August is just around the corner. For serious summer enthusiasts, this change in the calendar can be a bit of a let down. But it’s still one whole month! Here’s one way to make the final weeks of summer last longer: travel.

I don’t mean the staycation, one-state-over, bus or train kind of travel; I’m talking about really getting out there and immersing yourself in a totally new environment. Visit that one country you’ve been dying to see for years. (Yup, turn off your air-conditioning now to save those extra pennies.)

Travelling on a vegan diet can be scary… From language barriers to cultural ones, it’s hard to find the balance between sticking true to your morals and not offending your host country. Here are some helpful sites and sources to bring your best vegan self across the world.

Guides and Info:

Veggie Passport: First things first: download this app from Lior Weinstein to help your express your dietary restrictions in 33 languages. The 99 cents spent on the Veggie Passport could save you a lot of discomfort (and hunger) later on.

Happy Cow:  Many savvy vegans and vegetarians are familiar with the Happy Cow site which offers everything veg from recipes to forums to no-no food lists for the meat-free. But if you didn’t know about Happy Cow’s restaurant feature,
now is the time to get familiar with it. The website helps you track down vegetarian restaurants all across the globe; they even recommend reading for you while you’re there. Wait – it get’s better! While you’re busy looking up “I don’t eat meat” in Bulgarian on your iPhone, a friend can be searching the Happy Cow Mobile App on their Droid to find the best vegetarian restaurant in downtown Sofia (that’s the extent of my Bulgarian knowledge). Ah, technology.

Vegan Around the World Network:  If you’re a vegan staying right on your couch, I still urge you to join the VATW network. It’s a pretty small site with just over 1,000 members, but there’s plenty of valuable information scattered around the website. Check out the Vegan Travel Questions and Ideas  to find some helpful information for your trip.

Vegan Travel Blogs:  Here’s a list (courtesy of Circle Our Earth) of various vegan travel blogs across the web.
Some of the pictures on these blogs are reason enough to visit (see: The Healthy Voyager), but the content is what will make you stay. No better way to get tips about travelling vegan than from those who have already done it before!

How to Travel the World as a Vegan:  This book by Maria Giurcan is the ultimate international vegan travel guide, best for those planning a multiple-country trip. Available electronically only, the book starts you from square one (vegan luggage) all the way to Asia and beyond. Giurcan introduces her book by mentioning her initial fear of flying: clearly she’s overcome that by travelling to almost every country on planet Earth.

Travel Recommendations:

Veggie Tours: Withtrips running just over a week located in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, the Veggie Tours trips are ideal for a traveler looking for a bit of structure. With organized trips and free days, these trips take you into the hearts of these beautiful countries. Aside from shuttling you to marketplaces and touring you through ruins and trails, the Veggie Tours group offers vegetarian meals every day. You can ditch the Veggie Passport if you opt into one of these programs.

Vegan Caribbean Cruise: The thought that it may be less humid on the Caribbean ocean than it is in downtown Boston right now may be blurring my logic a bit, but this trip seems perfect. The catch is that the ship doesn’t leave from Florida until March, but my guess is that I would be equally happy to get out of the city then as I am now. This Holistic Holiday at Sea trip is all-inclusive, offering everything from lectures to Pilates classes to cooking courses and more. And of course entirely vegan cuisine offerings. The boat stops in at ports in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Nassau, Bahamas…Sign me up.

La Maison du Vert (Normandy, France):  Set on 2.5 acres of organic gardens in the small town of Ticheville, La Maison du Vert is housed in a 1903 bakery of red bricks. The inn only has three bedrooms, but their fourth option is pretty spectacular: La Petite Maison Blanche is a little cottage in the backyard of the hotel that fits up to 6 people. A beautiful place for a vegetarian retreat – and probably the only location in France with an organic, vegan wine list!

Green Lodge (West Cork, Ireland): Located not too far from the small town of Bantry but removed enough for privacy, the Green Lodge has fully stocked apartments available for families, couples, or singles. With a stunning ten acres of land surrounding the hotel, it’s hard to imagine being pulled by any attraction other than the land. With seasonal organic vegetables and daily homebaked organic bread, the Green Lodge is a must-visit for those visiting South West Ireland.

South East Asia Hotel (Singapore, Singapore): The South East Asia Hotel in downtown Singapore houses the Kwan Im Vegetarian Restaurant with an impressive and varied menu of Asian vegetarian cuisine. But it certainly won’t be the only place you dine if you decide to stay at the South East Asia Hotel – Singapore’s cultural diversity lends itself to a passion for food and a love of diversity that manifests itself in the wonderful restaurants and cafés across the city. An ideal trip for a vegan traveler with a love for pan-Asian cuisine and culture.

Waterfall Villa (Dominical, Costa Rica): Undoubtedly romantic, the three Waterfall Villas are located in the beautiful Baru Tropical Rainforest with balconies jutting through the foliage and hanging above (private) waterfalls. The best part may be that the hotel specializes in vegan, vegetarian, and raw cuisine. They also offer yoga classes that are usually complementary. But we had you at “Waterfall Villa,” right?

Samhitakasha Cob House (Muizenberg, South Africa): Ever wanted to visit Cape Town? Here’s your chance to do it – in the greenest way possible. A quick peek at the Cob House’s “Ethics” page will show you that this hotel is one of a kind.
Biodegradable, organic, and sustainable are the big principles of the Cob House, and their importance can be seen in the very structure of the hotel: the building is made out of mud and straw. A stunning location backed by wonderful principles makes the Cob House a perfect getaway.

Los Gatos (Casinos, Spain):  Are you a cat lover (like I am)? This is the place for you, although you probably surmised as much when you looked at the name of this bed and breakfast. Located 50 kms from Valencia, this inn overlooks the mountains and serves vegetarian, organic fare. Wondering about the cats? The staff owns quite a few who roam freely around the building. The best part of this place (besides its extraordinary pricing)? The art lessons provided by the innkeeper, artist Joost Gerritsen. So if you like drawing cats…

Of course this is just a start. There are hundreds of vegan and vegetarian hotels across the world, and plenty of great resources to track down the right one for you. Your vegan diet shouldn’t inhibit you from travelling – it should be all the more reason to get out there and find new cuisine! Enjoy those last days of summer, and plan your final August trip today.

-Jessica Nicholson 

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