How to Find Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants while Traveling
Picture this: You and your friends are outside a restaurant. Everyone is tired, hungry, and you get whiff of that delicious food smell every time the door opens. And yet you’re not going inside. Why? Because you are scanning the menu very carefully to see if there’s something – anything – that you can eat.
If you’re a vegetarian, then you understand how difficult eating out can be. The truth is that with the exception of the occasional vegetarian and vegan restaurants here and there, and a few Italian places, our options tend to be very limited. It’s not unusual to stick to just a few familiar options and franchises that you know are safe bets.
But what happens when you travel? One of the best things about visiting new places is exploring new cuisines. And yet a vegetarian diet can get in the way of these wonderful new discoveries. You stick to the safe, you stick to the familiar, and you stick to the franchises that you know because you don’t want to waste so much time staring at menus on a hopeless quest for meat-free dishes.
Well, worry no more. Here are 4 tips on how to find vegetarian-friendly restaurants while traveling.
Do your Research Beforehand
Be it if you’re traveling to another state or across the world, researching your travel destination is something that can really help you make the most out of your vacation. That is especially true when it comes to food. So before you pack your bags and head off, try finding out what are the local specialties at your travel destination.
What’s the traditional cuisine like? What fruits and vegetables will be in season while you’re there? What sort of drinks do they serve? Are there any dishes that are common at this time of year?
After a few minutes on google you’ll have a better understanding of what type of food to expect while traveling. You’ll also be able to see which local dishes are traditionally vegetarians, and which ones aren’t. This means you won’t have to ask the waiter for help every time you come across a name you don’t know.
By researching ahead of time you make sure that you don’t miss out on any culinary adventures.
Use Social Media
You might be surprised, but social media is a great for not just discovering new restaurants, but also getting travel advice from locals. By looking through the appropriate hashtags, you can find all sorts of tips. Try looking for “#Vegetarian[your destination]” and see what results pop up. Many people love talking about their favorite hidden gems, so chances are that you might find some great ideas for restaurants and meals to try out.
Another thing you could do is post a question. Something along the lines of “Hey, I’m traveling to [place] soon. Any recommendations for good vegetarian friendly restaurants?” works really well. If you tag it appropriately, then your question will be visible to thousands of people. From that person from your old high school that you forgot you were following to a well-meaning local stranger, there are countless people out there who are more than happy to give a quick recommendation.
Vegetarian solidarity is a thing, so take full advantage of it!
Check with Local Bloggers
Checking out some local bloggers is another great way to discover which restaurants around the area offer vegetarian-friendly meals. There are many people out there whose blogs focuses primarily on highlighting the great locations of their cities. These often include restaurants that you won’t easily find on tourist websites.
By looking through their recommendations, you can see which ones have vegetarian options. Or perhaps you can message the bloggers personally and explain your situation. Worst case scenario? You don’t hear back, but don’t lose anything. However, there’s also a chance of them giving you tons of helpful recommendations.
Plan out ahead of Time
Finally, planning out your day ahead of time rather than just going with the flow can increase your chances to find a good vegetarian-friendly restaurant. If you know ahead of time where you’ll be spending most of your day, you can spend a few minutes the night before looking up restaurants in the nearby area.
If you don’t find anything close by, consider widening your search area. You might end up having to walk a little farther, but at least you’ll be prepared. Rather than wasting your time going from restaurant to restaurant, trying to see if their menu is vegetarian-friendly, you’ll know where to go right away.