“What in the world did you eat,” is a phrase I often hear after a trip. People think that because I follow a vegan and gluten-free diet I must starve once I leave home. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
I have sampled some of the best vegan food while traveling — seriously, I’m not talking about boring veggies, I’m talking about creamy vegan cheeses, crispy crepes filled with mouth-puckering lemon curd, and the most indulgent, clutch your pearls (of course they’re vegan!) confections.
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What Country is Easiest to Visit As a Vegan?
That is an excellent question and honestly, nowadays, there are so many countries in the world that make it easy to travel as a vegan. In the US, there are many well known vegan-friendly cities like LA, NYC, Portland, and Chicago but there are plenty of others that are hot on their heels like Miami!
In Europe, major cities like Berlin, London, and Amsterdam are vegan heavens — even if you’re there a whole week you won’t be able to get through the amazing selection of vegan and vegan-friendly options.
On top of eating, you can even find a variety of vegan and vegan-friendly hotels and B & Bs in the US and Europe — that would be a next level getaway!
Traveling as a vegan has gotten a whole lot easier over the years — hallelujah!
I will say, sometimes finding these vegan treasures takes a little work and some destinations are a tad friendlier than others, but, I promise, wherever you go, if you follow these vegan travel tips you will have an epic and tasty adventure.
Now onto the tips…
The Best Vegan Travel Tips
These vegan travel tips have been developed after many mishaps and misadventures. I use them almost every time I travel in order to plan a delicious and comfortable adventure. Do you have other tried and true tips? I’d love to hear them! Leave them in the comments. Oh and if you’re in need of doing a little pre-trip shopping, don’t miss my lineup of must-have vegan travel accessories.
#1 Learn a little bit of the language
This is the most important tip on this list! Don’t leave home without learning some basic phrases (hello, thank you, excuse me) and important eating/food phrases like, “Is this vegan?” I don’t eat meat or dairy,” plus a myriad of other food-finding questions and statements. Not only is this important to protect you, but it also shows people that you care, and it is the polite thing to do in someone else’s home. Even if your pronunciation is off, it will go a lot further than if you tried in English.
If you need a little help creating flashcards or a cheat sheet, I have you covered! I created cheat sheets in five different languages with phrases like “I would like a coffee with soymilk,” “I don’t eat meat or dairy products,” Is there a vegan restaurant,” plus general greetings. So, how do you get these wonderful cheat sheets you might be wondering? Just sign up for my newsletter and five will land in your inbox!
You’ll be well on your way to finding delicious vegan food when you’re far from home.
#2 Make Google Maps your friend
Did you find a vegan restaurant that you just can’t leave without trying or a great spot that is vegan-friendly? Save it on Google Maps! Once you save it (and the many others that you will find), make sure you download the map. That way even if you lose service or have spotty Wi-Fi you will still be able to see it on the map. So, when you’re out and about, remember to pull up the map and see if anything you have saved is close by and easily navigate to it using public transportation or your feet!
This tip is also great for activities, I always try to save food and must-see spots on my map to ensure I cover everything I want to check out. It’s a great way to help plan out your day.
#3 Check out my vegan travel guides before you go
If you’re stumped with where to start with trip planning and food-finding, then head over to my vegan travel guides. I have guides to cities in the US, Europe, and the Caribbean and I always cover where to eat!
Aside from using the guides to plan your eating adventure I also give suggestions on where to stay, including vegan and vegan-friendly hotels (if they exist), what to do and see, and how to get around the city. It’s a one-stop vegan travel planning spot!
And, if I don’t cover it in my travel guides then head on over to Pinterest and do a little searching and pinning. It’s a great resource to find vegan restaurant recommendations, things to do, and more. One other good resource for hunting down vegan food is Happy Cow. They have quite a bit of content covering everything from major metropolises to tiny towns.
One last idea, if you don’t want to worry about anything, then consider booking a vegan tour! There are many great companies out there that will take all the travel stress away to insure you have a magnificent adventure — this is also a great vegan gift idea!
#4 Pack snacks!
No matter how near or far you’re going, don’t forget to pack snacks. Pre-trip snack packing is an important task in our house. I always pack foods that travel easily and are TSA-friendly. Things like protein bars (I really like Go Macro) and powders (EVOLVE sells packs in smaller quantities, in case you don’t need 12), nuts, granola, oatmeal, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (if you think the flight won’t have vegan-friendly food, then don’t forget the sandwich or you’ll be sorry).
Make sure you pack the snacks in a clear bag that is easily accessible. This not only helps you find them but if you’ve packed them in your carry-on and TSA flags it, they can access them easily too. TSA used to flag snacks all the time for me, but now it doesn’t happen anywhere near as much.
#5 Visit markets
Not only are markets a great way to experience the culture of your new destination, but it’s also the best place to stock up on staple fruits and veggies and find other great vegan food. Many markets, like Warsaw’s Hala Gwardii & Hala Mirowska Markets, have an amazing selection of vendors whipping up a selection of tasty dishes.
Markets generally showcase a selection of vendors from small start-ups to established businesses and I almost always find great vegan options. We once enjoyed a selection of flavorful Indian dishes and crepes at The Borough Market, in London—if you’re going don’t miss it!
#6 Book accommodations with a kitchen
If you’re traveling somewhere that doesn’t have a great selection of vegan food or you want to save a little cash, then make sure you book accommodations with a kitchen. You can easily find spots through VRBO, Airbnb, and even some hotels now have mini kitchens. You don’t need a chef’s kitchen to stay well-fed, a microwave and fridge can make all the difference!
#7 Confirm you vegan meal with the airline
Getting stuck on a long flight with nothing to eat isn’t fun—it’s happened to me! Make sure when you book the flight to choose your meals, then about a week before the flight go back in and make sure your meal selection is still there. I know it sounds redundant but sometimes funky things happen with technology and it’s always good to double confirm. In the case, something happens, and your vegan meal is MIA, let the flight attendant know, in my experience, they will go out of their way to see what they have that will work. After all, no one wants a hangry passenger!
#8 Don’t forget digestive aids
We have all been there, eaten something you thought was safe and then your tummy tells you otherwise. It is really one of the worst things that can happen when you just want to have fun. I never leave home without packing a few important things to ease tummy trouble:
- Ginger tabs
- Digestive enzymes
- Fennel — I know it sounds weird, but chewing a few seeds can really help with bloating
- Certain herbal teas like peppermint, ginger, or a blend.
#9 Talk to Locals
Some of the best food suggestions that I have received have been from people who live and work in the area. Locals are a huge resource and normally have a wealth of information to share including where to eat, but also where to avoid (that’s always helpful)! When I am in a restaurant or café, I always ask the staff where they like to eat, where to find a certain type of food, etc. I have even had people give me sticky note lists with their favorite can’t miss vegan and vegan-friendly spots!
#10 Stay in a vegan or vegan-friendly hotel or B&B
It doesn’t seem like that long ago when finding a vegan-friendly hotel, let alone a fully vegan one, was like looking for a unicorn! Thankfully, times have changed — there are a variety of hotel and B&B options throughout the US and Europe.
Often these hotels or B&Bs will offer breakfast and maybe other meal options throughout the day. We had the fantastic opportunity to stay in a vegan-friendly and a vegan B&B in the Finger Lakes, and it was a lifesaver! There are vegan food options in that area, but they are spread out, and breakfast options are slim to none. It was nice to start our day with vegan pancakes and other treats!
#11 Use a vegan travel agent
If you just don’t have the time or desire to do all of the legwork, let a vegan travel agent help you! You might be thinking, where in the world would I find a unicorn like this? Well, you don’t have to look too far, because I am one! I specialize in crafting vegan-friendly and sustainable itineraries whether you’re just looking to plan a short trip to London or go on an epic adventure, I can help — just drop me an e-mail, and we can get started planning!
Wrap it Up: Is it Hard to Travel as a Vegan?
It’s only hard to travel as a vegan if you don’t plan ahead — now, how much pre-planning is needed comes down to where you’re going. If you’re going to London or NYC, you could get a way with doing very little planning, whereas a town in Northern Michigan, requires much more planning!
Also, when you plan ahead you might find places to check out that you wouldn’t find by wandering around. Afterall, you don’t want to come back from your amazing vegan vacation with food FOMO!