Traveling is best done with a good bit of planning. Where will you stay? What will you see? And when in search of the best vegan food, it can take a little extra planning. Whether you’re looking for easy restaurants and supermarkets, finding them has never been easier. But, even as more options become available, sometimes language barriers can make it tricky to navigate your destination. And what about finding the hidden gems that only the locals know about? Every city has them. That’s where vegan tour guide network The Veganary can help.
The Veganary was founded by Natan Saffer and Shani Zukerman, two travelers who believe that being vegan in a foreign country is much more than just finding a good restaurant.
As travelers, they knew how important it is to know how to communicate their needs to local restaurants, which groceries they can buy to stock up on snacks, and how to find something to eat when there are no vegan restaurants.
Making Vegan Travel Easy
Saffer and Zukerman tested their idea on themselves first. Before arriving at a new destination, they would reach out to local vegans on social media to plan meet-ups. It worked — and they also connected with new people along the way.
“Most of the information available nowadays online for traveling vegans are mostly written by vegan travelers, like ourselves, who share personal travel experiences,” Saffer tells LIVEKINDLY.
Together, they launched the Veganary in April 2019—a way to connect tourists to local vegans in 67 countries. Now, they’ve added mini-tours.
Saffer and Zukerman decided to take a different approach to vegan travel.
“Instead of sharing our personal experiences, we wanted to create a platform that will provide vegan related information in the most convenient and comprehensible way,” says Saffer.
Every destination on the website, which was crowdsourced with the help of more than 100 vegans, is broken into categories. That way, travelers get the most authentic information from a reliable source: info on the country’s relationship with veganism, local food, grocery stores and what food is available.
They also offer up vegan food vocabulary (so not only do you learn how to order food, but also how to read packaging labels), travel tips and sites, information on local animal sanctuaries and volunteer opportunities. There is also a forum where locals can answer questions about anything vegan. The website adds new restaurants, markets, and activities daily.
Uncovering Hidden Gems
Now, the Veganary is taking it to the next level. With mini guided tours, travelers will be paired up with a local vegan for two to four hours. They’ll bring you to local restaurants, cafes, and street food stalls.
“When you live in a country, it’s easy to know how to get by as vegans, but it all changes when you arrive in a country that you are unfamiliar with,” says Zukerman. “This is not because the country is unfriendly to vegans, but rather since the foods and traditions are so different from what you are familiar with. This concern makes most vegans search frantically online to get some kind of understanding about the food in their upcoming destination.”
Guided tours don’t just get rid of precious travel time spent researching vegan options. They also lay the groundwork for creating an international community. Your tour guide will even leave you with helpful information to navigate the area for vegan food.
But, it’s not only about finding restaurants. Guides can also point to health food stores (where you can learn about local vegan food and brush up on vocabulary) and markets. They’ll even help you find animal-friendly volunteer opportunities and entertainment.
The Veganary also helps create economic hubs by providing tour guides with part-time income. It also gives a big boost to local vegan businesses. Plus, you’ll make friends along the way with like-minded vegans from all across the globe.
Top Travel Destinations
Mini tours are set to take place in 20 top travel destinations this year: Amsterdam, Bangkok, Barcelona, Beijing, Berlin, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, Nairobi, New York, Paris, Prague, Rio De Janeiro, Rome, Seoul, Dubai, Singapore, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, and Vancouver. And, Saffer and Zuckerman say the plan is to use crowdfunding to reach 100 major cities worldwide.
“Imagine instead of researching for days online and still being stressed, you can meet up with a local vegan on the day of your arrival,” says Zukerman.“They will show you around, while sharing with you all the inputs only a local vegan can provide. You will learn about local vegan products, taste some local dishes and learn how to veganize them yourself, and even practice some vegan related words in the local language.”
To learn more about the Veganary Tours, visit the website and the Indiegogo page.