Last weekend did no good to my waistline, let me tell you. Great that I ditched the scale long time ago, otherwise I might have had an unpleasant surprise on Monday morning. Or maybe not, because anywhere I went this weekend, I rode my bike. Never trust google maps when riding an old lady bike that was built before the wall… Always add at least 20 minutes to the calculated driving time. I want to apologize to all my friends who were very patient with me, while I was still figuring that out. They were sitting and waiting at cafés for me or riding infront of me, trying to not fall asleep on their sportive fixies. I appreciate your imperturbable patience guys. One that deserves appreciation is my friend Connie. Constanze, whom I met not so long ago via Instagram, doesn´t lose her temper, when I “take over” the street on sluggish pace and with lots of noise. Yeah, I like when people turn to look at me. Duuuuh. Also Connie deserves applause for having the idea to go for some vegan treats that weekend. My taste buds are still dancing samba just remembering it now.
Where we went? Ladies and Gentlemen embrace yourself:
Let the words melt in your mouth like Caramel Popcorn ice cream. Animal – (cruelty) free and de-la-la-licious beyond words.
I scream … for VEGAN ice cream
The variety of flavors is huge and silences every first-timer walking into the shop. No mediocre stuff in here. Kontor goes for fancy creations like Coconut Apricot, White Chocolate Raspberry, Cinnamon Oatmeal and Crazy Peanut. Only writing down these words now, my heart beats faster.
– Listen to me, guess I caught the Nice Cream Fever.
I walked in and thought: SHIT. Now I am living in the vegan mecca Berlin for months, and I only come here a couple of weeks before I take off again?! How am I ever going to make it through all 50 sorts of vegan ice cream ?!?! … challenge excepted… I started off with Matcha and Rice Pudding ice cream – you heard right! Rice. Pudding. With little pieces of raspberries. Oh my.
Do yourself the favor and check this out when you are in town. Kontor Eismanufaktur Berlin. They currently have two locations: One in Prenzlauer Berg and one in Mitte. And don´t hesitate to pay them a visit during winter time. My flatmate says, during the cold months their creations are even richer and more spectacular than you could imagine.
Adress: Danziger Straße 65, 10435 Berlin & Ackerstraße 174, 10115 Berlin
Opening hours: Mo – Fri 14:00–20:00, Sa 12:00 – 22:00, Su 12:00 – 20:00
So you dream of an epic adventure, want to travel the world or just take a two-week-vacation on the beach? The good news: A good portion of creativity and out-of-the-box, nontraditional thinking, will allow you to go on the trip of your life!
Traveling might be a privilege – I agree with that – but it is not a luxury. Traveling does not (necessarily) mean spending exorbitant amounts of money on super expensive airfares and hotel accommodations. There are many budget-friendly options that you can take that would still allow you to get to your dream destination. So if you think you can’t afford to travel, think again. Read the following guide, and before you know it, you’ll be off to the destination you’ve always planned on going, while still keeping within your budget.
I collected more than 50 tips and tricks that I picked up through years of traveling on a tight student budget. I started exploring the world when I was only sixteen. Back then I didn´t have a glue on how to save money. I was literally blowing my dollars unnecessarily, but just didn’t know any better. I wish somebody had given me the advice I am about to give you now for free.
While writing down my advices for you, I noticed that I could probably write a book about low budget traveling. So I decided to split this post in the following parts:
Part 1 Getting there – Saving on airfares Saving big on accommodation Transportation – Getting around for little (or no) money
Eating – Make smarter choices
Currency and Credit Cards
Communication – Cut the cost
Activities that don´t cost an arm and a leg
Make money on the road
Let´s get this thing started (and you on the road)!
The Ultimate Low Budget Travel Guide
Part 1: Airfares, Accommodation and Transportation
Getting there – Saving on Airfares
Plan ahead – Many people fall into the trap of waiting until the last minute to book their travel, thinking they’ll get a better deal. This is a myth. While this might have been true 6 or 7 years ago, current trends show that prices rise the longer you wait, as seats become scarce. I recommend you to book at least 6 weeks in advance!
Sign up for travel newsletters – No one likes to clutter up their inbox, I understand that, but by signing up for mailing lists from airlines and travel companies, you’ll be able to get updates about all the last-minute sales or special deals happening.
Find the cheapest flights – Two of my favorite global search engines are Skyscanncer and Momondo, which I use as a baseline. Both search booking sites as well as discount airline carriers for the best deals. For the US I would recommend taking a look at Travelocity, but there are tons of good aggregators around the world.
Fly on budget airlines – Budget airlines like Norwegian Air, WOW, and Air Asia fly cheaply from the US to Europe and Asia. Norwegian Air flies from both US coasts to Europe for as little as $150 one way, and from Europe to Asia for as little as $200 one way. In Asia, Air Asia has flights for $20 one-way around the region and $150 one-way onward to Australia.
Experiment with alternative airports – You’d be surprised by the money you could save simply by flying out of a nearby airport.
Always look into round trip tickets – Sometimes, one way tickets are so expensive that the round trip ticket is cheaper. Just don’t use the return trip. I know this is weird, but I did this myself a couple of times already! Flying from New York to Berlin for $500 or taking the round trip for a total of $440?! Eeeeh… Come on!
Be a little flexible with travel days – Many prices are based on supply and demand, so sometimes it’s much cheaper to leave a day or two before instead. Look around the dates of your travel plans and see if spending an extra day is worth it. Also: Tuesdays and Wednesdays are often the cheapest days to fly, so you can save hundreds just by changing your travel schedule.
Try booking at different times – Online sites sometimes have rates based on the time and day of the week you book. Try different combinations and see if you can get a better deal.
Go off season – Everyone wants to go to the beach in summer. Consider going on vacation in off-peak times. It’s cheaper and less crowded.
Travel light – Airlines are starting to charge for everything now and if you have 2 bags or more, expect to be charged for it. Remember to not use over sized bags whenever possible and try to keep it all within one bag per person.
Carry it on – If you can skip heavy baggage, do so. Most airlines charge for baggage, and extra if it’s overweight. If you can get all you need into a carry on, you’ll save a lot on the fees for checked luggage. Consider packing old clothes, that you can leave behind without tears. This way, you can keep one luggage and still have room for purchases. I have reduced my luggage to a carry on no matter where and how long I travel. It did not only save me a lot of money, but is also way more practical! Less time and energy wasted on heavy luggage!
Saving big on accommodation
Build a network on Couchsurfing – The online network Couchsurfing can help you make friends with locals and get free accommodation when you do travel. Yes, your heard right – for free. Sometimes you get a room, sometimes a couch, sometimes an air mattress, but it’s always free. The challenge: If you are using it for the first time, you might not get many responses. After all, a person with no reviews isn’t an appealing candidate to hang out in your apartment. So before you go away, sign up for Couchsurfing, find a local meet up on the website or on Facebook, and attend. You’ll make friends, be added to people’s profiles and create a network you can utilize when you actually look for a place to stay.
Because of the rise of the sharing economy in the last few years there are now websites that let you not only stay with locals but share rides, meals, train tickets, gear, and much more! These website not only save you a lot of money but they also get you off the tourist track and into the local life. Win-win!
Use Facebook to find a place to stay – Old friends and friends of friends are often people who will warmly open their door to you — so get connected with people from your past and present, and cut out all that expensive accommodation. Yeah, it might cost you a dinner and a few drinks, but thats it! And again, since you’re living local, you won’t feel like just another tourist!
House-sit – Watch someone’s house while they go on vacation. You can sign up for one of the sites below and watch people’s homes for free, allowing you to stay in one destination for a while and get to know it well without having to pay for accommodation. Added bonus: you get a kitchen to cook your food (which saves you even more money!!!) I actually just completed my first couple of housesits this year and was very fortunate! At one point I had a whole villa in South England to myself, including two adorable puppies! Let me know if you have made similar experiences and tell me about your house-sitting story!
GET 20% OFF YOUR “TRUSTED HOUSESITTERS” MEMBERSSHIP BY SIGNING UP VIA THIS LINK:
Sleep in large dorms – I became an expert at choosing the right hostel. This one saved me lots of money: Large hostel dorm rooms are the cheapest paid accommodation out there. If Couchsurfing isn’t your thing, this is your next best way to save money on a place to sleep. Though I also recommend you to take a good pair of ear plugs… You can thank me later 😉
Use sharing economy – You can find cheaper accommodation, funny tour guides and rideshare options using sharing economy websites and apps! Moreover, you will meet locals who know where to find great deals. They know which supermarket is cheapest, which stores offer the best sales, and where to find the restaurants and bars with the tastiest food at the lowest prices. These websites have changed the travel game and made travel more accessible for everyone.
Staying in a town next door – While checking for cheap accommodation, consider staying in smaller towns close to where you are going. They might have hotels that are much less expensive. If you don’t mind the 15 minute ride, you might just save that bundle.
Transportation – Getting around for little (or no) money
Welcome to public transportation – Do as the locals do, and catch public transportation everywhere you go. Tourist usually take taxis since it’s the laziest way to get from point A to B. Consider the subway or buses because it’s sometimes easier and it is much cheaper.
Use search engines – Rome 2 Rio is a great transport search engine! They’ll tell you how to get to your destination by all transport methods and tell you which is the cheapest!
Night trains, buses and flights – If the transportation is going to be long, consider traveling at night to save money on accommodation. Many people have a tough time sleeping on these, but it’s all a matter of practice. Once you get used to it, you will be able to have a good night’s rest. If flying is too short for you to take advantage of sleeping while traveling, take a bus ride. When you are sleeping, you won’t mind that the bus ride is 9 hours.
Driving is not bad – Want to take that 1 hour flight? With airport security and all the hassle of airport inefficiencies, you will end up with a four hour experience and might as well drive there. It takes just as long and it’s less expensive.
Hitchhike – A free way to get around destinations that is relatively safe and quite common in many parts of the world, including Central America, Eastern Europe, and Australia. Hitchhiking not only saved me money, it also spiced up my travels, allowing me to experience things that I could never have planned or dreamed of.
This was Part 1/3 of my ULTIMATE LOW BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE! If you liked it or have more ideas on how to save a boat-load of money, let me know! I would love to hear your ideas!
Stay tuned for more and hit subscribe to not miss a thing!
Planning to go on the trip of your life and trying to save every penny to make the dream come true?! My “How to save money for traveling” guide lets you in on all the secrets you need to know!
Peeps, todays blog is the first part of my low budget travel series or put in other words: The secret to travel the world with little money. This first article is about how to save enough money to travel. In a second blogpost I will talk about smart choices that you can make while you are on your trip. I will try to give you a basic idea of the possibilities you have while you are on a low budget and still make the most of your adventure!
Thinking about my own spendings and writing them all down, I realized that there are many expenses I didn’t know were there. Financial experts call these “phantom expenses” — You never know they are there because the expenses are so small. A dollar here and a dollar there adds up. Even a daily bottle of water or cup of coffee can make a substantial difference over the course of a year.
What does this have to do with travel? One of the main reasons why you think you can’t travel the world is money. “I can’t afford it,” people say, “I have too many expenses.” I am sure you have expenses you can’t cut, but if you cut your phantom expenses, reduce your set costs, and find other ways to save you can build your travel fund much more quickly.
No matter how cheap you want to be, travel requires some money. There’s no way to avoid that, so in order to save for your trips, you need to cut your expenses and learn how to safe money. Here are some simple and creative ways to cut your expenses, make money, and get on the road sooner.
1. Cut the coffee
Coffee is a daily expense that quietly drains your bank account without you ever noticing. That daily $3 coffee costs you $93 per month. At $1,116 per year, that’s more than a month in Asia. Give up the coffee, switch from cappuccino to a standard brew, start drinking tea, or brew your own cup. This is an easy, low-hanging-fruit expense that can yield big savings right away. You meet friends at Starbucks a few times a week? Replace those meetings with a pleasant stroll or an at-home kaffeeklatsch. You don’t have to give up good times—you just have to re-imagine them.
2. Stop drinking
I know it seems drastic. But alcohol is expensive. Cutting down the amount you drink is going to have a big impact on your budget. While this might not apply to everyone, those of you who are carefree might go out with your friends on the weekend. Drink before you go out to the bar or simply don’t drink at all. Cutting down the amount of alcohol you consume is considered low-hanging fruit — an easy way to save money.
3. Quit smoking
Smoking kills not only you, but also your wallet. A $10 pack per day amounts to $3,650 per year. Even half that amount would still yield enough money for close to two months in Central America. If you don’t want to stop smoking for your health, do it for your next adventure.
5. Stop snacking
A snack here and there not only adds calories to your waistline but also empties your wallet — another example of „phantom expenses“. We don’t think much of them because they cost so little, but they add up over time and eat into our savings. Eat fuller meals during lunch and dinner and avoid the snacks.
6. Buy a metal water bottle
Plastic water bottles are not only harmful to the environment, they are also harmful to your wallet. One or two water bottles a day at $1 per bottle will add up to at least $30 a month. That’s $360 a year! You can spend a week in France with that much money! Instead of plastic, buy a metal water bottle and fill it with tap water.
7. Replace your light bulbs
Seriously! Electricity costs money and since every penny counts, using energy-efficient light bulbs will cut down on your utility bills. Fluorescent light bulbs now cost as little as $2.50 USD for a pack of two, and replacing just five bulbs can cut $75 per year off your electric bill. Go green!
8. Buy second-hand
Why pay full price when you can pay half? Use websites like Amazon, wholesale websites, and clearance sales to buy at discount. Same goes for clothes. Thrift-stores make your money stretches much farther. On average, used products are generally 50% cheaper – allowing you to save money for other important expenditures.
9. Reduce the spending on entertainment
It can be easy to be peer pressured into unnecessary spending if your social group spends its time at expensive bars and other venues. Instead of dropping your friends, start suggesting or planning lower cost get-togethers. Have a movie night at your house instead of the theater. Host a casual potluck instead of catching up at an expensive restaurant. I don’t know about you, but I find movies ridiculously expensive. Cut out the movies or watch them online via Netflix ($7.99 per month) or iTunes ($1.99). Whatever you do, cutting out trips to the movies will save you a bundle.
10. Evaluate your subscription services
Cancel anything you don’t use enough to be worth the cost. In the age of high speed Internet, an easy thing for most people to eliminate is cable television. Video game subscriptions, beauty boxes, and magazines are other expenses that may seem small but add up over time.
11. Quit the gym
One great way to save money is to cancel your gym membership, or, if you don’t have one, don’t get one. Your membership at a gym can be very expensive. Typical memberships run between $30 and $70 per month. That works out to be an annual savings of between $360 and $840 if you cancel that membership.
But don´t worry, there are a billion ways for you to still get that workout in! Just use a little imagination. Take a look at your surroundings. Start off with a good walk, or run if you prefer, around the block or up and down the road. Your self-guided workout is limited, really, only by your imagination.
Find outdoor workout groups online, for example through Facebook
And of course: run, run, run. You can do it nearly anywhere and all you need is a good pair of shoes
12. Lose the car
Cars are crazy expensive to own, between insurance, repairs, loan payments, and filling your tank with gas (current average price of gas: $3 USD per gallon). Get rid of your car if you can. Learn to love the bus, take the subway, bike, or walk. It might take longer to get to work using public transportation and this tip may not be feasible for everyone, especially those in smaller towns that don’t have an extensive public transportation system, but an alternative is to sell your car and buy a cheaper used one, which you will only need until you leave for your trip. Buying a throwaway car will allow you to pocket the money from your more expensive car and put it toward your travels.
13. And one for the girls
Sick of spending money on hygiene products every month? Menstrual cups are a great solution that will save you money throughout your menstrual lifetime. One menstrual cup can last for up to 10 years, so you no longer need to stock up on tampons and pads each month. A menstrual cup is a one-off investment that will see you through each month – lasting for many periods, over many years. Just think of all the things you can spend that extra cash on!
14. Learn to cook
We all need to eat, but depending on where you are based, restaurants are getting quite expensive these days. Many people overspend by eating out often, especially when it comes to lunches at work. Even if you would only spend $5 a work day on lunch, you would end up with a sum of $100 per month and $1200 per year. If you resolve to prepare a majority of your meals at home, you will be able to save quite a bit of money each month.
What I do is saving the leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day, thus saving more money. You don’t need to be a whiz in the kitchen, either. There are a million and one cooking sites that will teach you how to cook fast and healthy meals. The recipes on this blog are all created in my student low budget kitchen, thus perfect for the small purse. Again, to keep your food bill low, cook more often.
15. Save in the supermarket
Instead of sticking by a brand or making a traditional shopping list, buy items as they go on sale for the best deals. While the savings of buying sales items in bulk may be tempting, only purchase what you can safely store or consume quickly. Always pick the item with the lowest cost per unit. If you don’t want to do the math yourself, many grocery stores will even list the cost per unit next to the item.
16. Cut coupons
The Entertainment Book, grocery coupons, Groupon, and loyalty cards all reduce the price you pay at the register. Clipping coupons might make you feel like an 80-year-old grandmother, but the goal here is to save money, and coupons definitely help with that.
17. Buy produce at farmers markets
I also recommend you to check out local farmers markets. They often have great prices for high quality produce. Get to know the producers or salespeople and enjoying the great deals that can come from such a relationship. Also, agricultural products are more expensive early or late in the season. If everyone at a market has a particular product, the price will drop, but if only one vendor has an item, he or she can set the price individually. To save big cash, buy products at the peak of their season. If you show up to the market right before closing time you will most likely get great deals.
My friend Connie wrote a great article about her experiment on living with 3 € a day! Go and check it out here.
18. Find a roommate and rent out or sublet extra space
You’ll see a huge gain in your savings by lowering your housing costs. Downsize your apartment or bring in some roommates. Consider to move back in with your parents for the last months before a bigger trip. This might safe you a couple thousand bucks! If this is not an option for you, bring in a roommate. Turn that living room into a spare room if necessary. In NYC, people turn living rooms into bedrooms and studio apartments into two bedrooms by putting a folding screen in the middle of the room. It’s not the most ideal living situation, but it does save money and could potentially net your hundreds of dollars to put towards your savings.
Are you going on a long business trip or vacation? Consider short term renters while you’re away. Alternatively, if you live in a city like Austin or San Diego that has annual events that draw huge crowds, you may choose to stay with a friend and rent out your place for its duration at extremely high rates using platforms like Airbnb.
19. Get rid of cable
In the age of streaming TV, there’s no reason for you to be spending $50 per month on cable television. Get rid of it and just watch everything online for free or use Netflix!
20. Ditch your landline
I honestly know less than 10 people under 30 these days who have anything other than a mobile phone. You don’t need both a mobile phone and a landline. Ditch your phone line and avoid doubling your phone expenses.
21. Downgrade your phone
Having an iPhone costs about $83 per month. While smartphones are handy devices, getting a cheap phone without any fancy apps will cut your monthly phone bill in half. You might get bored on the train not being able to read the news, but saving an extra $500 a year will allow you to spend a few more weeks in Europe.
22. Open an online savings account and pay yourself first
While saving, you can have your money grow a little bit more by putting it in a high-yield online savings account. One of the best saving strategies is to pay yourself first. What this means is that you designate a certain amount of your paycheque as your pay and you pay that money to yourself before you pay your bills. It can be any amount that you decide. The important part is that you pay yourself first rather than last. Most people pay all of the bills first and then save anything that might be left over. For most people, that method of saving doesn’t really work because nothing is left over to save.
If you pay yourself first, then money will get saved because paying yourself is now your first priority. The nice thing about this method is if your budget is a little tight, it forces you to make adjustments elsewhere and your savings continue to grow.
Paying yourself first also makes sense. Why are you going to work everyday anyway? To earn money for someone else? No way. You go to work to earn money for you and your family. That’s why you should pay yourself first—to make sure that your first priority is taken care of: you. It is not likely that anyone else is going to take care of you because they assume that you are taking care of yourself.
Automate your savings so they’re just like another bill that you must pay every month. After you pay your bills and Pay Yourself First, you can spend the remaining amount of money on whatever you want, guilt-free. This could be as simple as putting $50 per month into your savings account to build your cash cushion. After 12 month you will be surprised to find 1200$ worth of savings ready to be used for your next adventure.
23. Save impulsively
Tempted by an unnecessary purchase? Talk yourself down, then enter the amount of money you might have spent into a free app called ImpulseSave. That money will be transferred into your savings.
24. Found money = fund money
Any unexpected cash (rebate checks, the quarter you
found in a parking lot, etc.) goes into savings.
25. Dollar bill challenge
When you get home from work or running errands, put all the $1 bills from your wallet in a jar.
26. Get a new credit card
A travel credit card can give you free money, free rooms, or free flights. After accruing miles and rewards points with your card on everyday purchases, you can redeem them for free travel on your trip. You’ll even earn huge sign-up bonuses when you get a new card. When used properly, these cards generate free money. Start early. As soon as you decide to travel the world, get a travel-related credit card and begin earning points on your daily purchases.
27. Have a spending plan
The very best method to saving money is to create a Spending Plan or a Budget. With a budget you figure out what your income is and what your expenses are.
So the first thing you should do is to get out a sheet of paper and write down all your set expenses: rent/mortgage, car payments, cable bill, cell phone, insurance, school payments, and the like. Tally them up. Then write down all your discretionary spending. This is what you spend on food, movie nights, drinks, shopping, that daily coffee to go, cigarettes, sports tickets, your daily midday snack, and other similar things.
The secret to this method (if you want to call it that) is to identify what you are spending money on so that you can begin to plan your spending. Once you begin to plan your spending, you will gain control over it and you will be able to plan to spend money on your savings. In other words, you will plan to put money into your savings account. Many people don’t like to plan their spending because it involves a little bit of work (once a year). No one is saying that success will come easily, but this little bit of work will pay off big time in many areas of your finances. We dare you to try it – what have you got to lose?
28. Sell stuff you no longer need
Look around your apartment and notice all the stuff you don’t need anymore: TVs, couches, tables, stereo equipment. Instead of keeping it in storage (which costs money), just get rid of everything. Sell it and use the money to travel. Sites like Craigslist, Amazon and Ebay are excellent places to sell your unneeded consumer goods. Go through old belongings and consider selling things you no longer want or use. Sell big ticket items like furniture instead of throwing them away when you replace them. Sell smaller, easily-shipped goods through online shops or auction sites. Try to sell large, bulky or very inexpensive items locally. Remember that your time in valuable, and it may not be worth the effort of posting a listing and mailing something that sells for a dollar. If you can, pretend any additional income doesn’t exist. Instead of factoring it into your monthly budget, put all of your extra income into savings.
29. Start a side business
Use your free time to start a simple side business, like babysitting and dog walking. If you enjoy making potentially marketable products, try selling your work on a popular craft site. Popular items typically sold include clothing, stuffed animals, beauty products, art prints, and jewelry. Until your savings reaches a comfortable level, avoid starting businesses with large startup costs. Stick to projects that use materials that are inexpensive or you already have available. You are also likely to start spending less. If your Saturday nights become devoted to babysitting, you’ll save money by not going to the movies or running up an expensive bar tab. Sharing economy has made it really easy to earn extra money on the side. You can rent your spare room out on Airbnb, drive with Lyft, cook dinner on EatWith, or lead personalized tours through Vayable. No matter what skill or unused asset you have, there is a moneymaking service for you. Use these websites to boost your trip savings and travel cheaper.
30. And most importantly: Reward yourself
Cutting your daily expenses, being more frugal, and downgrading to a simpler way of living will allow you to save money for your trip around the world without having to find big extra sources of income. But don’t cut out things like entertainment, hobbies, and other indulgences entirely. A happier you will be more productive and make more money in the longterm. Some people have a “swear jar,” putting in a quarter every time they let a choice word fly. But why not a “Yay you!” jar instead? If you decided not to buy an ice-cream cone at the mall, put the cost of the cone the jar. Wait till „Yay you!“ Sunday and give yourself a little treat with the money collected over the week.
Before I went on the first big trip in my new life as a vegan, I was quite a bit worried, I must confess. I wondered what challenges I´d have to face and if I would have to live on rice and beans for the coming months.
But instead it turned out, that it is not difficult to stick to your diet. Even in the most remote places, where locals have never heard about such thing as veganism and a plant-based diet, you´ll find something to munch on!
Here are my tips for you, based on my own experience as a vegan backpacker. To come right to the point: Preparation is the key.
1. Research your destination.
I found the most useful app on my phone to be HappyCow. Which could actually also be called HappyVegan, for obvious reasons. The app finds you all the lo cal vegan and vegan-friendly places near your destination. Even at the back of beyond – a remote village in the very South of Bolivia that is… Get ready to be pleasantly surprised by the culinary gems that you’ll find.
2. Book a vegan meal on your flight.
This should actually stand first, because booking a flight is what every trip starts with, right? If your flight includes meals, the vegan option will for sure be free of charge, too. Nothing sucks more than to spend a 14 hours flight to Buenos Aires eating salty peanuts and crackers. Be smart. Book vegan.
3. Pack your own food and snacks.
Again. Be prepared. I always carry a clif bar and an apple in my bag. Maybe even a sandwich. Just in case… Your travel destination or mode of transportation (such as your flight) might guarantee vegan food, but still, do yourself a favor by packing snacks. Dried fruit, trail mix, bars, nuts, all work great.
4. Chose your hostel wisely.
I always go for the ones with a kitchen. It is probably the best way to make sure you can stick to your animal friendly diet. That way you also get to cook your favorite dishes. I go for easy comfort food such as oatmeal and pasta, or if I feel like having something lighter, I can chop up a salad any time. Lifesaver.
5. Check other forms of hospitation.
Helpful resources such as “Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms” (WWOOF), HelpExchange, Couch Surfing, Facebook groups, AirBnB and others, can help you find vegan-friendly hosts around the world. It’s essential to inform your hosts beforehand that you’re a vegan, as well as ensuring they know what this means and that they’re happy and able to meet your needs. This will save them from going through the trouble of cooking animal-based foods that you won’t eat and may even get them interested in a vegan lifestyle.
7. Don´t be shy.
I often ask staff at restaurants to make changes for me. “Hold the cheese, please.” You know the game. Don’t be shy to do so abroad. There is no reason to not do this when traveling. Be aware that throughout the world the terms vegetarian and vegan aren’t all understood the same way. In Spain you might still be served paella with seafood after having explained your dietary needs on an animal free diet. Because those aren’t “real animals”… In such a case I only have one tip. Stay calm.
8. Learn to communicate the basics.
If you’re going to a country where another language is spoken, learning a few words and phrases can go a long way. It does not only open the arms of the locals, but will make it easier for you to communicate your needs. The word ‘vegan’ is not universally understood, so learn to communicate the actual definition. Trust me, it will make your life a lot easier.
9. Get a vegan passport!
Traveling out of the country? You can try to use Google Translate to explain what a “vegan” is in different languages, or you can just carry around one of these bad boys.
10. Look for Local Farmers Markets.
I am a big fan of farmers’ markets. They are a great place to get the best local ingredients for your vegan meals at a low price. And a big plus: You support the local community.
11. Learn About Local Food.
Another thing you may consider researching before you hit the road is local vegan food for the countries you are planning to visit. You will be surprised that delicious local treats like gallo pinto, bean tamales, and areas are often vegan or can easily be changed to meet your needs. Which brings us back to point 6 and 7.
12. Stock up on cruelty-free essentials.
This might not be for the minimalists. After all carrying around a pound of toiletries is not what most backpackers are looking for. But if your mode of traveling and luggage restrictions allow it, carry all the vegan shampoos, creams and powders you like. Shoutout to the inventor of travel-sized products. If you prefer to travel with a carry on, you might want to check out the Leaping Bunny. The website has a section that lets you search for cruelty free, vegan products in countries all around the world. It couldn’t be easier to ensure the products you buy around the world are vegan.
13. And finally: Be sure about your veganism.
If you are new to this lifestyle or have been living it for years traveling to foreign countries you might find experiences that will test your commitment. It will be challenging sometimes, to find food that is a 100 % vegan and there will be a lot of unknown stuff, that though obviously not vegan, might be attracting you. Remind yourself why you turned vegan in the first place and what you have gained by doing this change. And at last, don’t be too hard on yourself. As my favorite saying goes: Strive for progress, not perfection. With the time you will learn how prepare for traveling and how to avoid tricky situations.