune system and energy while we travel so I have 1 of these a day no matter where I go. Plus , you get your greens out of the way first thing so you can eat that freshly baked loaf of bread dipped in olive oil in Tuscany later without an ounce of guilt. Ok, maybe a little ; )
- Take walking or biking tours instead of bus or trolley tours whenever available. You also get a much better view of the places of interest as you can walk around, take your time as opposed to the “to your left is Big Ben” and the big headed guy in front of you blocks you till you’re over the bridge.
- Wear comfy and supportive walking shoes. I know for girls, we want to look cute but we won’t look so cute for hours later hunched over cause our lower back hurts and we have bleeding blisters. That will kill a romantic weekend in a sec. Opt for stylish walking sneakers that give you proper alignment and support. And bring comfy slippers for planes, trains and road trips so you can give your dogs a break ; )
- Always have snacks with you so you don’t run after the shaved ice and pretzel cart. Never leave home, hotel or hostel without some bars, nuts, powders like Vega or something to hold you over between meals
- Know before you go. Again, plan ahead. It will save you time, money and give you a better idea of how much time to spend where. If you know you will be spending the day biking in Tuscany, look up the eateries and menu’s online and if that isn’t available, as your concierge or hostel manager what place they recommend in the area. Be resourceful or make friends in the area. It’s also a good idea to plan before you even leave home so you can look forward to all the places you can eat like a king or queen and others where you need to bring your whole box of bars ; )
- Reserve hotels or rent flats with a kitchen. It will save you a ton of money as you won’t be dining out at every meal and you have control of what you’re eating. You can keep left over’s in a fridge, etc. Get to know your local markets and get fresh produce for snacks, nuts, bread and other accoutrment for quick and easy meal prep. You can also pack your lunches for the day so you don’t have to stop. Ok maybe for a treat every now and again but don’t over do it.
- If you are going somewhere that requires innoculations and meds like malaria, make sure you contact the consulate/embassy of the country you will be visiting. They will give you the most detailed information on what is necessary to be admitted into their country and they will also process visas there instead of having to do it when you arrive. You can avoid quite a bit of trouble and time loss doing here in the good ol’ US of A. Plus they can give you info on their country like food customs and phrases to help get you around easier.
- Pack a little first aid kit for any emergencies from band aids to pepto – you never know when and where you may fall ill and that’s the worst time to gamble with your well being.
- Try to keep to your routine as much as possible. Stay active, eat balanced, get rest, take your supplements, etc as much as you can. It will make it much easier when you get home to get back on track
- Make sure someone you trust has your itinerary and copies of all pertinent info like passports, credit cards, etc in the case that it is lost or stolen. There’s nothing like being stuck in a foreign country trying to get cash or prove your identity. Not cool!
- Lastly, leave your home clean and organized so when you get back to your sanctuary you can relax and get back to your non-vacation life without a hitch.
Photo: Shena Tschofen