7 Travel Tips for Non-Meat Eaters
Travel is one of the best things you can spend your money on, as these new adventures lead to memories and experiences that are well worth the investment.
Whether you're traveling to a tropical destination or a foreign city escape, it's hard to argue that one of the best parts of the whole thing is the food that you'll eat while you're there. From local delicacies to trendy restaurants that are popular in your destination city, there's always something to be said about what you ate during your trip. But while this is oftentimes one of the highlights of traveling, things become a bit harder for anyone who doesn't eat meat.
If you're a non-meat eater yourself, you may face certain challenges when traveling that your omnivorous companions do not. It doesn't need to be too difficult, though—at least not with the following tips in mind.
1. Do Your Research
Some cities and even countries are more vegetarian/plant-based friendly than others, so knowing what you're getting into before you go can help you navigate your options (and could even help you choose your destination in the first place). Learn more about things like what local cuisines are popular, how many vegan/vegetarian restaurants there are and even how easy it is to eat as a non-meat eater in that city.
2. Pack Snacks
Avoid getting hangry and choosing a last-minute restaurant that doesn't have a lot of options for you to choose from by keeping snacks on you while you're out and about. Even if you don't end up needing them, they can make for a cheap breakfast on the go and you can always bring them back with you to eat when you're back home after your trip.
Also read about: 'Veganuary' May Be Over, But Plant-Based Food Is Here to Stay
3. Pick Your Airplane Meal for Long-Haul Flights in Advance
In most cases, you'll have a meal included on your flight if you're flying internationally (especially to somewhere like Europe). The meal will vary depending on the airline, and often even on the destination, but you might face some limited options if you forget to select your meal preference/dietary restrictions in advance. In fact, many flights will give you only two choices if you don't specify your diet before you check-in, and these are usually along the lines of "chicken or pasta." While the pasta option is sometimes vegetarian, you're much better off booking a plant-based meal beforehand (this can usually be done either when you select your seats if applicable or anytime earlier than 24 hours in advance, but you can always check your booking reference).
4. Understand Ingredients
Avoid accidentally consuming something that has meat-based products in it by knowing more about what might be in certain dishes and their ingredients. For example, you might not know that McDonald's French fries are not considered vegetarian in the U.S. because they include an added beef flavoring (they are vegan in most other countries, though). Other products like parmesan cheese can contain animal rennet, and sometimes foods are cooked or fried in the same pan or oil as meat products.
5. Ask About Dishes When Needed
Many restaurants will include symbols next to dishes on the menu that are vegan, plant-based or vegetarian. When traveling to some places, though—especially in some foreign countries—you might not be as likely to find this. When in doubt, you can always ask your server if the dish you're looking at contains meat/is vegetarian. It doesn't hurt to ask, and they may be able to point out items that are safe for you to eat whether they're on the official menu or not.
6. Make Sure the People You're Traveling With Know You Don't Eat Meat
If you're with a group of some kind, make sure they know (in a non-annoying way, of course) that you don't eat meat. This can help you to avoid an awkward situation where you can't eat anything at the restaurant that they choose, or seem overly "picky" for making tons of modifications (which you can't make at some restaurants or even in some countries).
Also read about: 6 Foods to Know About If You Want to Start Eating Less Meat
7. Be Willing to Branch Out
If you're both a picky eater and a non-meat eater, you're going to face some major difficulties finding good food when traveling. It's good to branch out and try new things so long as you know they don't contain meat, so try to go out of your comfort zone and see what dishes might just surprise you.
When in doubt, fast food may come in handy when you're traveling, too—so long as you know what options are safe, that is. Click HERE to check out our list of what to order at popular fast-food restaurants if you don't eat meat.