I know I am SO fortunate to be able to vacation with people who are respectful of my choices, but not everyone is as lucky as I am. So I wanted to share some tips for any other vegans who are vacationing with or spending an extended period of time with non-vegans.
Be honest, but open.
It’s really important that you make clear to the people you’ll be spending the next few days or weeks with exactly what your dietary restrictions are. If you eat vegan at home, but choose not to eat strictly vegan at restaurants, that’s fine, but be sure to let people know up front so you don’t have to have an awkward “so what are you?” conversation while at the restaurant. Realize that not everyone will be open to or respectful of your choices, but you should be open to and respectful of the choices that others make when it comes to their diet.
Choose restaurants that will satisfy everyone’s needs.
Before you even leave for the vacation, start looking at the menus of restaurants close to where you’ll be staying. As you look for restaurants, be sure that everyone can find something on the menu they’ll like. If there’s a vegan restaurant in the area and everyone is open to trying it, that’s great! But, they may not be and that has to be okay, too. Find a restaurant that everyone can live with!
Prepare a vegan meal that everyone can enjoy.
If you are staying in a place with a kitchen, this is a great way to show off some tasty, easy vegan recipes that might peak the interest of the non-vegans you’ll be with. If not everybody is open to eating a completely vegan meal, then compromise and offer to prepare a side dish to go along with whatever they are choosing to eat. If there’s no kitchen, bring a favorite vegan snack to share with everybody. The point here is to get the willing to try something that’s vegan and with variety of vegan meats today they will surely do.
Respect other people’s choices.
This is huge. It’s also a challenge to respect your loved-ones dietary choices when you feel you have the solution to all of their ailments. This was the hardest for me to learn and I still catch myself passing judgement when I see people who “know better” eating meat or dairy. I found myself constantly wanting to share the health or environmental statistics about eating animal products. What I’ve learned is that people who are ready to hear that message will ask you, especially if you have been respectful of their choices in the past.
Have fun – Don’t make it all about your diet!
This is, after all, a vacation! Enjoy your surroundings and company and be as present as possible.