Is it Hard Travelling as a Vegan?

Is it Hard Travelling as a Vegan?

It’s a question I hear often. I have to admit, sometimes it is…

A lot of people think travelling as a vegan is impossible. Granted choosing a suitable restaurant while travelling can sometimes be harder and take more time to suss out.

The positive thing is that I can still be vegan in every country I go to and there’s always lots of tasty vegan goodies to eat! I just have to look a bit harder sometimes!

I have to do a bit more research on the local cuisine, and hope there’s some fantastic regional vegan dish! I look forward to this and every new destination offers something new.

I’ve tried to answer some basic questions that would-be vegan travellers might ask:

What are the issues that concern a vegan while travelling?

Will there be anything I can eat on the menu?

Unfortunately restaurants tend not to think about vegans when they write their menu. There are times when we’ve gone to a restaurant, looked at a menu and there was nothing vegan on the menu, not even plain rice! Everything was meat, fish, eggs or cheese!

This is rare thankfully and however simple it may be, there is usually something a restaurant will make for you. Remember they want your business!

South Indian Thali

Will the waiter understand my needs?

There’s one thing trying to communicate to a waiter that you are a vegan and what you can and can’t eat, but try explaining that to someone with poor English, who doesn’t understand what a vegan is!

Even harder is yourself trying to explain, in another language what a vegan is and what you can and can’t eat. It is important to stay calm, speak slowly and know a few words in the local language!

Will my food come out vegan?

Once you’ve ordered and hoped they’ve understood your vegan diet, there’s hoping the chef understands and has remembered your requirements. More times than I remember I’ve had to send back pasta and pizza because it came out covered in cheese!

South Indian Masala Dosa

Will there be vegan options in every country?

Yes of course! Every country has something to offer the vegan traveller, even if they don’t know it! Asking for a dish to be made without some key ingredient usually works out fine, as long as it’s freshly made.

There’s always something in every country that a vegan has to request to be left out- Meat / fish stock and meat/ fish oil in China and Vietnam. Fish sauce in Thailand. Milk and butter/ghee and paneer (cottage cheese) in India.

Before we went travelling, Mongolia was my most feared country for vegan food and the negative reviews online for vegans almost put me off going to the country.

I’m so glad it didn’t though, as there was tons of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the capital Ulaanbaatar! Our tour organisers also understood my vegan dietary requirements and I was served delicious, wholesome and healthy meals while travelling round the Mongolian countryside!


So all you would-be vegan travellers out there, don’t worry and go travelling, see the world as a vegan! It’s all a culinary adventure, go looking and go eat it!

Have you found it hard travelling as a vegan?

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6 Responses to Is it Hard Travelling as a Vegan?

  1. 30Traveler November 27, 2012 at 8:54 am #

    Nice to meet another vegan travel blogger. Thanks for commenting on my blog πŸ™‚ I do find vegan travel hard, but not impossible. Slow travel (e.g., renting apartments with kitchens) is much easier than fast travel as a vegan imo. I’m super fussy though e.g., I don’t really eat in non-veg restaurants.
    30Traveler recently posted…165 Days to Lift OffMy Profile

    • Eloise Rodgers November 27, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

      I agree it’s great to meet another vegan travel blogger! Thanks for commenting on my post too!:) We haven’t ever hired out an apartment while travelling, as we end up staying a while in a place without planning to do so. It is definitely a good idea though, especially for vegans or if you like cooking!

      I don’t like eating in non-veg restaurants either. If I avoided them though, I don’t think I’d ever eat out and unfortunately there’s no vegetarian restaurants where I live back home in England.

  2. Joy December 30, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    Good suggestions for China. I’ve lived there for 2 years but not as a vegan – YET. I find it to be impossible to get no animal products in sauces or broths. The Chinese don’t even have a word for vegans. It’s a concept they don’t understand. So I think it’ll be challenging but hopefully not impossible. Glad I found your blog!
    Joy recently posted…Eating to Live-Abroad!My Profile

    • Eloise Rodgers December 31, 2012 at 8:48 am #

      I’m glad you found our blog too Joy! China is a hard one, but we found some amazing vegetarian restaurants there, some of the best I’ve ever been to! It’s frustrating when you want to eat with the locals in the street, but you know nothing is vegan! Where do you live in China? Are you a vegetarian?

  3. GiselleandCody September 3, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    First of all it’s always great to come across other Vegan travellers!! We have not found it hard to be vegan while travelling. We went Vegan in Thailand, which is such a great place to go Vegan. There are so many options here and a lot of Vegan (Chinese Buddhist) restaurants. We tell people we are Jay (no meat, no milk, no egg, no vegetables with strong smell – garlic, all kinds of onions, chive, coriander, strong spices, tobacco) We tell them Garlic is ok but no animal products.

    Seeing your photo of Masala Dosa makes us want to head back to Southern India!!! πŸ™‚
    GiselleandCody recently posted…Thailand changed my life…Why I went VeganMy Profile

    • Eloise Rodgers September 8, 2013 at 2:53 am #

      Hi Giselle and Cody! I love to find other vegan travellers too, and I’m so glad to hear that you’ve not found it hard travelling as vegans! I agree, Thailand is a great place for vegans, especially Chiang Mai. I lived in the local Buddhist vegetarian restaurants, perfect for us vegans wanting to eat typical Thai food at cheap prices.

      I miss India’s Masala Dosas too, they were incredible! πŸ™‚

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