I did a bit of search online and there are certainly veggie options in Birmingham where I was staying. But not at the NEC as far as I could tell. But I'd already made up my mind that I wasn't going to buy food at the NEC because it'd probably be quite pricey.
In the end I decided that I wouldn't go out to eat in Birmingham. For one thing, after a day of wandering the halls of the FoQ, I'd rather go back to my hotel and put my feet up. And Tony lost his job a couple of weeks before my trip, so I wanted to be frugal with my food budget so I could still allow myself to buy a bit of fabric. To be honest, if I'd not already booked the trip when Tony lost his job, I probably wouldn't have gone. (He's still looking for a new job, so please keep your fingers crossed for us, please! xx)
My solution as a vegan on a budget who wanted to be able to buy fabric was a combination of bringing stuff from home and buying stuff to eat in my hotel room.
For breakfast I brought some cocoa and spelt blueberry muffins I baked the day before I left. They were quite filling and they kept me going until lunch time. Nipped down to the Tesco below the hotel for orange juice - I don't drink coffee or tea.
Lunch: on Saturday and Sunday I had some mini baguettes I had brought from home, with vegan hazelnut/chocolate spread which I had also brought from home. The spread didn't need to be in the fridge (there was no fridge/mini bar in the hotel room) and after walking around for 2-3 hours, a bit of chocolate isn't a bad thing to look forward to!
Dinner: Friday and Saturday I went in the M&S across the street from the hotel and bought a couple of salads plus some bread and hummus. Nutritious, pretty healthy and cheap as well. Of course I didn't have a fridge for any leftover hummus, so I just ate it until I felt full (or felt embarrassed to keep scoffing it down!).
On the Sunday evening I knew that dinner might be an issue depending on when I got back to Birmingham. So I had planned in advance, just in case. I'd bought a couscous mix that just needed boiling water, as well as a bowl. I had some bread left over from the day before so I bought some hummus from the Tesco and that was my dinner. Not the most interesting thing but it filled me up.
And of course I brought home the pretty bowl. :-)
Lack of hot meals wasn't an issue because the weather was quite warm so cold food was kinda nice.
Lesson for next time: bring a few more things from home, like a tiny bit of washing up liquid, a knife and a spoon.
So it turned out that getting nice, healthy(ish) vegan food on a budget wasn't an issue at all. You just have to be flexible. And hummus is your friend! :-)
Do you have any tips for eating on the cheap on the road?
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