Traveling When Following a Vegetarian Diet


Cate Didenko

Vegetarian Crepe in Paris

Traveling is something that people love to do. It gives people the opportunity to explore the world outside of their own homes and have new experiences. However, traveling can be tough when you have dietary restrictions, specifically a vegetarian or vegan diet. At times, it can feel difficult and discouraging, but there are so many ways to work around that. Traveling while being vegetarian can be easy.

There are many ways in which you can make traveling easier as a vegetarian. One tip is always to have a backup, such as snacks or groceries. Having a backup makes you feel more at ease, and it’s important that you look out for yourself. If possible, stay in an Airbnb which has a kitchen to make your own food. When eating out, take advantage of apps such as Happy Cow and Four Square to research local vegetarian establishments. These apps can help you find vegetarian restaurants or vegetarian options at a restaurant. However, vegetarian options can vary by country. Pennridge High School senior and vegan, Robin Reid discussed her experience, stating, “When I travel to England and stay in the countryside, I do have to put in more work to make sure I make the right choice.” Reid travels to England regularly to visit family. Something else to consider is if you find a great restaurant with many vegetarian options, be willing to eat there multiple times!

Many people value local cuisine as an important factor when traveling to a new country. Trying a new food allows you to step outside of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in the culture. Nicole Didenko, a former vegan and avid traveler, explains how she balances local cuisine with dietary restrictions. “I think it is difficult because a lot of countries’ classic dishes are not vegan. I would still try to enjoy as many local food options as possible but perhaps pack vegan options from home (protein bars, etc.) to have as backup on some days if options are too limited.” Something else to remember is to always politely ask if the restaurant could make it vegetarian or vegan. When you politely ask, restaurants may be willing to accommodate you more than if you ask rudely.
One barrier to traveling with a dietary restriction is communication. Language barriers can prevent travelers from truly knowing whether the dish they are ordering is safe for them to eat. When traveling to a non-English speaking country, it is important to know the words for “vegetarian” or “no meat” in the native language. It’s also important to continuously ask questions. However, when traveling, it is important to remain confident, express concern, and say no when necessary. As the world is changing, many find it easier to have diet-friendly options. Didenko elaborated on this, stating, “ Fortunately, I have noticed a shift recently to much more vegan restaurants and options, as a response to demand. Even with foods that you would not typically think of as vegan, restaurants have adopted vegan twists to classic favorites.”

One solution may be to combine your passion for travel with a vegetarian-friendly country. Many countries have meatless diets already incorporated into their traditional customs. Countries such as Israel, The Netherlands, India, and Thailand have a large percentage of vegetarian people. Not only does this allow you to experience local cuisine in a safe and welcoming environment, but it also may inspire you to take back home some new and unique recipes. Researching cultures and countries is so important when traveling with dietary restrictions. Reid explained, “I think that research can be your best friend. I know that the switch was a lot easier because I was able to research menus for restaurants and make sure there’s something for my diet.” Research is key when you are traveling.

While you may find traveling as a vegetarian frustrating, there are many benefits to consider as well. Vegetarian/Vegan travelers often express improved energy levels and decreased fatigue, due to more frequently avoiding highly processed and fatty foods. There is also a decreased risk of food poisoning because meat and eggs are products that typically experience contamination. Most importantly, you are subscribing to more sustainable travel and reducing your carbon footprint. This contributes to a greater change and allows more generations to explore and experience our beautiful world!

“The Benefits of a Vegan Diet for Travel (Backed by Science).” The Vegan Travel Guide, 18 January 2023, Accessed 22 May 2023.
Quelch, Jase. “What it’s like Traveling as a Vegan: Benefits & Frustrations of Vegan Travel.” Roaming Vegans, 4 August 2020, Accessed 22 May 2023.
“24 Tips for Traveling as a Vegetarian (And Vegan).” Half Half Travel, Accessed 22 May 2023.
“The Ultimate Guide to Travelling as a Vegetarian.” Hostelworld, 28 June 2016, Accessed 22 May 2023.