How to Prepare for Veggie Travel
Greetings fellow veggies, vegans and the like. This may seem trifling to you carnivores but serious thought has to go into organising a veggie-friendly gap year if we are to avoid wedging our backpacks with Quorn and Linda McCartney sausages.
Planning your veggie adventure
The most essential thing to ponder is how fussy you are going to be. If you are a fruitarian, or are worried about meals being prepared by meat-tainted hands, then it might be better to stick to countries where they have a basic understanding of vegetarian requirements. If you’d rather not compromise your travels for the sake of your diet, then try cooking your own meals in hostel kitchens, or find ‘vegetarian/vegan only’ restaurants in the local area. Don’t forget to peel/cook any fresh fruit/veg depending on local health recommendations, no one likes getting ill on their travels.
Coping with language barriers
Make sure you can translate your needs into the local language (write down the unpronounceable). If you don’t find the vocab in your guidebook or online, find someone who can speak English and ask if they can help you. It is also important check something is veggie even if it looks safe on the menu.
Dealing with skeptics
Arm yourself with a good sense of humour and a lot of patience in order to get your message across. Meat is widely considered a status symbol, so be prepared to come across cultures who find the concept of vegetarianism a bit bizarre.
For when things get really tough, ensure you have a stock of diet-balancing essentials - protein bars, nuts, seeds, dried fruit etc - and keep a stash of vitamins and other dietary supplements handy. More likely than not, most popular backpacker destinations will cater for vegetarians, but it always helps to have backup supply of nibbles.