Traveling home for the holidays--for vegans and everyone else--can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be. With a bit of prep and a positive attitude, you can not only survive dinner at Grandma's house, but really enjoy it.
Here, blogger and author Caitlin Galer-Unti shares her top five tips for getting through this holiday season with grace and ease--because the only difficulty you should have this time of year should be choosing between spiked or unspiked dairy-free eggnog.
Tip #1: Plan ahead
Research vegan-friendly restaurants and shops ahead of time; resources like HappyCow and VegDining are helpful. Don’t forget to check their holiday opening times! See if someone in your family is adventurous and wants to try them with you, but don’t be afraid to go on your own, especially if you want a little quiet time to escape from the family holiday madness.
Tip #2: Embrace the Chain Restaurant
Have a list handy of vegan options at chain restaurants at the ready (or use the Vegan Xpress app), and familiarize yourself with common veganizable dishes. For example:
Pack some fruit and nut bars, vegan ramen and instant food, so even if Auntie Sarah forgets to use oil and puts butter on all the vegetables you won’t starve. Know some simple recipes you can make with limited ingredients and kitchen equipment.
Tip #4: Enlist Social Support
The most important thing is not to feel isolated. If you don’t have any vegan friends, now is a good time to make some! Look for a local vegan group on Meetup.com or via social media, or join a vegan group on Facebook.
Tip #5: Fly the Vegan-Friendly Skies
If like many of us you’re flying home for the holidays, you’ll want to prepare for the flight:
Looking for more information and advice on vegan travel (to any location and at any time of year)? Check out The Essential Vegan Travel Guide, available on Kindle and as a paperback.
Caitlin Galer-Unti is a vegan food and travel writer currently living in Barcelona, Spain. She's traveled to 29 countries (and counting) and blogs about the vegan food she finds around the world at theveganword.com, which has been featured on The New York Times and Yahoo! The Essential Vegan Travel Guide is her first book.