If you keep kosher and have plans to travel – whether on a family vacation or a business trip in another city – we know the prospect of adhering to your diet while out of your familiar setting can seem daunting. So we’re here to give you our top tips for finding kosher food wherever you are, and what to do when that may not be possible!
1. Research kosher restaurants & shops beforehand
When you travel to a new place, finding kosher shops and restaurants can be a challenge, particularly if it’s an area with a smaller Jewish community, so do your research beforehand.
If you know anyone who’s traveled to your destination before and keeps kosher too, ask them for recommendations. Try asking around in Jewish groups and forums on the internet and social media, and of course, there’s always trusty Google.
You can also look up the closest Jewish Community Center, synagogue, or Chabad House in the city or country you’re traveling to – they may have tips and recommendations on their website, or you can contact them directly to ask. They will also be able to explain the local hechsherim (kosher certification symbols) and how to find kosher food in regular grocery stores.
2. Pack your own kosher snacks & non-perishable foods
If the area you’re traveling to doesn’t have a reliable kosher food scene, or you’re having trouble finding options ahead of time, pack some non-perishable kosher food to take with you. It’s also particularly a good idea to come prepared if you have additional food restrictions or picky eaters in your family, or if you’re worried about your destination not having your favorite snacks or coffee that you’ve come to rely on.
Portable kosher snacks like halva, Bamba, or cookies can go a long way in keeping your family energized and happy on the go and in between meals, and your favorite tea and coffee will help that hotel or Airbnb feel more homey and familiar. Additionally, foods like cereal, canned tuna, and salami are easy-to-take meal back-ups in case you have trouble finding adequate kosher food at your destination.
Have a kosher-keeping loved one going away on a trip soon? Or perhaps your kids or spouse are nervous about traveling? You can ease their mind and help make their trip more comfortable with a kosher gift basket full of their favorite treats!
3. Be flexible
You may want to speak to your rabbi or a trusted community member, or make the decision for yourself or as a family, to be more flexible with your kashrut standards while traveling than at home – particularly if you’ll be in an area with very few or no kosher options. It’s quite common for observant Jews to use leniencies or different standards when in a situation where obtaining kosher food may be difficult.
Consider whether you’d be comfortable eating in a vegan restaurant that’s not certified kosher for example, or simply keeping vegetarian, or buying food with a less strict hechsher than the ones you normally rely on.
Overall, don’t stress and don’t forget to have fun – and if you come prepared, you should be able to adhere to your traditions in a way that feels authentic and comfortable, no matter where your journeys take you.
Have any other tips? Let us know in the comments below!
Safe travels, and don’t forget that you can stock up on kosher non-perishable food, wine, and snacks straight from Israel right here in our store!