Navigating Vegan Restaurants and Destinations Abroad

Author profile picture
Samuel Anthony
Aug 1, 2023
The interior of a plant-filled vegan restaurant abroad

In recent years, veganism has surged as more people embrace a compassionate and environmentally conscious lifestyle. 

While following a plant-based diet may seem manageable in familiar surroundings, maintaining veganism during travel can present unique challenges. 

As passionate advocates of the vegan lifestyle, you must navigate the uncharted territories of restaurants and destinations abroad, ensuring that your ethical choices are not compromised.

Whether planning a culinary adventure, an exotic vacation, or a business trip to far-off lands, staying true to your vegan values while travelling is both a rewarding and enriching experience. 

This guide will equip you with valuable insights, tips, and resources to confidently explore the world as a vegan traveller.

I will explore ways to research vegan-friendly destinations, offer tips on preparing for the journey, and delve into the art of effectively communicating dietary preferences in foreign restaurants. 

Additionally, I will introduce you to a range of indispensable vegan travel apps and websites that will help you discover hidden plant-based gems in every corner of the globe.

Researching Vegan-Friendly Destinations

Before embarking on your vegan travel adventure, taking the time to research and choose vegan-friendly destinations can significantly enhance your experience. 

These destinations not only offer a plethora of plant-based culinary delights but also showcase a deep-rooted appreciation for veganism and ethical dining. 

Here are some key steps to help you find the perfect vegan-friendly location:

Using Online Resources to Find Vegan-Friendly Travel Destinations

  • Vegan Travel Blogs and Websites: Explore websites and blogs dedicated to vegan travel experiences. These platforms often feature personal stories, destination reviews, and insider tips from seasoned vegan travellers.
  • Social Media and Online Vegan Communities: Join vegan travel groups on social media platforms to connect with like-minded individuals and seek recommendations from those who have visited vegan-friendly places.
  • Travel Apps with Vegan Filters: Utilise travel apps that filter restaurants and accommodations based on vegan-friendly options. These apps can save you time and effort finding suitable places to eat.

Recommendations for Countries and Cities Known for Their Vegan Food Scene

  • Vegan Hotspots: Discover renowned cities and countries that boast vibrant vegan scenes. Berlin, London, Bangkok, and Portland are celebrated for their diverse plant-based cuisines.
  • Vegan Festivals and Events: Look for destinations hosting vegan festivals or events during your travel dates. These gatherings often showcase the best vegan foods and offer a chance to immerse yourself in the local vegan culture.

Tips for Finding Vegan-Friendly Accommodation and Restaurants in Advance

  • Accommodation with Vegan Options: Seek hotels or lodgings that offer vegan breakfast options or have vegan-friendly restaurants nearby.
  • Online Reviews and Ratings: Check online reviews and ratings for restaurants and cafes to ensure they can accommodate vegan preferences.
  • Reach Out to Vegan Communities: Engage with local vegan groups or forums to seek recommendations for vegan-friendly establishments and hidden gems.

By conducting thorough research, you can choose a destination that aligns with your vegan values and ensures a memorable and satisfying culinary journey. 

Remember that vegan-friendly destinations aren't limited to just major cities; you might be pleasantly surprised to find vegan treasures in unexpected places, making your travel experiences all the more rewarding.

Preparing for the Trip

Prepare for your journey and ensure you have everything you need to maintain your vegan lifestyle while travelling. 

Here are some essential tips to help you get ready for your adventure:

Packing Vegan Snacks and Essentials for the Journey

  • Non-Perishable Snacks: Pack various vegan snacks like nuts, seeds and dried fruits to keep you fueled during long flights or train rides.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Carry a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated and reduce environmental impact by avoiding single-use plastic bottles.
  • Vegan Toiletries: Bring travel-sized vegan toiletries, such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, and toothpaste, to maintain your ethical lifestyle, even in personal care products.

Carrying Translation Cards or Apps for Communicating Dietary Preferences

  • Language Barriers: If you're travelling to a country with a language barrier, consider carrying vegan translation cards or using translation apps to communicate your dietary preferences and restrictions to local restaurant staff.
  • Common Phrases: Learn and practice basic phrases in the local language related to veganism, such as "no meat," "no dairy," or "I am vegan."

Understanding Local Customs and Cultural Attitudes Toward Veganism

  • Cultural Sensitivity: Familiarise yourself with the local customs and traditions regarding food. Respectfully explain your dietary choices when necessary, and be open to learning about the local vegan culture.
  • Traditional Vegan Dishes: Research traditional vegan dishes and the specialities of the destination you'll be visiting. Embrace the opportunity to try authentic plant-based meals unique to the region.

By packing vegan snacks and essential toiletries and using translation aids, you can ensure a smoother travel experience and be better equipped to communicate your dietary preferences to locals and restaurant staff. 

Understanding and respecting local customs will help you navigate social situations gracefully while staying true to your vegan principles.

Navigating Restaurants Abroad

Dining out in foreign restaurants as a vegan traveller can be a delightful adventure but may pose some challenges. 

Fortunately, with the right approach and communication strategies, you can find vegan options in various cuisines and enjoy flavorful plant-based meals. 

Here are essential tips to navigate restaurants abroad while staying true to your vegan lifestyle:

Tips for Reading Menus and Identifying Vegan Options in Different Cuisines

  • Look for Vegetable-Centric Dishes: Seek out menu items focusing on vegetables, grains, legumes, and plant-based ingredients. These dishes are more likely to be naturally vegan or easily customisable.
  • Customise Your Order: Don't hesitate to ask for modifications to menu items to make them vegan-friendly. For example, you can request omitting cheese or substituting animal-based proteins with tofu or tempeh.

Vegan-Friendly Cuisine Examples from Popular Travel Destinations

  • Mediterranean Cuisine: Explore the diverse and flavorful offerings of Mediterranean cuisine, such as falafel, hummus, tabbouleh, and stuffed grape leaves.
  • Southeast Asian Cuisine: Enjoy a variety of plant-based options in Southeast Asian cuisine, including tofu stir-fries, coconut curries, and fresh spring rolls.
  • Indian Cuisine: Delight in the richness of Indian vegan dishes like dal (lentil curry), vegetable biryani, chana masala, and a wide array of flavorful vegetable curries.

Embracing Cultural Experiences while Staying True to Your Vegan Values

  • Cultural Adaptation: Embrace the opportunity to experience local culture while adhering to your vegan lifestyle. Many cultures have traditional vegan dishes that reflect their culinary heritage.
  • Local Markets and Street Food: Visit local markets to discover fresh fruits, vegetables, and plant-based snacks. Street food vendors often offer vegan options like roasted nuts, fresh fruit cups, or vegetable skewers.

Flexibility and understanding are key when navigating restaurants abroad as a vegan traveller. 

You can foster positive connections with locals and create memorable dining experiences by approaching interactions with respect and openness.

Vegan Travel Apps and Websites

In today's digital age, vegan travel apps have become invaluable tools for every vegan traveller's toolkit. These resources can guide you to vegan-friendly restaurants. 

These are some of the most helpful vegan travel apps and websites to enhance your culinary adventures:

Introduction to Helpful Apps and Websites for Vegan Travelers

  • HappyCow: One of the most popular and comprehensive apps for vegan travellers, HappyCow allows you to search for vegan and vegetarian restaurants, cafes, and stores worldwide. The app provides reviews, ratings, and directions, making finding plant-based options in unfamiliar territories easier.
  • VanillaBean: Specifically catering to vegan travellers, VanillaBean is an app that lists vegan-friendly eateries in several European countries. Users can browse menus and photos, read reviews, and even receive discounts at partner restaurants.
  • VeganXpress: This app is ideal for travellers in the United States, providing a quick guide to vegan-friendly options at popular fast-food chains and restaurant franchises.

Vegan travel apps make it easier to locate vegan-friendly restaurants. Embrace these digital resources to enhance your travel experience and make every meal a delightful plant-based discovery.

Socialising and Dining with Locals

One of the most enriching aspects of travel is connecting with locals and immersing yourself in their culture. 

As a vegan traveller, embracing social situations graciously is essential while maintaining your dietary choices. 

Navigating dining experiences with locals can be an enjoyable way to forge meaningful connections and share the joys of plant-based cuisine.

When socialising as a vegan traveller, approach cultural differences with an open mind and a respectful attitude. 

Embrace the chance to learn about local customs and traditions, even if they differ from your own. 

Be mindful of the language barrier and communicate your dietary preferences politely and clearly to your hosts or dining companions. Express your gratitude for their hospitality while staying true to your vegan values.

To politely explain your dietary choices, consider learning key phrases in the local language related to veganism. 

Using local terms, you can effectively convey your dietary preferences and demonstrate your effort to understand and respect the local culture. Focus on shared experiences and dishes you can enjoy together rather than dwelling on what you avoid. 

This fosters a positive atmosphere and makes your hosts feel appreciated and involved in your vegan journey.

Embracing cultural experiences while staying true to vegan values can be an exciting challenge. 

Seek to discover vegan versions of traditional dishes where animal-based ingredients are substituted with plant-based alternatives. 

Your hosts may appreciate your effort in participating in their culinary heritage while respecting your dietary choices. 

Moreover, try to participate in local food rituals, such as traditional tea ceremonies or communal meals, where you can often find vegan-friendly elements or enjoy vegan side dishes that locals love.

Remember that veganism is about compassion and understanding, not just for animals but also for people. 

Embrace opportunities to connect with locals over shared meals and use these experiences to foster cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.

Exploring Local Markets and Vegan-Friendly Food Finds

Visiting local markets is an exceptional way to experience the true essence of a destination and uncover a wealth of vegan-friendly food options. 

These bustling hubs offer an array of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and other plant-based delights that can inspire your culinary adventures. As a vegan traveller, exploring local markets allows you to connect with the community, support local vendors, and savour the vibrant flavours of the region.

When you enter a local market, you'll be greeted by fresh produce's vibrant colours and fragrances. 

From ripe tropical fruits to seasonal vegetables, the bounty of nature is on display, inviting you to taste the region's authentic flavours. 

Embrace the opportunity to engage with local farmers and vendors, as they can provide valuable insight into the area's culinary heritage and traditions.

Take notice of the magic of street food stalls in your quest for vegan-friendly options. 

These humble setups often harbour hidden gems for plant-based eaters. Communicate with the vendors, ask about vegan choices, and don't hesitate to request customisation of dishes to align with your dietary preferences. 

Sampling local vegan delicacies from street food vendors allows you to appreciate the diverse culinary offerings of the destination fully.

As a conscious traveller, you can prioritise sustainability and support local vegan initiatives. 

Seek out vendors who offer eco-friendly and zero-waste options, such as biodegradable packaging or reusable containers. 

By supporting local businesses that prioritise plant-based practices and contribute to sustainable and ethical food production, you contribute to a more compassionate and environmentally friendly world.

Exploring local markets guarantees a feast for your taste buds. 

It fosters a deeper connection with the destination and its people. 

As you wander through the colourful stalls, feel free to talk with vendors about vegan-friendly options or their plant-based favourites. 

Embrace the local market culture to discover hidden vegan treasures and make environmentally conscious choices that align with your ethical values.

By combining the pleasures of local markets with your commitment to veganism, you'll find inspiration for creating plant-based meals that celebrate the diversity of each region's cuisine. 

The next time you venture into a local market, let your senses guide you and allow the culinary wonders to ignite your passion for compassionate and sustainable travel.

Coping with Challenges and Emergencies

As a vegan traveller, being prepared to handle challenges and emergencies is essential for maintaining your plant-based lifestyle and ensuring a smooth journey. 

While most travel experiences are filled with delightful adventures, unforeseen situations may arise that can put your vegan choices to the test. 

Here are valuable tips to help you cope with such challenges and ensure you stay true to your ethical principles throughout your trip:

Dealing with Limited Vegan Options in Certain Regions

  • Research in Advance: Before travelling to a destination with limited vegan options, research local dishes and ingredients to identify potential plant-based alternatives.
  • Flexibility: Be prepared to adapt your meals by combining side dishes or requesting simple modifications to menu items to create vegan-friendly options.

How to Handle Emergency Situations and Unexpected Changes in Travel Plans

  • Carry Vegan Snacks: Always keep a stash of vegan snacks in your bag, especially when travelling to remote areas where vegan options may be scarce.
  • Language Assistance: In emergencies, carry a vegan translation card or use translation apps to convey your dietary needs to medical staff or locals.

Being Prepared with Alternatives and Quick Fixes

  • Non-Food Essentials: Pack essentials like reusable utensils, a collapsible water bottle, and reusable containers to ensure you can enjoy vegan meals on the go, even in unexpected situations.
  • Emergency Vegan Meals: Research local supermarkets or stores that offer vegan-friendly products, so you can quickly grab essential ingredients to create simple meals.

While coping with challenges, maintaining a positive attitude and patience is crucial. 

Remember that embracing a vegan lifestyle is about compassion and doing your best in every situation. 

By remaining open-minded and understanding, you may find opportunities to educate others about veganism and encourage more plant-based options in different regions.

If you encounter language barriers or difficulties communicating your dietary preferences, rely on non-verbal cues like hand gestures or pointing to the items, you can eat. 

Most importantly, be respectful and appreciative of the efforts made by others to accommodate your vegan choices.

By preparing for potential challenges and being equipped with practical solutions, you can confidently embark on your vegan travel adventure, knowing that you have the tools to overcome any obstacles that may come your way. 

Your commitment to a compassionate and sustainable lifestyle will inspire others to embrace plant-based choices and contribute to a more conscious and compassionate world.

Embracing Vegan-Friendly Travel Destinations

Throughout your vegan travel journey, you've savoured delectable plant-based cuisines while supporting ethical and sustainable practices. Engaging with locals over shared meals has fostered cross-cultural understanding, showcasing the power of food as a universal language of compassion.

Visiting local markets has delighted your taste buds and empowered local communities. 

Your adaptability in facing challenges and emergencies has inspired fellow vegan travellers and encouraged positive change.


As you come to the end of your vegan travel journey, take a moment to reflect on the remarkable experiences you've had and the positive impact you've made as a conscious traveller. 

Embracing vegan-friendly destinations has allowed you to savour delicious plant-based cuisines and support ethical and sustainable practices in different regions.

Your interactions with locals over shared meals have transcended language barriers, fostering cross-cultural understanding and appreciation. 

Through these connections, you've showcased the power of food as a universal language of compassion, bringing people closer together despite their diverse backgrounds.

Exploring local markets has been a delightful adventure, where you've discovered the richness of fresh produce and vegan-friendly street food. By engaging with local vendors and embracing sustainable practices, you've nourished your body, empowered communities, and contributed to a more conscious way of living.

Your adaptability and resourcefulness have been commendable in the face of challenges and emergencies. 

Your preparedness as a vegan traveller has guided others, encouraging them to embrace plant-based choices even in unforeseen circumstances.

As you progress, remember that your role as a conscious traveller goes beyond your individual experiences. 

Your dedication to veganism and compassionate living has been an essential catalyst for positive transformation. 

Your actions have shown others the potential for a more sustainable and compassionate world.


Be the first to leave a comment below.

Leave a comment

Please note, by submitting this form your name and comment will be stored and displayed on this website publicly for other users to see. We respect your privacy.

Thank you! Your submission has been received! We will review your comment before publishing.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Sources & References

Plant-Based Nutritionist & Fitness Coach
View website
Facebook logo
Instagram logo
Pinterest logo
Twitter logo
YoutTube logo
TikTok logo
View profile
Green arrow pointing forward
Gordon Ramsay sharpening his knives

Is Gordon Ramsay Vegan?

Gordon Ramsay has been a dominant figure in the world of gastronomy for decades. As the world witnesses a remarkable surge in the popularity of veganism, a pivotal question arises: Is Gordon Ramsay vegan?

Read More
Soy in the form of silken tofu in a blue bowl

Is Soy Bad for You?

In plant-based diets, few ingredients have garnered as much attention and controversy as soy. Let's explore how brands like Tofoo champion organic sourcing to address these concerns.

Read More
High-protein tempeh on barbeque skewers with a vibrant orange plant-based dipping sauce.

Which Vegan Foods are High in Protein

Explore the world of plant-based protein with our comprehensive guide. Discover high-protein vegan foods, learn about amino acids, and unlock delicious recipes. Embrace a nourishing, sustainable, and vibrant plant-powered lifestyle today.

Read More