Vegan Travel Interview with Alternative Travelers

Sam and Veren, a couple from NYC that explores the world on a low budget and in an alternative and sustainable way. We prefer to slow travel and do so through creative cost-saving methods like housesitting, which helps us make meaningful connections everywhere we go. We started Alternative Travelers to show that neither traveling nor eating vegan has to be expensive or difficult and that life can have as many options as you have imagination.



IG: Instagram.com/Alternativetravelers

Website: https://alternativetravelers.com/


You may remember us meeting up with Sam and Veren on our trip to Madrid back in January 2017. We were lucky enough to get to hang out with them in Madrid and go for a meal. We only had a short time in Madrid but they helped us make the most of it thanks to their insider knowledge of Madrid and the vegan scene there. They have quite a unique approach to travel and luckily we got a chance to interview them so hopefully we can learn a thing or two about their travel style.

We also had them on our blog for our mini Vegan Travel Interviews when we asked seven other vegan travel bloggers the following questions:
Why are you travelling? Why did you become vegan?
and Where in the world did you discover your best meal/vegan find?
Anyway, on with the questions!


Which came first travel or veganism? How did one affect the other?

We both had been traveling since before we went vegan. But we’ve found that being vegan has only enhanced our travels! We connect with local vegan communities and restaurants wherever we go. Also, learning about environmental and ethical issues in different places has only strengthened our being vegan.



Which country would you move to for their vegan scene?

Ooh that’s hard to say as I don’t think we’d move somewhere only because of the vegan scene.  There is a lot more to a place than how vegan-friendly it is, of course! Also vegan scenes seem to be really local and more city-focused rather than country focused. There are great vegan movements in Germany, the UK, and the U.S., but it does really depend where you are within those countries. Each of these places has their own problems with moving there (affordability, heathcare, etc), so it’d have to be more than just the vegan scene to get us to move. We wish we could answer this one more easily!



Would you rather go to any vegan restaurant OR local non-veg restaurants for veganised meals? Why?

We’d rather go to a vegan restaurant as we like to support local vegan movements. Restaurants with vegan meals are also important for making veganism more mainstream, and for those that might travel with non-vegan partners or friends. But as we are both vegan, we love to eat at all vegan restaurants. It’s hard to beat going to a place where you don’t have to worry whether something’s vegan!


What resource do you use when finding vegan food on your travels?

We love to do research before and during a trip using multiple sources. Usually we start with HappyCow, Google for local vegan blogs, search vegan Facebook groups, search local vegan Instagram hashtags, and check Pinterest!


Do you research how vegan friendly a destination is before booking your travels?

We generally only travel via house sitting or if we are visiting friends, so that is the primary factor in deciding where we travel. After that, we like to research the vegan food wherever we are going as it is fun to learn about all the delicious food we are going to eat! Mostly our travels have been Europe based for the past few years and Western Europe is overall pretty vegan friendly. (We even wrote a post about the top 10 Most Vegan-Friendly Cities in Europe and some are quite surprising!)
But also, if we had the opportunity to go somewhere really cool that wasn’t great for vegans, we wouldn’t turn it down! For example, Japan is one of our dream destinations, but it’s supposedly not great for vegans. That doesn’t stop us from wanting to go and I’m sure we’ll still have a great time whenever we do make the trip. How vegan-friendly a place is isn’t the number one determining factor of where we go.



Do you prefer travelling to vegan-friendly destinations? Or do you prefer to discover how vegan-friendly a place is when you arrive?

Since food is such a big part of traveling, we like to do research before, as we mentioned above. We like to get an idea of how the place will be, but we also love discovering things when we arrive that you just can’t research online. While we tend to be more motivated to go to places that are known to be vegan-friendly, we wouldn’t turn down a great opportunity to go somewhere not known to be vegan-friendly. We can always cook or find some accidentally vegan dishes to try.



Which vegan-friendly places would you recommend others visit?

Berlin and Portland are definitely the most vegan-friendly places we’ve been to. There is so much creative delicious food in both of these cities. In both places you can expect to find vegan options on the menus at a good percentage of the restaurants, not just the vegan ones. We went to Berlin twice last year and are currently house sitting in Portland. It’s worth noting that we love the cities not just for their veganness, but for the general vibe: open, alternative, very green with lots of parks, bikable, walkable, etc. There’s a lot that goes into whether we enjoy a place.



How do you stay healthy while travelling? What are your go-to snacks?

We maintain a workout routine while on the road – we do karate, yoga, go for runs, and use fitness bands that are easy to pack. We cook at home a lot and always start the day with a healthy breakfast, whether it’s a smoothie, oatmeal, or just some fruit. Our go-to snacks are dates (super filling and travel well), apples, bananas, and nuts.



Do you prefer cooking your own meals when travelling or do you like eating out at restaurants?

We like to do a mix of both and how much eating out we do usually depends on how long we are staying in a place and how many places we want to eat at. While we were in Brighton, UK over last summer, we ate out much more than we were used to since we were only there 2 weeks and there were so many places to try! It was all delicious and we have no regrets but it was a bit too much after a while. Generally we try to keep it to eating out every few days. It’s much healthier and cheaper too.



How do you choose the type of accommodation you want to stay in?

We usually only travel via house sitting these days. It’s our favorite way to travel! We save money, take care of cute pets, and have a home of our own to stay in. Lining up house sits takes out so much of the travel stress of lining up accommodations as well. We love it!



Would you rather solo travel, travel with someone or go on group tours?

We usually travel together and/or with a friend. We really dislike group tours as we are very independent and don’t like our plans set for us. Group trips tend to move very quickly and pack in a ton of events into each day, leaving no time for reflection. We prefer to slow travel as we truly believe that it’s the best way to soak up the culture of a place.
Also, while we do love meeting people while traveling, spending days on end with the same group of people might be too much. We value our time by ourselves so that when we do meet up with people we can truly connect and enjoy our time together.



Do you document your vegan travel finds? if so, please link post or page

Yes! We document our finds on our Instagram and write vegan city guides which you can find here. We also just wrote a full book: The Alternative Traveler’s Madrid Vegan Guidebook. We lived in the city for two years and it’s an unexpected vegan treasure trove of a city!

What is your best travel advice/tip for a new travelling vegan?

Don’t be afraid! So many newbie vegans, vegetarians, or would-be vegans are really apprehensive of traveling because they don’t know what to expect and think they’ll end up with a sad salad everywhere. There is plant-based food to be found in all corners of the globe, it just might take a little more planning than most people are used to, just rolling up to any restaurant and being able to eat something off the menu. But the Internet is such a great resource to turn to and there is so much online that can help in planning your trips and assuaging fears. We love that there are so many vegan travel blogs now showing people that traveling as a vegan is not only possibly but very enjoyable!




Thank you, Sam and Veren, for participating in our vegan travel interview! 

If you are a vegan traveller and would like to be included in our next mini interviews or star in a post of your own on your vegan travel lifestyle please email us at wanderlustvegans@gmail.com for more details.

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