For vegans who love to travel, meal time may prove to be more of a hassle than an experience. Still, there are preliminary measures any vegan can make to get the most out of a trip without compromising.
Here, we list a few foolproof ways to eat vegan, wherever your wanderlust takes you.
- Do a bit of researchThese days, everything is a simple click away. The easiest way to ensure a vegan-friendly trip is to harness the power of the internet (but you knew that already, didn’t you?).Before each trip, I like to make location lists in Google Maps with their Saved Places tool. This way, wherever I am in the world, I only need WiFi to bring up a list of map markers of vegan spots I pre-loaded, eliminating time-sucking last-minute searching and scouring.Using Yelp by typing in the keyword “vegan” (this isn’t foolproof, since it is less a keyword filter and more a word-in-a-review filter, so you actually need to click on each result to check whether a place is veg-friendly) can help narrow down a list of certified-vegan places to check out. Happy Cow is another website that is useful, but not as user-friendly, since their list results view doesn’t have a photo and you have to click on each listing to really see how good a place is.
- Pack an emergency stashToo often, I’ll be stuck in an airport terminal without many (or any) vegan-friendly options. That’s when I whip out my stash of nut-energy bars — I love KIND fruit + nut bars, which are made from wholesome ingredients and are easy to tote with you on any trip. Other dry goods, like oatmeal packets, fruit jerky and, in a pinch, instant noodles are essential for hunger emergencies.
- Request that meal!Before any travel commences, make sure to request your vegan in-flight meal ahead of time. A lot of airlines these days have easy-to-use websites where it can all be done online, but if that option isn’t available, don’t put off calling. When you get to be the first person they serve during meal times, you’ll pat yourself on the back (since vegan/special meals get brought out first!).
- Ask for optionsMost of the time, restaurants want their diners to be happy (hopefully you don’t encounter one that doesn’t). If you see that a restaurant has lots of veggies in their non-vegan friendly dishes, ask if they’d be willing to create a vegan dish for you out of ingredients they already have on hand. Chances are they will more than oblige you — once, when I was on vacation at Disney World, an ask became an exciting prospect for the chef — he told me it was fun for him to create a dish he wasn’t accustomed to, sparking his creative juices.
- Book a b*tchin’ kitchen
If you truly want the freedom of not worrying about staying vegan on the go, try booking an Airbnb that has a kitchen. During one of my stays in the Dominican Republic, we took full advantage of the kitchen in our bungalow by preparing full-on breakfasts, communal dinners and fresh, local fruit smoothies between meals. It also allows you to try a number of local ingredients instead of tourist-centric fare.