travel

Traveling as a Vegetarian

Since becoming a vegetarian more than a year ago, I have found one thing about travelling. The United States seems to be one of the easiest places to eat as a vegetarian. Chalk this up to being fluent in English, but I find eating abroad to be particularly difficult. China and Korea for me had similar issues, the menu's were so hard to read and sometimes dishes so difficult to discern what was in them. My stance here was to order where I could read the menu, and if I couldn't read it, avoid it.



France has be a particular problem in the past as well. I can actually read French decently, at least enough to know what I'm eating and there are very few places, at least around Aix En Provence, that offer vegetarian dishes... though the cafeteria where I worked over in France always had a vegetarian dish. This may have stemmed from the international nature of the project and having vegetarian cultures present, like many people from India work on the site, India have a large population of vegetarians and huge culture of vegetarian dishes.

My plane landed late last night from my trip to South Carolina. One that that made me happy was how easy it was to eat in the area we are moving to. In the south, BBQ, meat, fried chicken and the like are staples. Finding veggie burgers, vegetarian Persian food,  and more all around the area shows something I've really noticed recently, the US us becoming very friendly to not only vegetarians, but also vegans. 

Even in the back water towns of Oregon, I've found not only a veggie burger, but a veggie burger that rivals some of the best restaurants. In a town with only 2 restaurants, and maybe 500 people, it blew me away that I could find something to eat, and they carried soy milk for my chai tea.

It has been quite a while since I've made my way to England, so I'd love to walk around London and see what options are available there. I can say however that travelling in places you don't speak the language can make finding food very difficult.

Does anyone have tricks to eating abroad on a vegetarian diet?

Get Your Shots

Before travelling, there are many things to remember to do. Do you have a passport? Hotels need to be booked. Tickets to events and car rentals if driving. Visa's need to be applied for, and so many other factors. Getting proficient at all of these things makes travel smooth and painless.



There is on thing that must be remembered, though is often overlooked until the last minute if remembered at all... vaccinations. When travelling abroad, many different nations deal with many different types of diseases that may not be common to your home town. Even some of the countries you may consider first world, might have issues that you wouldn't expect. 

This became something I needed to deal with last year when visiting South Korea. Interestingly enough, Seoul does still deal with some issues with Typhoid and Hep A. These both stem from street food sellers who don't always use proper sanitation methods. While I probably could have gotten away without vaccinations, it really is better to be on the safe side. Also if you plan to travel extensively, these vaccinations will eventually be needed elsewhere as well. 

Typhoid is an easy one to take, just a few pills. Hep A is a shot, the booster is needed about 6 months after the first one and then you are protected. These are important and should not be discounted. Depending on where you are going, you could deal with anything from Malaria to Yellow Fever. Make sure to check out the CDC Website before your next trip, it is likely worth the short trip to a doctor to make sure you are protected.

 

Let The Snow Flow

As many of you are most likely aware of at this point, much of the East Coast is in the middle of a "blizzard." With the snow often comes travel delays, cancellations and interrupted plans. Due to the storm's predicted severity, many airlines preemptively cancelled flights and interrupted plans for many passengers. 

Almost all of the airlines are significantly impacted by this storm. American Airlines has hubs in JFK, Philadelphia and Charlotte. Delta has hubs in JFK and Atlanta. United has a hub in Newark. All of this means not only massive delays for those flying out from those cities, it also means huge delays and headaches for anyone connecting through these cities including a majority of international travel to Europe, Middle East and more. Living in Philadelphia, I can say that we are certainly raking in the snow at the moment, 8.8 inches where I live as of 6am this morning.

With all of the craziness that comes with air travel for most people, the last thing anyone wants is to re-book their trip. Most of the airlines have ways of making changes due to weather, without paying the normal fee. 

Here's where to go to make changes to your flights.

Those are the major carriers in the United States, other carriers have similar policies and can be re-booked, fees removed, even refunds in some cases. Look to your carriers website for more information if you don't know what your options are in these cases.

My Travel Apps

As I prepare to make my next trip to France, I am thinking about apps. With smartphones comes many app choices, each of them filling a need to provide something useful to the modern traveler. Before we get into my apps, let me say that my carrier is T-mobile. Now that they allow me to use data in other countries for free, make free text messages and for a small fee get high speed data internationally, they are the clear choice. Their coverage hasn't been the best in the past, but for me they have worked perfectly.



Now for apps...

Maps

Google Maps is my choice here for simple reasons, their search is unbeatable. The latest app update lets you download cities so you don't use data on a trip and it comes with so many features. Do keep in mind that some countries don't allow outside mapping companies so you will need to find a local app. This was the case for Seoul. Google maps covered me for 90% of things, but it was inaccurate in places and I needed a separate app for the subway. So just keep this in mind if you travel to South Korea or someplace with similar laws.

Travel Planning

I now use Worldmate, previously I was using Tripit, but have recently moved away from Tripit since Worldmate gives similar pro level benefits far a much more reasonable price. Worldmate is the one stop place to stare every piece of information you may need for a trip. Keep all of your plans including confirmation numbers, phone numbers, price paid for a hotel or airfare, all the way down to what your seat is on the plane. I use these as a general guide. Making plans, I enter my exact itinerary into the app including all the planned activities. Once at the location, the app is used as a guide for me. I don't follow it word for work activity wise, but just let it remind me of the things I wanted to see. 99% of the time I change the plans once there, but always use a few of the things I came up with before hand.

There are many other apps too, I'll list them all below but won't go into detail on them.

  • American Airlines (or other airline app)
  • OpenTable
  • Uber
  • Award Wallet
  • SPG (or other hotel app)
  • Amtrak
  • LoungeBuddy
  • SeatGuru
  • Flight Aware

Hope you find some new apps in the list that might be helpful for your next trip.

My Aircraft List

While I love travel, love visiting new paces, and love the challenge of getting places in first class, I am also a huge aviation nerd. My degree is in Aerospace Engineering, I've designed airplanes and helicopters.



Part of the fun of traveling is getting there as long as you can do it comfortably. The airplane nerd in me wants to do so on every aircraft type possible, so here is my current list of aircraft that I have been privileged to fly on.

Boeing

  • 717
  • 727
  • 737
  • 757
  • 767
  • 777

Airbus

  • A320
  • A330
  • A380

 

Then of course there is the list of aircraft I still want to fly on

Boeing

  • 747
  • 787

Airbus

  • A340
  • A350

 

I've been attempting to plan my travel to get me on board any number of these aircraft. As you may already know, my trip to Beuns Aires will grab me a place on a 787 in business class. My flight to Cape Town sometime next year should land me economy on an A350, and there is the possibility of flying a 747 return from Cape Town. 

I haven't gone as far as to keep track of each planes variant type yet, but that may very well come soon. 

Beyond Airbus and Being, there are many other types of aircraft I've flown on. Embraer, Dehavilland, and Bombardier to name a few of those aircraft manufacturers. Do you have a favorite aircraft or list that you'd like to fly on?