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Susan M. Landaira is a vegan and loves to travel. Vegans do not eat any animals that have been killed and they do not eat animal products, so no eggs or dairy.
That means being a vegan traveler can be very difficult.
"The hardest part of traveling as a vegan, for me, is impromptu meals and breakfast," said Landaira, the CEO and Coach of Vegan Teacher, LLC in Wappingers Falls, New York. "Most breakfast foods consist of meat, dairy and/or eggs, so trying to find something is often quite the challenge. I usually ask the restaurant to make me something vegan."
Laney Sachs advises vegan travelers to do just that: ask. She arranges trips to off-the-beaten path in Italy, and when one of her clients said she was a vegan, it didn't throw Sachs off her planning.
"Food is a huge part of the tour, and all the meals are prearranged," said Sachs of Ortensia Blu Italian Adventures in Stamford, Connecticut.
"I was really concerned that she might not have the culinary experience the rest of the group would have, but in fact, it was quite the opposite. Each restaurant went out of their way to make sure she had a magnificently prepared meal, and the woman who taught our cooking class included eggless pasta and an extra vegetable dish."
When Landaira travels, she always makes sure to pack her favorite vegan snacks: "There's nothing worse than being hungry and stopping at the rest stop and finding absolutely nothing that's vegan."
To celebrate their 50th birthdays, Landaira and her husband are planning a trip to India. Making sure they can continue their vegan lifestyle in another country, Landaira reached out to a company that specializes in vegan trips.
"VegVoyages creates all-vegan tours of various countries, including India," said Landaira. "It's great to have someone else do all the planning and cooking."
VegVoyages travels to India, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Indonesia and is against the exploitation of animals in any form, which means they do not use animals on tours or rides, or visit any safaris, zoos or animal parks. There are other vegan-based travel agencies, including Veg Jaunts and Journeys, which is planning vegan trips to Portugal, Italy and even Asheville, North Carolina.
Speaking of planning, Jenny Kabert said that traveling as a vegan can be easier if you do your research beforehand.
"In the United States you can get by without researching, but if you're looking for really good food, it's helpful to look up vegetarian/vegan restaurants and read the reviews," said Kabert, who lives in Farmington Hills, Michigan and has been a vegan for eight years.
"Internationally, you should find out if the culture regularly uses non-vegan ingredients in their dishes. For example, ghee is commonly used in Indian cooking. Asking if a vegetarian dish contains ghee is easier to answer than asking if it's vegan, which may be misinterpreted."
Kabert admits that international travel can be more difficult depending on the country, but she's done plenty of traveling and has never starved. Landaira believes that as more people make the choice to become vegan, there will be more vegan choices added to the menu.
However, a true vegan traveler's choices go beyond food.
"The choices for those who follow a vegan lifestyle usually begin with food, as that's what people think of first when they think vegan," said Landaira. "However, rental cars with leather interiors, hotel rooms with leather couches and soaps that are not cruelty-free are other obstacles we face when traveling. As I always say, we need to inform people and when we do, they usually are shocked by what they didn't know and by the inhumane conditions (and deaths) animals face daily."
Lisa Iannucci has written many travel articles for national magazines and newspapers. Over the years, her travel articles have...
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