Or maybe you're fluent in six different languages, but it just so happens that Chinese isn't one of them, and your boss has just sent you to Guangzhou to be wined and dined by potential clients at a series of never-ending Chinese banquets.
You've been told to expect shark fin soup.
Don't worry, the Vegan Passport has got you covered. Nowadays there are a number of different translation tools available to vegan travellers. These run the gamut from state-of-the-art apps to DIY arts and craft projects that you cut out and fold along the dotted line.
The one that I use the most often, and recommend to other travellers, is the Vegan Passport published by The Vegan Society in the UK.
By keeping this secret weapon in your pocket, you will be able to order a vegan meal with confidence, even if the waiter doesn't understand a word you're saying.
The Vegan Passport has been around longer than any of the other translation tools out there, so it’s well tried and tested. It has also been expanded and improved on with each new addition.
The explanation of veganism is extensive and covers not only what vegans don't eat, but also plenty of examples of what we do eat.
The fifth and latest edition, released in July 2016, includes a whopping 78 languages, which together are spoken by 96% of the world's population.
The last two pages use pictures to explain veganism at a glance; on the left side is a smiling face surrounded by fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, etc., and on the right side is a frowning face surrounded by animal products.
This is sometimes the most effective way to get your meaning across even with someone who does speak your language.
For years, the Vegan Passport was only available in a paper booklet format. But with the release of the fifth edition in 2016, the Vegan Society has also launched a mobile app version for your smartphone!
You can search either by language or by country. This is especially handy in multilingual countries, like India. With 23 officially recognized languages there, it can be difficult to keep track of which language is spoken where.
But the Vegan Passport makes this a cinch. Just choose the Indian region you’re currently travelling in, and the Passport will automatically give you an explanation of veganism in the appropriate language.
If multiple languages are spoken within a single region, it will show you all the relevant ones. For example, if you choose “India – Goa” from the list of countries, the app will show the explanation in Konkani, Marathi and Portuguese.
The app is also the cheaper option of the two. It costs just $1.99 on the US Apple App Store, compared with £4.95 for the paperback version from the Vegan Society website.
You can download the Vegan Passport app from the Apple App Store, or at the Windows Store or Google Play.
Wendy Werneth is a nomadic traveller and vegan foodie who seeks out vegan treasures in the most unlikely places. She's on a mission to show you how you can be vegan anywhere and spread compassion everywhere! You can find more of her travel tips and advice at The Nomadic Vegan and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.