There's nothing quite like a vacation. Sure, it can be near impossible to believe that a few days of doing not much of anything can really bring about a change when you're knee-deep in deadlines, routines and the busy-ness of everyday life. And in truth, some vacations can add to your stress levels with all the packing, lugging and travel. Then, of course, there's the food. This is a particularly discomforting issue for vegans. Are there vacation spots that cater to the vegan diet?
The perfect vacation has many definitions. Be it a warm, sandy beach, back-country camping in a thick forest, or getting lost in the bustle of a world class city like Paris or New York, a change of scenery can do wonders for the spirit.
But the last thing anyone wants on a vacation is a lousy meal. And for vegans, they can be all too frequent in many parts of the world. How to avoid it? A few tips for the vegan traveler:
1. Look for a vacation rental option with a full kitchen. Many hotels and resorts offer condo-style accommodations, and you can also use sites like vacationrentals.com or airbnb.com to find vacation rental homes often for less than the price of a hotel. That way you can prepare your own meals, ensuring the quality of the food you eat. This can be especially fun in tropical settings like Hawaii where local farmers markets loaded with gorgeous tropical fruits and vegetables are abundant.
2. Stay at a vegan-friendly resort. Spots like California's incredible Standford Inn on the Mendocino coast caters to the vegan traveler. The Stanford Inn grows much of its own produce, and has nutritionists and healing services available to enhance your stay. While they may be the only fully vegan resort in the U.S., lots of retreat centers offer organic and vegetarian meals if you want to skip the cooking. Places like Esalen Institute offer a wide array of classes, workshops and other activities that can immerse you in tools and skills while also being pampered.
3. Get a guide.Traveling deep into the Colombian rainforest makes fine dining difficult for anyone, vegan or not. But you can find guides—either the human or print kind—that can give you some tips on how regional foods are typically prepared, how to ask for something to be made vegan or where to shop for ingredients to make your own.
4. Read the reviews. When traveling to a major city such as New York or Paris, you'll certainly have no problem finding restaurants. But which is best? And just because they say they're vegan or vegetarian doesn't mean they're any good. Use your Google to find out which spots are most loved by locals before venturing out for a meal.
5. Come prepared. Any healthy foodie or vegan knows the value of a juicy piece of organic fruit, some dried nuts or even an energy bar when options are slim. No matter where you're traveling, mitigate discomfort and food scarcity by always having something healthy on hand to tide you over.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger
Image: Rodrigo Soldon