Being vegan is the best thing I’ve done. True. Being vegan makes me feel great. Also true. Being vegan is always easy and super accessible. Not always as true as I’d like.
When at home, and in a comfortable radius of it (my known and safe territory) eating plant-based could not be anymore enjoyable and convenient than it is; I know that wherever I go there will be options for me, whether those are from supermarkets or restaurants and cafes, vegans are always warmly welcomed and catered for. However, the situation becomes more complicated when traveling, especially if the food at your destination is provided by the place you’re staying, this is something that I experienced, which undoubtedly placed me into a pickle.
On the weekend I traveled to Disneyland Paris, naturally, I had the highest expectations for the experience, which the trip lived up to, apart from one aspect: food. Luckily, like with everywhere I go, I packed numerous snacks including fresh fruits and bars, which I anticipated consuming only in an emergency but, to my surprise, the whole trip became one.
For the journey up I prepared a breakfast smoothie which included oats, berries, nut butter, and spinach, as well as lunch which consisted of roasted butternut squash with quinoa, charred broccoli, miso, and greens. However, my rations ran out at a rapid pace and I was left to the tombola game of the service station’s and hotel’s options.
Baguettes. That is all I can say.
Being in France, I was expecting to find many bakery options for breakfast, which there were, but what I wasn’t expecting was there to only be one vegan option available; baguettes. The word, and thought of the food haunt me still. Don’t get me wrong, I am a sucker for fresh crusty bread, but when bread becomes your only food group, and let me stress that it was plain bread, your love for it becomes timid.
Of course, the park itself catered for vegans; I was pleasantly surprised by a salad and altered fajitas to suit my requirements, but on all other occasions the baguette played the star. The search for food became more tiresome and so I was left to my own devices of nut bars; it occurred to me that three days of beige foods not only makes you crave fruit and veggies but also plays with your stomach, which consequently left me searching for a shop that would stock the fresh produce that my body cried for.
What to consider when traveling:
The trip taught me many lessons and so I can’t fault it in any way. I now know that to stay prepared and cautious, I should book hotels with supermarkets and shops nearby, which not only widens food options but also allows you to save money through self-catering.
Another tip is to always come as prepared as your luggage allows you to be; by that I mean to take as much food as you can! Pack your favorite on-the-go snacks and fruits which travel well and trust me that you will not regret this step, and will be saved by it on many occasions.
My final tip is, in my eyes, the most crucial one, and that is to not be afraid to ask! I was delighted when I learned that the staff was happy to alter menu items to cater to me, all it took was a polite conversation with the chefs at restaurants. Sometimes it meant that my meal was made up of a combination of side orders and at other times ingredients were simply removed, but every time the meal was made with no complaints.
So, pack your suitcase, stock up on snacks, and hit the road.