With 14 years as a vegan and many of those spent traveling the world, Brighde Reed, married her two passions co-founding World Vegan Travel (WVT). WVT runs luxury vegan group tours, handling everything from research to working as the tour leaders themselves.
Their food-inclusive adventures bring like-minded (and like-eaters) travelers together to travel across the world with plant-based food at the center of everything they do. Here are some of her top tips and hot takes for traveling as a vegan.
Where do you run vegan tours and where is your next one headed?
As I write this, we have just finished our Northern Italy Trip and are about to put the finishing touches on our September French Countryside trip to one of the least vegan-friendly places in the world – South West France where we will be staying in non-vegan hotels and restaurants pretty much the whole time. All this is to say: vegan travel is getting easier!
Basically, we run trips to lots of different destinations. Botswana, Rwanda and South Africa in Africa, Vietnam and Thailand in Asia and France and Italy in Europe. We have some new destinations coming up too, including Japan in 2024!
We’re seeing a rise in plant-based food lovers, particularly in travel and tourism. What is driving this trend?
I think more people are going vegan and the demographic makeup of these groups is changing – more older individuals are making the switch as of recently. People of all ages and incomes want to travel and those who have busy work lives just want someone else to do the planning so they can have an excellent vegan experience when traveling. These are just our observations based on the conversations we have with our travelers and the feedback we receive.
Also, we are so surprised to have many people who join our trips who are not actually vegan. They might be the partner or friend of a vegan and were happy to take a vegan vacation so their loved one didn’t struggle with food choices. It’s always nice to ask the non-vegans if they actually enjoyed the food, and they always say that they do.
What was your favorite country so far that boasts extensive vegan cuisine?
Surprising to some, I would say Italy. Italian food, especially the food in the center and south of Italy is accidentally vegan-friendly because vegetables and fruit are a huge part of the traditional diet. Even restaurants that are not vegan-friendly will put something together for you. Veganism is growing and as a result, you can find many vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants around the world. Every year, it seems to get easier and easier to plan trips with more restaurants and accommodations offering more vegan options.
Where are you most likely to find plant-based food in your travels?
Thailand is a fabulous place for vegan travel experiences. Eating vegan is something that many Thai Buddhists do, at least for a certain amount of time per year. The produce is amazing there and I’ve found that the country has jumped on this trend, meaning you can find so many vegan restaurants throughout Thailand and even some vegan hotels.
What advice would you have for travelers who want to experience a vegan vacation?
The best way to experience a vegan vacation is to use the services of experienced vegan travel professionals. Whether it is a group tour company like World Vegan Travel or a full-service vegan travel agent. While it is possible to do a lot of research by yourself, using the services of professionals will save you a lot of time researching and putting together an itinerary especially if you are hoping to travel to several different places on one trip.