Eating vegan while travelling, made easy

Are you worried about staying vegan while travelling, without stressing out about every meal? Have no fear! These tips are about to make your life a whole lot easier!

1. Bring a lunch box and sandwich/zip lock bags.

These will allow you to do two things: first of all you can pack food to take around with you on your day. You could bring a sandwich or beans or something just in case you don’t find something else to eat while you are out and about, or you just get hungry and don’t want to stop everything to find a place to eat. Second of all you can take home left over food if you eat out and don’t finish everything! Particularly useful in the US, where portions are gigantic 😉 You can use the zip lock bags to bring portioned snacks on the road- which brings me on to my next point…

2. Always bring snacks!

Always carry an emergency snack with you. “Super foods” (hemp seeds, chia seeds, goji berries, etc) are particularly useful since they have so many nutrients. You can put chia seeds into a fresh juice, or even just lemon water, and you can put hemp seeds onto cereal /oatmeal for breakfast, or just snack on them during the day. You could also bring/make granola/protein bars, or individual packets of nut butter with you. Pack a bunch in your main piece of luggage, as well as large amounts of nuts, seeds and dried fruit, and then you can just take a handful in a little baggie for the day! Another idea is to bring individual packets of instant oatmeal which you can make in your hotel room (or possibly even a cafe if you just ask for hot water), that way you can have a hearty breakfast wherever you are. If you are going to be able to make smoothies where you are, you could pack protein powders or those green powders with chlorella/spirulina etc.

3. Check out restaurants beforehand.

Use Happy Cow and Yelp to find restaurants, cafes and markets that you could go to in any area you might be at. Remember that they don’t have to be specifically vegan places- Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican and Middle Eastern food are all pretty easy to veganize. Check out my guide to eating out as a vegan here.

4. Learn useful phrases in the local language.

Be respectful and learn useful phrases in the language of the country you are visiting, such as “I don’t eat chicken/meat/milk/etc”. Don’t expect people to know and understand what being vegan means. Know what ingredients are likely to be used and ask for omissions/substitutions- no milk in your tea, no cheese on your pizza, etc.

5. Make use of local markets and supermarkets.

Remember you don’t always have to eat at a restaurant- make use of local markets and supermarkets. Buy stuff like bread, hummus, beans, rice, fruit and veggies, etc, which you can use to have a picnic or snack on during the day. If you are in a country where there are natural/organic shops, check them out for your supplies too! Google is your friend 🙂

Finally… Don’t stress out- you are travelling! This is what most people wish they could be doing! Just relax and have fun. Yes, most people are going to think you are crazy, but who cares, right??

Links you might find useful:

How to have a comfortable long haul flight
What to pack in your hand luggage/carry on
5 tips: how to eat out as a vegan

5 Tips: how to eat out as a vegan

Becoming vegan and eating in a way that is so different to conventional diets is bound to be a challenge sometimes. Eating out in restaurants is something that can be a bit tricky if you’re not used to eating in this way, but I promise it gets easier with time 🙂

1. Firstly, if you are planning a meal out, certain cuisines are a lot easier than others. I find French and often Italian food more challenging, as there is usually cheese/butter/creamy sauces on most options, with the exception of pizzas- just ask for no cheese and get veggie toppings. Thai, Indian and Mexican are some of my favourite cuisines as a vegan. Thai/Japanese/Vietnamese etc food often has plenty of tofu as an option instead of meat, and there’s pretty much no dairy used. Since Mexican food relies heavily on beans/rice, you can still have a satisfying meal that doesn’t include dairy/meat!

2. Avoid places like typical English pubs, and places that don’t cook much of their own food. This means you will have less chance of adapting dishes to what you like. Pubs often base every dish around meat, and their veggie options aren’t great. Even if they have veggie dishes, you will be unlikely to be able to get them without cheese.

3. Plan ahead: check out the menu of the place you’re going to. If they haven’t got a website, call up in advance and find out what their veggie options are and if you can get them without cheese/cream/whatever.

4. If no main courses that can be adapted to being vegan are available, check out the sides. You can still have a decent meal if there’s hummus, veg, sweet potato fries, rice, beans, etc. Get 2/3/4 sides and POW, you’ve got a nice meal made up of stuff you actually like!

5. If there’s really no chance of adapting anything whatsoever on the menu, relax. Eat something at home beforehand and if necessary, bring snacks with you even if you don’t think you’ll get hungry- you never know! At the end of the day, eating out is a social thing- go and have fun with your friends!

Finally: watch out for animal products in sneaky places: shrimp paste and fish sauce in Asian food, yoghurt/cream in Indian curries, gelatine in desserts.

What are your tips for eating out as a vegan? What types of restaurants do you tend to go to?