Off the Beaten Path—A Guide to Vegan Backpacking
Setting out for a round-the-world backpacking trip? Hitting the open road with a map and your hiking boots? There are a lot of people who think that backpacking, or even traveling, as a vegan is impossible. But with the growing number of vegan websites, restaurants, and resources, it’s becoming easier and easier for people to find information about traveling to places such as Tokyo, Sydney, Bangkok, and Shanghai as a vegan. What about places off the beaten path? What about places you can’t find in a guidebook and for which HappyCow.net doesn’t offer any listings?
There’s no need to panic, and you also don’t have to pack a pantry in your backpack. You just have to learn what to look for and how to ask the right questions.
For a vegan, often the most important part of traveling is learning at least a few words of the language spoken at your destination. In order to eat the way you want to, you’re probably going to have to communicate effectively. Learn how to say things such as “I’m a vegetarian” (because in many languages, there is no word for “vegan”), “no milk,” “no eggs,” “no animal fat,” etc. It really can be as easy as that. Telling people what you can and cannot eat is essential while you travel. If you can’t get your point across in speech, be sure to search the Internet and print your list of food requirements to be able to show people what you eat. You can also purchase the Vegan Passport, a small book that will fit in your pocket and that describes what vegans can and can’t eat in just about every language!
Even if HappyCow.net doesn’t have a listing for a place, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t vegetarian restaurants there or other places where you can get vegetarian food. Make inquiries at your hotel or hostel and ask people on the streets—and don’t forget to check posted menus, too.
Fruit will be your best friend while backpacking. It’s almost always easy to find at a local market or to obtain from a vendor on the side of the road. Fruit is also the ultimate refreshment at the end of a long hike.
Even though you are almost certain to be able to find vegan food while you’re traveling, always pack some instant noodles, energy bars, and other emergency food in your backpack. If you’re out in the middle of nowhere and worried about a varied diet, bring your vegan vitamins with you to ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need.
Now that you have the basics, go out and see the world. Find new places, new people, and new vegan food. The world is waiting!
Posted by Edwina Baier