Eating healthy and nutritious meals while travelling is no easy task for anyone. Airplane food is usually plain and boring, gas stations don’t exactly abound in healthy products and highway diners are not always using the freshest of ingredients. Add the fact that you’re a vegan and things get even more complicated.
Luckily, being a vegan does not have to reduce your chances of having an awesome travel experience. All it takes is a bit of planning and a few vegan hacks to make sure traveling vegans can stay nourished and satisfied while discovering the world. Let’s see what these are!
- Discover vegan-friendly spots
Before you leave on your trip, or even during it, look up for vegan restaurants in the area you are going to stay. This will be useful in making your transition smoother and more comfortable.
Here are some apps that will help you discover vegan dining and shopping options:
Yelp: insert the word “vegan” in the search bar and scroll through the results until you find something that suits you, based on other’s people’s reviews. HappyCow: This app shows you vegan and vegetarian restaurants and stores close to your accommodation, with real reviews and photos. Others: TripAdvisor, VegGuide, VeganTravel, and ultimately Google.
- Connect with local vegans online
The above-mentioned apps will be extremely useful for your trip, but do you know what else could work? Connecting with local folks on social media and ask for useful tips.
There should be vegan organizations and groups in most areas. Its members usually plan outings in various vegan spots and get together at vegan-friendly restaurants. Couchsurfing, MeetUp or Facebook could be your chances of meeting up with local vegans and try new and delicious dishes.
- Pack your own food and snacks
Sometimes during a trip, things might get hectic. You want to visit so many places and do so many things that a full day is simply not enough. To be able to achieve your travel goals, you need energy. In other words, you need to eat.
Packing easy-to transport snacks such as nuts, homemade granola, trail mix is an excellent way to keep you energized while sightseeing. Also, prepare bulk quantities of protein-packed, nutrient-dense foods such as brown rice, yams, roasted chickpeas to maintain a proper meal frequency and supplement the more easily available carbs and fat. You can get inspired by this 14-day meal plan and plethora of vegan recipes for your next trip!
- Find accommodations with kitchen
If you’re planning on staying for a longer period of time, it’s best to find accommodation that provides access to a kitchen. This way, you’ll be able to cater to yourself if you don’t feel like going to a restaurant, can’t find a vegan restaurant close by or if the prices for vegan-friendly options are not that budget-friendly. You can search for studios, kitchenette suites or VRBO alternatives.
- Notify your accommodation
Prior to booking your accommodation, you can contact the manager or customer service and ask about their vegan options, if any.
You can find out useful information on their vegan options for breakfast, lunch or dinner or at least figure out if they’re willing to cater to your vegan needs in any way, like providing soya milk. If they are not able to provide vegan-friendly meals, at least ask if they could provide a fridge for you to store your items. It can be extremely useful!
- Familiarize with local terms and ingredients
Going to a foreign country with a language barrier can be challenging enough but when you also have to tell others about what you can and cannot eat, things can get even more intense.
That’s why getting familiar with local phrases and terms can help you explain your dietary needs and find out what ingredients are included in some of the dishes that appeal to you.
Learn how to say “I’m vegan” and “no pork, beef, chicken, eggs or cheese” to make sure these are completely left out from your food.
- Pack your own eco toiletries
Finding vegan cosmetics can be quite a challenge when you’re travelling. Hotels may provide toiletries, but these may not be vegan so the best thing you can do is pack your own essentials.
Opt for travel-sized to make sure they fit your luggage or buy approved empty containers or bottles and fill them up with shampoo, soap and other things you might need.
- Discover the nearest grocery stores
If you’re not planning on going out to a restaurant for a vegan dinner and choose to prepare something on your own instead (now that you’ve selected an accommodation with a kitchen), then it’s of utmost importance to find the right products.
In order to do that, map out the closest grocery stores and farmer’s markets to your accommodation. These are usually full of fresh produce to last you for a few days and stock up on your vegan supply.
Apart from being fresh, the products are also cheap and affordable, so it’s a win-win!
- Follow vegan travel blogs
Travel blogs are super popular. They are fun, inspirational, informative and full of useful things. From finding out what’s the best vegan restaurant in the city to the types of local food you might try as a vegan, prices, locations, photos, travel blogs can keep you up to date and informed about pretty much everything.
If you’re planning a trip and want to be able to maintain your vegan diet, checking out travel blogs before you leave is great research.