1. Learn food phrases of the local language
Communication is the biggest struggle for vegan travelers. It can be quite tricky when traveling in a place with a high language barrier that has completely different food norms. The term "vegan" might be uncommon or widely unknown to waiters and street food hustlers. Before embarking on your journey, it's crucial to learn some basic local phrases such as "no milk" "no egg" "no butter" etc.
2. Ask for replacements
When ordering food, you might have a feeling about what menu options contain animal products, but some menu items might surprise you. Don't be shy to ask the restaurant or hotel staff about your food! How it's made, what's the ingredients, and ask for changes if needed. Substitute meat for veggies, butter for vegetable oil, hold the cheese, etc.
3. Google Maps is your friend
When traveling in smaller cities or remote areas with no vegan restaurants, your best bet may be Google Maps. You can read the restaurant's menu and when in doubt, type in keywords like "vegan," "vegetarian," or even "ve\ag" in the search bar of the reviews tab to help you find vegan options in non-veg restaurants.
4. Learn about the local food
You'll be surprised how many local foods happen to be vegan! Researching before you hit the road is essential. You don't want to miss out on delicious local vegan dishes like Gudeg in Indonesia, Bun Rieu in Vietnam, or Masala Dosa in South India.
5. Download Happycow
Happycow is an online service that serves as a sophisticated source for vegan travelers. It is the go-to app to find vegan restaurants and health food stores abroad. You can read reviews and find other information such as menus, locations, open hours, etc. that you may not find anywhere else. You can also add new vegan restaurants to the site to help your fellow vegan travelers. However, do not solely rely on Happycow, as there are likely some excellent vegan restaurants not yet listed on the site.
6. Get Creative - Cook your own meal
Picking up the spatula yourself is a great way to stick to your vegan diet while being able to try out your favorite recipes. The best option would be renting a condotel or an Airbnb with a kitchen. You're also saving a lot of money for your next vegan meal at one of the fancier restaurants you can't resist visiting.