If you’re vegan or even vegetarian, you know that traveling can be a challenge, but with these travel tips for vegans, vacations are a breeze! I’m not a meat eater and I usually only crave fish every few months, so I'm usually a vegan traveler myself. It can seem hard to travel as vegan, since many restaurants have few vegan options available on the main menu. Traveling as a vegan or vegetarian doesn’t have to be daunting or impossible though. You just need a few tips to get you started. Enjoy these travel tips for vegans, and be sure to let me know if you have any of your own to add. I don’t want to miss out!
One of the easiest travel tips for vegans is to bring your own convenience foods. I don’t mean that vegan junk food either, like vegan popcorn and cookies. I’m talking shelf-stable fruits and veggies, raw nuts and seeds, raw energy bars and vegan protein powder to keep you nourished and energized. You can eat these foods anywhere, and they require maybe only a fork or spoon to eat. A quick snack is to mix some protein powder with water or shake in a smoothie container for a quick smoothie. Add in one of the other foods and you’ve got the perfect snack when everyone else stops for frozen yogurt or ice cream.
I always like to bring a small cooler with me and keep one-two salads in it, pre-made smoothies, or cut up fruit and veggies. If you’re going to be eating them within an hour or less, don’t worry about putting them in a cooler. If you’re traveling on a plane, you can carry them in your carry-on bag, but leave the silverware at home and use the complimentary silverware on the plane, since bringing your own isn’t allowed on board. If you’re traveling in the car, you can pack as much as you want in a cooler to take with you. I also pack plenty of bottled water as well.
Research the area you’re traveling to, and find out what vegan options will be available to you at local restaurants or at the hotel. You could also call the hotel and visit restaurant websites to get a complete menu so you’ll be prepared.
Once you get to your location, buy what foods you can to stock in your room. If you have a fridge, the possibilities are endless. If not, then choose shelf stable vegan foods instead such as raw nut butters, raw fruit, oats, individual containers of almond milk (shelf stable), raw energy bars, etc. These will fill in the gaps between your meals on vacation. Some hotels will allow you to use the mini fridge to store items as well, but be sure to check first.
There are several great apps you can find to make traveling easier as a vegan. My favorite app is Happy Cow which lists all major restaurants all over the United States which are vegan-friendly. It has an interactive map, integrative search options, ways to share your finds on social media, plus it gives complete directions, phone numbers and websites for all restaurants included. Cost is $2.99.
Many airlines have certain codes on their menu that can help you recognize vegan options available to you. Happy Cow’s website is a great resource for vegan traveling and includes lingo codes such as AVML, which stands for Asian Vegetarian Meal, VLML, which stands for a Vegetarian Lacto-Ovo-Meal. Be sure to check out this website so you can learn airline lingo before you go. This can help you make smart choices on the plane, and give you a peace of mind.
Though many restaurants have vegan options, not all restaurant employees will be able to tell you if a meal is completely vegan or not. Be sure to inform them you are vegan, but also be sure to make it easier for them by customizing the menu yourself. For example, the salad you choose may be vegan, but the waiter may not be able to tell you if the dressing is or not. Be prepared to either investigate the restaurant for yourself, or ask for a safer option such as oil and vinegar. Also, sometimes vegan can be confused with vegetarian. A dish could have fish, dairy or eggs in it unless you specifically ask for it not to.
I know what it is like to travel with omnivores as the only vegan in the crew. It can seem intimidating and you may feel you’re a bother by your special food choices. This doesn’t have to be the case. Just be sure to do your research first so you can bring your own foods if necessary, or learn how to choose vegan options while dining out. Show your friends and family how easy it can be to travel as a vegan, not how much of a pain it is by refusing to eat anywhere they want to, or by not bringing your own food and whining about how hungry you are.
Based on my experience, with these travel tips for vegan, the process is effortless. I find it just as easy to eat while traveling as vegan as I do as an omnivore. Now I want to hear your tips! Share them with me and let me know your secrets!
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