Sticking to Your Ethics
- Avoid animal-focused tourist attractions. As you look for activities to enjoy while traveling, be mindful that there are many wildlife tourist attractions which might sound great for an animal-lover, but they’re really just another form of cruel exploitation of animals.
- Turning down without the down. The next time you book/check-in to a hotel, request the synthetic pillows instead of the down feather pillows. Hopefully it won’t be long before the demand for down is so low that this cruel practice will be obsolete.
Eating While Traveling
- Pack your own snacks—protein bars, fresh/dried fruit, nuts, etc.—for your travels. It’s your emergency supply. Try to then also locate markets and grocery stores where you’ll be traveling to stock up once you arrive, or to fall back on if you can’t find restaurants. Fortunately, markets like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have all but taken over the United States, so you might find one where you are traveling.
- Plan your meals. Visit Happy Cow and Vegan Restaurant Finder to plan some meals before your trip. Also try searching “Vegan restaurants in ____ City” on Google or Yelp. After your own search, use the power of social media before your trip to crowdsource additional suggestions.
- Be familiar with vegan menu items at chain fast food restaurants. While sampling the local fare is probably preferable, if ever in a pinch, it’s reassuring to know there are vegan options at Tacobell, Subway, Chipotle/Q’doba/Moe’s, and so forth.
- Find the crunchiest coffee shop and ask the barista. This is a lesson learned from stumbling onto a coffee shop, noticing the server with the vegan ‘V’ tattoo, and starting a conversation—which led to great suggestions. Similarly, if you find just one vegan place, they can surely point you in the direction of other restaurants.
- If you’re at a hotel, the concierge might be able to help. Start asking for “vegetarian,” as not many people actually know what ‘vegan’ means to someone who is a strict vegan.
- If you’re traveling out of the country, be sure to learn key dietary/menu terms. Instead of vegan, say “no dairy/meat/eggs/etc.” You might want to learn the translation for “allergy” to convey the significance. Do some research, too. In certain countries (like Romania), you can ask for the “Lent menu” (which, in some places, might be offered year round by request).
- Finally, if no 100% vegan restaurants show up, rest assured knowing that you will typically have no trouble at all finding something vegan at restaurants that offer Mexican, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Mediterranean…just about any cuisine other than standard American fare.