Travel tips for vegetarians

I have been a vegetarian for 30 years. I’m often asked how I manage when travelling. For the most part, I usually find a way to get by. Some destinations prove to be tricky, though, like in heavy meat-eating cultures. For my Canadian readers, you don’t have to look any further than our own backyard of beef-province, Alberta, where my family lives.Assamese food in Shannon's Travels

Vegetarian delights in the state of Assam, northeast India

Internationally, India is ideal for vegetarians. Having travelled there twice last year, I had no issues finding vegetarian fare mostly because a good portion of the country is vegetarian due to its Hindu roots. Indian food is probably the most flavourful food on the planet, I might add.

But not all nations have been so easy. Some years ago, I travelled to Prague and, at the time, finding fresh vegetables and salads proved to be a challenge. The solution to my problem was a Chinese restaurant, which made a delicious stir-fry that I ate three nights in a row. In Morocco (also a love of mine), while the food is plenty flavourful it, too, is heavily meat-based, but I always discovered alternatives.

In some cultures, some amount of meat is put into most dishes, such as Italian sauces. Or vegetables are cooked in a meat-based broth, like in Korea. And in other countries, meat and seafood is a separate dish from vegetables and grains. In Switzerland, it was impossible to go without trying the cheeses, which were delicious simply because they are Swiss.

Here are 7 tips for vegetarians and vegans when on the road:

1. Start with good communication: Learn to say “I am a vegetarian” or “I do not eat meat” in the language of the country you are visiting. This helps the wait staff understand what your requirements are and so you don’t mistakenly order a dish that could have meat in it. Not only does it facilitate understanding, it is being respectful of the staff.

2. Research and plan in advance: You can always research local restaurants that cater to vegetarians or at least have some meatless dishes. A quick Google ought to do the trick. There are also some apps that might be useful, such as FoodSpotting.

3. Pack protein snacks in your bag: As a vegetarian on the road, eliminating meat is one thing, but finding protein substitutions can be even more challenging. Pack nuts and protein bars and powders into your day bag to ensure you have enough protein in your diet while away.

4. Stay in a self-catering place: Having your own kitchen away from home helps you better control what you are eating. And it doesn’t matter what your diet restrictions or preferences are, whether your are vegan, gluten-free, have food allergies, or a health nut.

5. Pre-arrange meals or take a packed lunch – If you are on a road trip, or taking daily excursions, pick up pre-packed foods and pack a lunch. Also ask your hotel’s restaurant if you can pre-arrange a packed lunch.

If you have a special diet, what are your solutions when you travel?  I would love to hear from you. Tweet to me at @Shannon_Skinner.



Shannon Skinner is a Toronto-based, award-winning television and radio show host and producer, international speaker, author and creator of Her passion is to travel the world and write about it. Tweet to her at @Shannon_Skinner.


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