A BIG question I get asked a lot while I travel is HOW do I make it work with my vegan diet. I wanted to share my top vegan travel tips.
Recently my husband and I got back from an amazing trip to Maryland and Virginia. Our main stops were some smaller cities and I will be honest, I was a little nervous about our dining options and what we could (or couldn’t) find.
Luckily in the 8 years that I have been plant based I have learned quite a few tricks and with the growing number of vegans in the world, options are expanding in even the smallest of cities.
1. Airport Tricks
Every good travel story starts at an airport, one of my favorite places on earth, but not always the best for your plant based eats.
This will be a reoccurring theme throughout this post, but do some research. Bigger airports nowadays typically have some great staples like Jamba Juice (hello acai bowls!) and sit down restaurants which fries and salads are always on the menu 😉
Take a peak before hand to see what they might have. I usually go to the airport excited because I know exactly where I am dining while there.
If you don’t see anything that will work, make sure to eat before you go or bring lots of snacks. PB&Js as well as fresh fruit easier make it past security and are easy to pack in your carryon.
As far as airplane food, you can request a vegan meal with most airlines or I just bring along a to-go sandwich from an airport deli on my long flights. Trail mix and fruit are perfect, too!
2. Prep Before you Go
See, I told you planning ahead was your best friend. When I am going to a new place one of my favorite parts is searching for good food in the local area.
I make a list of all the options that would work for me (and everyone in my group). Yes, this is the planner in me, but I promise it will help SO much later on. Nothing kills everyone’s mood faster than trying to find something to eat after a full day of travelling or sightseeing.
A great resource that I always use is HappyCow.Net. You can search vegan restaurants by city and see their menus and reviews.
If you truly are a planner like me and have a list of to-dos each day in the city you can plan your breakfast, lunch and dinner around your schedule so you know exactly where you are going each day.
My hubby and sister both get darn hangry so knowing where the closest bite to eat is at all times makes for a much better family outing.
3. Hit up the Local Whole Foods
Or really any grocery store…but that Whole Foods hot bar y’all!
Whether I am in a very veg friendly place or not I always hit up a grocery store when I first get to town. Not only does this allow me to have granola bars on hand at all times but it also helps us save a TON of money when we travel.
I should mention I always book hotels with fridges in the rooms, but this allows me to get everything from hummus to Naked Juice. This keeps my travel budget and calorie budget under control 😉
I typically get: granola bars, bananas, carrots & hummus, juice, bread, peanut butter and jelly. Easy to eat on the go and all are pretty darn cheap!
Back to that hot bar (yes, I am still thinking about it), Whole Foods is also a safe bet to be able to find some vegan grub. I have been to Whole Foods in cities across the country because I ALWAYS know I will find something to eat there.
4. What to Pack
This is more of a zero waste tip but good sense nonetheless. There are a few things I always make sure to have in my suitcase.
Reusable water bottle and coffee mug are my top two. I have a hard enough time drinking enough water when I travel so if I make sure to bring one along I’ll have free water with me at every moment. A lot of restaurants use disposable cups too, so don’t be shy about whipping out your tumbler when dining out!
Other necessities for me are: a grocery tote (this Herbivore one I just got is adorable!), ToGo Ware bamboo silverware, reusable straws and a container for leftovers.
Little things like this add up SO much over your trip and you’ll feel so much better knowing you didn’t contribute a dozen plastic forks and straws to the local landfill.
Check out this post for more tips on Zero Waste Travel.
5. Google Translate
Travelling abroad? Learn some lingo before you go!
I have learned how to ask “is this vegan?” in every country I have travelled to. Including South Korea 😉 For me it’s more important to learn these phrases then asking where the bathroom is.
There are a ton of different apps to use, including Google Translate, or this nifty little vegan travel book are AH MAZING!
Learning words for meat, chicken, egg, etc will help you read menus as well. Jot these words down in a note on your phone before you go for easy access.
5. Kindness Goes Far
My biggest tip for being vegan anywhere, on the road or at home, is just be nice!
I have been to many restaurants that do not have a designated vegan item on their menu so customization is necessary.
I typically start my order with a “I am so sorry I am going to make this complicated….” and give a little chuckle. Most waitresses will laugh back and your requests will be met.
I am always overly thankful and gracious that the helped accommodate me and rarely get push back from a restaurant.
And if they charge me extra for subbing in guac, so be it 😉
Happy travels all!