When I started travelling in the 1970s veganism barely existed, and even being vegetarian often meant a choice between going hungry or compromising your principles. Times may have changed since then but finding plant-based meals still isn’t always easy (as I discovered during my recent trip to Bilbao). So Lonely Planet’s new title The Vegan Travel Handbook will be a welcome addition to the library of any vegan traveller.
Practical Tips for Vegan Travellers
This book is full of practical tips for vegan travellers. These include lots of pre-trip planning, from research to packing, to thinking about where and when to go. Nowhere is off limits for the vegan traveller, although some destinations are certainly more challenging than others. But there are ways to make it easier (did you know that some countries have meat-free menus during Lent?).
However, it isn’t just about survival; the book also shows how you can eat well while travelling. There are lists to help if you want to make food the focus of your holiday. These include the Top 20 Vegan Friendly Cities (number 1 is Berlin, with vegan hotels, bars and even a vegan street where you can buy cruelty-free clothes). Or there are Vegan Tours and Vegan Festivals.
Eating Vegan Around the World
The handbook includes 24 in-depth features on individual locations, ranging from steak-loving Argentina to style-conscious Scandinavia. These have suggestions for what to eat, where to eat, and what to avoid, as well as a few useful phrases. There is information about cooking classes (helpful if you are self-catering) and other vegan-friendly activities (I was pleased to see a mention of the hummus-making workshop in Jerusalem’s Abraham Hotel that I tried a few years ago.)
The main thrust of The Vegan Travel Handbook is that being vegan shouldn’t limit your travels. The introduction suggests that you should “choose a place that interests you first, and figure out what you’ll eat there later.” Ultimately “it’s just a matter of a little extra preparation and a flexible attitude”. There may be places where it helps to take some of your own supplies, or where self-catering gives more options than hotels, but “the world is your (plant-based) oyster”.
The Vegan Travel Handbook is available from the Lonely Planet Shop in paperback or ebook format.