Travel Tip Tuesday: Being Vegetarian on Tour

Are you a vegetarian about to take a Contiki tour?  If you’re like us, you probably love food.  Contiki strives to accommodate the dietary needs of all of our passengers and one of our most frequently asked questions is about food options on tour for vegetarians.

We asked two of our resident Contiki staffers to give some general tips and advice about what food options they have encountered while on the road with Contiki.  Check it out!

From Alexandra P., Reservations Specialist

As a seasoned traveler, I learned early on that being a vegetarian can be a little difficult when traveling abroad.   Some great tips I’ve learned are:

  • In advance, advise your airline of your dietary needs.
    Bring snack foods, as some locations won’t be able to accommodate your meatless diet.
  • You can bring protein bars, pretzels, and peanut butter
  • Visit a local grocery store, rather than a restaurant or fast food chain at service stops
  • Learn the language (i.e. “carne” is meat in Spanish) – Comida Vegetariana?
  • Ask questions, usually the waiter can suggest options for you
  • Don’t be surprised if you get a lot of questions, they are just trying to find you options
  • Be flexible.  Go into the trip understanding that you may have to eat salad, pasta, or risotto for dinner a couple nights in a row.

I’ve traveled on 5 Contiki tours, and never had a problem being a vegetarian.  The tour manager asks on the first day “If you have a dietary need, please tell me as I come around the coach.”  He will set up a special order for you at each dinner stop.  With a large group, you will notice that the “special” meals are usually served separate from the “normal” meals.  Basically, you will be served first, or last.  Contiki usually will include all your breakfasts, and they are served buffet style in the hotel.  This is a great opportunity to pick and choose what you’d like to eat.  If you have flexibility with fish or chicken, some included meals will have the option to choose your main course.  You will get to check the box: Chicken, Fish, or Vegetarian.  Your tour manager is your best resource with travelling on a Contiki Tour.  Feel free to ask him if you have any questions, as he is always happy to help make your experience the best.

Here are some vegetarian meals I’ve enjoyed on tour:

Vegetarian Pasty in Bath, England:

Portobello Mushroom Burger with Sweet Potato Mash at Nando’s in London, England:

Margarita pizza at a service stop in Italy:

In Munich at the Bavarian Beer Hall (optional excursion), fried cottage cheese with veggies and tomato sauce:

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Additional General tips from Ashley W., Business Development Coordinator

The benefit of being on a Contiki is the Tour Manager. The Tour Manager is always great about letting the restaurant know about needing vegetarian meals. They call ahead and prepare meals for all inclusions and optional meals to ensure you have a meal that fits your dietary needs. They tend to have veggies on the plate – may sound silly but Europeans and other regions in general are not big vegetable people, so it’s a great way to get a healthy meal and get some much needed vitamins!

Europe: If on a budget tour a lot of meals are prepared by onsite cooks, so you have a great special meals! Hotel tours there are usually never any issues for meeting dietary restrictions and the veggie options I have had are delicious – yummy fresh pastas, pizza and veggies!

Australia & NZ: Healthy options! In a land of meat pies and potatoes it’s a great healthy way to eat. Never had any issues in either country – even traveling through the Outback! The idea of meat substitutes has come a long way in the past 5 or so years in this part of the world, which makes it easier to eat vegetarian while traveling and having options. In NZ there are lots of Indian and Asian restaurants, so choices there tend to be plentiful.

Southeast Asia: There are TONS of veggie friendly options here. They have tofu options and sometimes more veggie choices than not!

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There you have it!  Be sure to connect on the Exchange or find fellow travelers on Contiki Meetups to find others who share your passion for meatless cuisine.  Happy travels and happy eating!

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