It is difficult enough to be a vegetarian or vegan at home when you control your own refrigerator, but when you’re on the road, faced with menu after menu of exotic eats and tempting treats, it can be easy to fall prey to animal-filled meals.
Equally as challenging, though not nearly as known, is the immense effort it takes to accompany a veg-head during vacation. Carnivores can indulge in foreign foods virtually anywhere, but vegans and vegetarians are much more scrupulous in choosing their establishments. At best, traveling with a plant-eater is a test of patience — at worst it’s an end to a relationship. If you delight in eating animals, but you plan to travel with someone who doesn’t, learn more about what you both can do to make your vacation satisfying for everyone.
1. Budget, Budget, Budget
While logically meat should be more expensive — it cost significantly more to raise and care for a single animal than a whole field of plants — in most foreign countries, meat-based dishes are easier to find, which means they are much more economical in terms of nutrients and calories. As all savvy travelers know, the less you spend, the more you can do; unfortunately, despite your gustatory flexibility, your vegetarian travel partner is severely restricted, and restaurants and eateries will charge a premium for their unique and sought-after services.
This means you must plan ahead with a carefully constructed budget that allows for costly veg-friendly foods.
You may have to scrimp in other areas — purchase cheaper tickets from Cheapair.com or Flights.com, for example — but healthy and equal dining is well worth it. An excellent way to save money and experience life like a local is to shop for foods at supermarkets or grocery stores instead of buying premade meals at restaurants. Ingredients in a market are going to cost appreciably less than a fully cooked dish, and you will be able to satisfy your drastically different eating styles perfectly.
2. Follow the Fork
It can be disheartening to travel to a new place with a unique culture and miss out on sampling the native cuisine because of your partner’s dietary restrictions. After a while, this will only lead to frustration and resentment between the two of you. To limit this experience, you and your partner should research cultures that place an emphasis on meat-free dining and aim for those locations. Here are some of the better countries to explore when you are looking for veg-friendly adventures:
Hinduism preaches against consuming meat, and as a vast majority of Indians are Hindu, most meals in India are meat-free. In fact, vegans might find India a paradise; except some dishes that call for ghee (clarified butter), Indian cuisine is almost entirely without animal products whatsoever.
For a country best known for jerk-flavored meats, this island nation has a surprisingly high concentration of Rastafarians, who believe that spiritual growth cannot be obtained while consuming animal products. Carnivores and herbivores alike flock to Jamaica to indulge in the spicy, tropical flavors of Rasta cuisine.
Judaism has myriad rules regarding food preparation and consumption, and many of them complement the vegan or vegetarian dietary choices. Completely kosher eateries must decide whether to serve meat or dairy, because the two absolutely cannot intermingle, so it is easy to find meals that satisfy dietary restrictions. Perhaps it is no surprise that droves of Israelis are electing to become vegetarians simply to avoid the complex rules of keeping kosher.
Germany is a bustling modern and forward-thinking country, looking to embrace any progressive lifestyle. Thus, even though its population has a lower percentage of vegans and vegetarians that surrounding European countries, Germany has more veg-friendly eateries, especially in metropolitan areas like Berlin and Munich.
3. Practice Patience
While these other tips will help mitigate any conflict in your travels, more than anything else you’ll need an abundance of patience to see the world with a vegetarian or vegan. No matter where you travel, you will encounter situations where your meat-eating heart will yearn for dishes in restaurants that cannot cater to your veg-only friend. In these circumstances, you should never pressure your travel partner to abandon his or her beliefs or dietary needs for your own convenience or gain. Instead, try to find a compromise that suits both of your tastes.