31 January 2012

Take the worry out of planning for a vegan vacation

Do you know what the solution to worry is? Preparation. Here are five steps to take to make sure that your vegan vacation goes off without a hitch.

1. Consider a vegan-friendly city. PETA offers a list of the most veg-friendly cities in North America, while Happy Cow ranks cities around the globe. Get your vacation off to a good start by choosing a locale that is more likely to meet your needs.

2. Whether or not you’re in a veg-friendly city, choose your accommodations wisely. Not sure what will be on offer in the hotel restaurant? Most hotels have menus online; if not, call ahead and asked to be connected to the kitchen. They’ll be in the best position to tell you what your options are. If there are no good options, ask to be connected with the concierge and inquire about vegan options nearby, or try a different hotel.

3. Opt for a room with a kitchenette. If this isn’t possible, at least shoot for a mini-fridge and microwave. Even if the restaurant should happen to have several vegan options, you’ll be glad to have the ability to keep and re-heat leftovers, or grab some of your favorite healthy options from a nearby grocery store or farmer’s market. It’s better for your health and your wallet.

4. When enjoying the sights away from the hotel, don’t be afraid to look in and walk out. If you’re hungry and not sure what the nearest restaurant has to offer, stop in and ask to see the menu. If there isn’t a good choice, leave and see what else you can find. (But don’t wait until you’re famished to start looking!)

5. If all else fails and you get stuck in a bad situation, make the best of it. Don’t let bad restaurant fare or a lack of in-room amenities ruin your vacation. Try these hotel room survival tips:
  • Use the ice bucket in your room to fill your sink with ice. Drained and refreshed every eight hours or so, this will allow you to keep perishables in your sink.
  • Shop for things -- like oatmeal or packaged miso soup -- that only require hot water, and use the coffee maker to make them.
  • It’s not a myth that you can use the hotel iron to make toast or a grilled ‘cheeze’ sandwich. Just be kind to the housekeeping staff and clean the iron off once it’s cooled.
  • Don’t bother with plastic silverware -- even if you can’t eat what’s on the room service menu, they’ll provide you with what you need if you just ask (though you may have to go down to the dining area to get it).
With proper preparation, the chances of you needing to resort to the iron and the coffee maker are slim. By planning ahead, you can have a worry-free vegan vacation!

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Kasey Minnis | Facebook | @veggiemightee | Blog
Fort Lauderdale, FL That rare and elusive species known as the native Floridian, Kasey is passionate about protecting other endangered creatures. She lives by the principle “compassion and crochet for all,” and enjoys teaching others – including her husband of 20 years and two beautiful children – the benefits of cruelty-free eating by feeding them tasty vegan treats from her kitchen. Contact Kasey at kasey@thisdishisveg.com.

Photo credit: kmccool