World travelers tend to hail from the more developed nations. They’re used to choice when it comes to food; an embarrassment of riches allowing them to follow whichever dietary restrictions their taste buds, mind or medical situation require.
The reality of roaming the globe means that these same options won’t always be readily available. If you’ve got dietary restrictions it can be a challenging task to travel through certain parts of the world.
So what does a selective eater need to keep in mind when hitting the road? How does such a traveler ensure that they don’t go hungry for days at a time?
Like the emergency Mars Bar that you took hiking with you on school camp, having a store of backup food can be a real life saver when traveling through unknown territory. Keep long-life foods hidden away in your backpack should the hunger strike at an inopportune time, or if you’re unable to find appropriate food in an isolated place.
Language barriers and often questionable cooking methods will mean that those with allergies are far more likely to accidentally chew something problematic when traveling compared to when they’re at home. If you’ve got an allergy to a particular food, or indeed any other sort of dietary medical issue, it’s vital that you have quick and easy access to appropriate medication. Ensure that you stock up prior to take-off.
One of the safest ways to ensure that your meal follows your dietary requirements is to cook it yourself. Unfortunately the majority of accommodation options will offer up a fridge and microwave at best. Hunt for those that offer full kitchen facilities (hostels and Airbnbs are great for this), then scour local markets for fresh ingredients to cook with.
It’s the job of the receptionist or concierge at your accommodation to assist you in whatever way they can. Ask them what restaurants, eateries or markets they would recommend for someone in your situation. A learned local will be able to point you to that one vegetarian place in town, or list native dishes that fit your dietary needs.
Memorizing key phrases in the local tongue is vital for those that need to stick to a specific diet. Conveying ‘vegetarian’, ‘lactose intolerant’ or ‘allergic to nuts’ in a way that a local can understand could save you some serious heartache (or indeed, your life). Download offline language packages from Google Translate so that you can translate your requirements on the run without the need for an internet connection.Traveling with dietary requirements can certainly be challenging, but with good preparation it’s far from impossible. By being brave and taking heed of these tips food will never stand in the way of an adventure.