Vegetarian and Vegan Backpacking In Europe
Reading every label and scrutinizing each ingredient prior to any consumption of foods is already difficult enough in everyday life. But when you throw in traveling to foreign countries where no one understands your language or dietary restrictions, it can really turn what should be an epic adventure into a panic-inducing catastrophe. Well we’ve done all the studying and scrutinizing, so check out these vegan friendly ingredients for eating well on the road.
Bring food with you
Traveling tends to take us down unexpected paths, with detours and obstacles aplenty. It’s always a smart idea to pack some healthy snacks and/or quick meals so you’ll be prepared no matter where your journey takes you. Think fruits, granola bars, nuts, breads, etc.
Go to supermarket and cook your own meals
Cooking your own food with ingredients you’ve hand selected is always the best option, though understandably not always feasible. When you can, try finding accommodations with cooking facilities you can access. It’s typically easy as most hostels throughout Europe include access to their kitchen and cooking utensils. Even without a kitchen, you can buy foods that can be eaten raw or cold, such as fruits, veggies, sandwiches, and pastries.
Use Google Translate to help communicate dietary restrictions
Google Translate is a highly valuable tool when trying to communicate in another language. Make sure you download the language(s) you’ll need beforehand so you can use the tool even when offline. However, keep in mind that vegetarian and vegan aren’t always easily translated or understood in every country. Instead of saying you’re vegetarian, it may be more effective to communicate that you can’t eat meat/dairy/fish, etc.
Another great resource we’ve discovered is happycow.net. It’s a treasure trove of information for vegans and vegetarians. Its main function is to connect you with restaurants and stores that are vegan friendly, but you can also find accommodation, recipes, and helpful articles. It’s an ever-growing resource, so it may not capture every restaurant and store out there, but it’s certainly a great tool that continues to improve with each day.
Join online communities to meet other vegan/veg in the area
Thanks to the world wide webs, connecting with people from around the world has never been easier. So why not utilize that easy access to make our lives a little easier, right?! The amount of online communities out there are limitless, but there are a couple of our favorites that we’ve found to be the most helpful. Couchsurfing.com is primarily a site to find free accommodation, but it’s also about making meaningful connections with fellow travelers. With a vast community of travelers and locals of varying interests and lifestyles, this means finding others who are also vegan or vegetarian will come at no challenge at all. You can join vegan groups in the areas you’re travelling to or even find locals that are vegan/vegetarian. Try sending a message to a local to find out what options there are, you’ll generally find them happy to help. Another great site is vegtravelbuddies.com. Here you can find a travel buddy or connect with a local with similar lifestyles. It’s recognizably difficult to find fellow vegans and vegetarians on the road and this site hopes to help remedy that. Whether it’s the camaraderie or insider info, connecting with fellow veggos makes it heaps easier while traveling foreign lands. These connections have the potential of being the most valuable resource of them all.
“Don’t avoid places just because it’s known for being hard to eat vegan there. Every town everywhere has at least one supermarket where you can surely find heaps of veg friendly options.” – Alysha, 22, Seasonal Volunteer