The Vegan Traveler

The Vegan Traveler: Tips & Tricks

Maintaining a vegan diet is easy when you’re at home. You have your own pantry, fridge and favorite kitchen gadgets to work with. But when you’re traveling, your options are much more limited. Luckily, with a little research and a willingness to wander off the beaten path, you can stick to your plan and still have an excellent trip!

This past weekend, my boyfriend, John, and I traveled to Washington, D.C. as a little weekend getaway to celebrate my birthday. My plans to eat mainly vegan meals went right out the window. It’s okay though, I’m not beating myself up because that won’t help anyone. I only started Vegan Before 6 a week ago, and I haven’t yet established it as a part of my everyday life. Plus, I did no research beforehand. I know if I had been prepared, it would have been much easier. Excuses, excuses.

Here are a few things I’ve found that could help me on my next trip. Promise!

Phone Apps

  • Happy Cow – I’ve already used this around my own neighborhood. This app will use your location to provide you with a list of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants and grocery stores nearby. It’s available in the iTunes and Google Play stores for $2.99 and $2.49, respectively.
  • Vegan xPress – This app ($1.99 on iTunes) lists vegan menu options at many popular restaurants and chains. A great option when you don’t have full access to an ingredients list!
  • Is it Vegan? – Scan a barcode and the app will give you detailed information on the product and, well, answer the most important question. Great for those gas stops when you just have to have a snack from a middle-of-nowhere convenience store. Free in iTunes and Google Play stores.

Other Options

Peta Vegan Guide

  • Peta’s Vegan Starter Kit and Vegetarian/Vegan Guides – I’ve seen these guides for free in both Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. Be on the lookout for the displays on the street with the other free newspapers. I grabbed them both; there’s some really great info in here!
  • Pick your cuisine. – There are certain cuisines that are known for being vegan-friendly. Indian, thai, and Italian are some examples of types of foods that can easily be made vegan with a few specifications. Check out this longer list from Vegan Backpacker that also includes some other great tricks!
  • Ask questions. – This is something I’ll need to get over. It’s okay to ask how something is cooked or if a dish comes with cheese. There is nothing wrong with telling your server that you are vegan. Be friendly, and he or she will happy assist you!
  • Pack snacks. – It’s easier to slip up when you’re starving. Carry a few simple snacks in your bag for emergencies!

I’d love to hear your tips for vegan travels, especially if you’ve traveled somewhere remote where different types of food are hard to come by! Please leave some suggestions in the comments. xo Sara

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12 thoughts on “The Vegan Traveler: Tips & Tricks

  1. These tips are great!! Those apps really do help SO much when you’re out – and you’re right, if you are friendly and honest with your waiter/waitress they are very likely to help you find vegan options. This is so helpful. Have a great day Sara!!
    xo Sarah

  2. Great post! I spent a lot of time in England this summer and that was an unusual experience. There are soooo many vegetarians there and almost every menu I saw had vegetarian items marked with a V. Vegan, now that was another story. England loves its dairy and while everyone is sympathetic about not eating me most were shocked we didn’t want milk, cheese, or butter! Fortunately, there are tons of ethnic foods in London – especially Indian and Lebanese! Adding to the complications, most London hotel rooms don’t have kitchenettes or microwaves, so we had to carefully choose nonperishable food that didn’t require cooking.

    • Wow, sounds like you had a great trip! The fact that they label their menus is fascinating. I traveled through Europe a few years ago but it was before I was eating vegan, so I can’t recall how it was in the areas I was visiting. It seems like it’s either hit or miss; you’ll either be totally fine or people will not understand at all! I imagine that being in cities makes it easier to find good stuff. And thank god for the internet to do some research, right? Thanks for stopping by!

    • P.S. It sounds like you have some great insight about maintaining a vegan diet while traveling abroad. If you’d like to guest post for us, we’d love to have you!

  3. Great post, Sara! Traveling vegan, especially with others who are non-vegans, can be incredibly challenging. Snacks are a definite must! I do A TON of research before I travel– most of the time, other people have already done some vegan hunting where I’m going. Then I use Pinterest, FourSquare, or Yelp to create lists of vegan-friendly establishments. (Most recently I made these lists for Portland and New Orleans). Good luck on your next trip! :)

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