Vegetarian Food On Flights: Doesn’t It Just Make Sense?


It’s certainly not impossible to travel as a vegetarian, but it’s not always easy. Not only do I not eat meat, but I usually try my best to refrain from animal products of any sort. Navigating this kind of diet abroad can be tricky, but airlines could do their part to make it easier. On one of my most recent flights, my husband was literally mocked for wanting meat-free food, even if that just meant a piece of bread. All maliciousness aside, what always gets me upset about the pitiful selection of vegetarian food on flights is the pure logistics of it from an airline’s standpoint.From a purely business perspective, it seems like a no-brainer that airlines would serve vegetarian options. Everyone eats vegetables (or should). Not everyone eats meat. In fact, some of the latest estimates say that there are more than 400 million vegetarians worldwide. While both meat and vegetables can rot or become otherwise tainted, the risks of contamination are higher with meat, especially when stored for long-term use, not to mention that the meat that does have a long shelf life isn’t usually the popular choice — give me canned beans over canned Spam any day. Meat is also expensive!

I realize that passengers can usually request food that meets their personal dietary restrictions for flights in advance. What I don’t realize is why plant-based food should be a special request. It seems to me that increasing the availability of vegetarian food on flights wouldn’t just satisfy the millions of vegetarians who travel as well as many non-vegetarians who are more than happy to eat plants, but it would be good for the bottom line, too.

Travel Tip: Vegetarian Food That May Not Be Vegetarian

5 Detoxifying Spring Break Destinations

Spring break is a vacation time of the year wherein many people let loose and eat and drink with abandon. Fun as that might seem to some, your idea of a good time might be one that isn’t filled with worries about the pounds you’re packing on or the detox you’re going to need post-vacation to recover from all of the alcohol. If you’re looking for an detoxifying escape plan this spring, here are some ideas that will get you started.

1. Sweet + Thrasher: St Lawrence Gap, Barbados

This resort is offering a health-conscious vacation package called “Fitness + Foolishness” for April 18-22. The package includes daily yoga, Pilates, morning runs, surf classes and dancing in the evening at the hot spots in town.2. Playa Nicuesa: Gulfo Dulce, Costa Rica
Playa Nicuesa is an eco-friendly lodge in Southern Costa Rica. Fully immersed in the rain forest, this beautiful destination can only be reached by boat. Once you’re there, you’ll take part in fresh and communal meals and have an assortment of detoxifying activities to choose from in between, including yoga, massage, hikes through the rainforest, swimming and more.

3. Esperanza, An Aubrege Resort: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
This “Find Your Balance” program offers guests vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free meals and the resort offers relaxing ways to stay in shape. Spend your time attending vegetarian cooking classes, practicing yoga in a private lesson or enjoying a massage at the spa.

4. Wanderlust Festival: Vermont, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Canada and Chile

The Wanderlust Festival’s locations this year are all fantastic and each offer their own advantages. While attending this festival, you can join in on a yoga class and indulge in the food at the healthy marketplace during the day and see live music at night.

5. Grand Velas Resort and Spa: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
This grand expanse of luxurious accommodations is the perfect place to pamper yourself and detox this spring if you’re looking for something top-notch. The resort is all-inclusive and you’ll have your choice of fresh juice, salads and veggie-heavy meals – the restaurants are also equipped to adjust their menu to your diet if you ask. When you’re not taking advantage of the detoxifying food options, you can spend your time swimming, scuba diving, kayaking, snorkeling, doing yoga or working out in the resort’s fitness center.

[Photo Credit: Elizabeth Seward]

Three Unique Spring Break Ideas

Norfolk, Virginia: Thanks to PETA, it’s the next best destination for vegetarians


It seems likely that the site of the world’s largest Naval would be a place where meat monopolizes the menu. But in Norfolk, Virginia that’s simply not the case. The small city has truly embraced vegetarianism (and veganism as well), with nearly all of the restaurants featuring an ample list of veg-friendly options-plus plenty of places that cater solely to the meat-free crowd.

Obviously, larger cities like New York, San Francisco, and Toronto or towns that attract more eclectic inhabitants such as Portland, Bloomington, and Austin have plenty of demand for vegetarian eateries. In Norfolk, however, something else seems to be at work. The big influencer is actually the world’s largest animal rights organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which is based there. For many positions at the organization, it’s actually a requirement that the employee is vegan-and it’s a bit of a no-brainer that the office culture probably dictates most employees stray from meat.

As the sailors filter in and out of the city, the PETA employees stay. As a result, there are plenty of places for vegetarians to eat morning, noon, and night. In the funky neighborhood of Ghent alone, there is a laundry list of over two-dozen restaurants that cater to vegetarians-and all seem to have mastered clearly marking menus for easy perusal.

Just a few of the favored pit-stops for vegetarians around Norfolk include Machismo Burrito Bar for Tex-Mex covered with nondairy sour cream and cheese, Rajput for Indian cuisine like veggie samosas and tofu palak, and Azar’s Market & Cafe for over 40 meat-free Mediterranean options. The menu at The Ten Top is dominated by veggies, and at Dragon City you can get cheap Chinese takeout that is assuredly vegan. Bella Pizzeria serves up pizza with soy cheese, and Yorgo’s Bageldashery goes above and beyond tofu cream cheese by serving a tempeh BLT wrap and “egg” salad. Even a local greasy spoon, the Donut Dinette, serves soy sausage with breakfast and vegan chicken salad for lunch.


Of course, the food isn’t the only draw to this seaport. There’s wine, too. Each year in May, the city’s waterfront becomes home to the Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival, when visitors pack the downtown area to sample Virginia’s finest vino and listen to live music.

But seriously: Besides food and wine, Norfolk has historical and cultural attractions that draw visitors year-round. History buffs will want to explore the naval museum Nauticus, where you can walk the decks of the impressive USS Battleship Wisconsin, a retired ship that’s storied history launched during World War II and continues through firing the first four missiles in Operation Desert Storm. Art lovers, on the other hand, should head to the Chrysler Museum of Art to peruse the expansive collection of 62 galleries or partake in a glass blowing workshop at the museum’s brand new studio. It’s also a good idea to weave through the local artist studios at d’ART Center, or possibly even plan a visit around the Stockley Gardens Arts Festival, a free event that brings 25,000 people to a local park (and just so happens to coincide with the Wine Festival in May).

No matter why you choose to come to Norfolk, it’s a city that is sure to surprise you once you arrive. My advice is to come for the food and wine, and stay for the great festivals and museums.

[Photos by Libby Zay]

Tips for traveling Cuzco, Peru, on a budget

traveling on a budget through cusco, peruWhen traveling in Cuzco, Peru, it can be easy to spend more money than you budgeted for, especially with the myriad tour agencies offering treks and sightseeing adventures as well as the many restaurants offering overpriced comfort food. Luckily, there are still ways to save money on food, activities, and accommodation while traveling through this popular city.

Eating on a Budget

One thing to remember is that while you may be drawn to the big, touristy eateries because they are familiar and comfortable, you are going to end up paying the price. Look around a bit and you’ll see that there are plenty of smaller restaurants that can give you delicious food at a budget-friendly price. For example, in their blog Jack and Jill Travel the World, the bloggers talk about how a lunch at Jack’s Cafe, a popular tourist restaurant, will cost about 20 soles, while at the eatery right next door patrons can order a soup, a main course, and a drink for only 5 soles.

Some other venues to try if you are eating on a budget in Cuzco, Peru:

  • The market- About a ten minute walk from Plaza de Armas, you can fill up on an array of foods here without spending much money. For instance, an egg sandwich will cost about 1.20 soles, while a meal of rice and fish will be about 3 soles.
  • Prasada– This ambient vegetarian eatery is located in San Blas, Cuzco, and serves delicious fare and decent portions at a cheap price. Some menu items include vegetarian tacos for 5 soles, pizza for 3.50 soles, and lasagna for 5 soles.
  • Chifa StatusChifa is a word used to describe a fusion style of food that mixes creole Limean food with Chinese-style cuisine. Some examples of chifa-style fare include wontons, fried rice, and noodles, which often include different types of meat. At Chifa Status, which is located near El Mega Supermarket on Av. de la Cultura, you can get delicious chifa dishes for 2-3 soles.
  • Kukuly– Located on Calle Waynapata 318, this cozy little eatery offers a daily set menu of soup, a meal, and a drink for 6 soles.
  • El Encuentro– This vegetarian restaurant is located at Santa Catalina Ancha 384 in the Plaza de Armas and serves a set menu that includes a make-your-own salad bar, soup, an entree (usually a stew or bean dish), and tea, all for 7 soles.

salt pans in maras, peruCheap Activities in Cuzco, Peru

While there will obviously be some worthy activities that will be expensive, for example, hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, there are still many fun things to do in Cuzco that will not cost a fortune. Here are some examples:

  • Visit the colorful salt pans of Maras and the ruins in Moray– Maras is located about 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) north of Cuzco and is located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The salt pans have been used since pre-Incan times to extract salt from the local subterranean stream. Moray is an archeological site located about 50 kilometers (about 31 miles) northwest of Cuzco. Here you can see unique Incan ruins that form terraced, circular depressions in the Earth. You can visit these sites by doing a day tour, which will cost about 20 soles for transportation, 5 soles for admission to Maras, and 10 soles for admission to Moray.
  • Learn to salsa dance- If you are looking for a free and fun activity, many bars around Plaza de Armas can offer free salsa lessons to anyone interested. However, if you are serious about learning salsa and want a truly quality lesson for a reasonable price, Salseros Cusco on Colla Calle offers group lessons for 1 hour each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with class times varying by skill level. Classes cost 10 soles.
  • Take a day trip to Ollantaytambo– Know as the “living Inca city”, Ollantaytambo is located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas and is a modern day city as well as a pre-Incan site. There are many things to see here, such as impressive ruins, the Temple of the Sun, the Lagoon of Yanacocha, the rural community of Willoc, and much more. If you’re into the active outdoors, you can hike up the pre-Incan granaries (across from the town’s main ruins) for a complimentary view of the city.
  • Learn about Chocolate at the ChocoMuseo– Located in the Plaza Regocijo, you will not only learn about chocolate itself and the production process, but also its history since the Maya were around 1,000 years ago. You can enjoy free chocolate samples, participate in chocolate workshops where you make your own chocolate, and visit a cacao planation and talk to the farmers who work there. Admission to the museum is free.
  • Browse the Sunday market in Chincero- If you’re looking for a more traditional market, this one is a lot less touristy than the market in Pisac. From 9AM until just after midday, you can come here to buy local produce and handicrafts. If you still want to shop later on in the day, from 4PM until 5:30PM the town also hosts a market catered to tourists in the city’s main plaza located right near the church.

cheap hostels and accommodation in cuzco, peruCheap Accommodation in Cuzco

The following hostels all offer rooms for under 20 soles and come with high overall ratings on hostelbookers.com:

  • Ecopackers– With a 92.8% rating, this accommodation offers both shared and private rooms (although a private room will cost you about 43 soles, which is still very inexpensive). Luggage room, linen, and breakfast are included, internet is available, and there is a game room and 24-hour reception.
  • The Point Cusco– Rated at 90.2% with 6, 8, and 12 bed dorms available (there is also a 6 dorm room with an ensuite bathroom). Luggage room, linen, and breakfast are included, and if you need airport pickup this can be arranged for 20.40 soles. Services at this hostel include internet, 24-hour reception, a bar, restaurant, lockers, game room, lounge area, tours desk, and currency exchange. Credit cards are accepted.
  • Backpacker Bright Hostel– This hostel comes with an 83.1% rating and includes shared and private accommodation (private will be about 31 soles). Expect free luggage room and linen, as well as an on-site restaurant, tour desk, lockers, and 24-hour reception.
  • Wild Rover Backpackers Hostel– This hostel comes with a 90.9% rating and features free luggage room, breakfast, and linen. Other facilities include a bar, restaurant, tours desk, lockers, lounge, pool tables, and 24-hour reception. Dorms range from 4 to 14 person dorms, many of which include an ensuite bathroom.
  • Dream Hostel– Rated at 81.3%, shared and private accommodation are available (private will be about 30 soles). This hostel includes free luggage room, breakfast, linen, and towels. Other features of the hostel include a bar, restaurant, lounge area, car park, tours desk, 24-hour reception, internet, washing machines, and lockers.