Top 10 Tips for Vegan Travel

It's the busiest travel time of the year here in the United States and I thought I'd share a few tips I've learned through my travels. I've done my fair share of traveling and have managed to eat vegan throughout my travels. It hasn't always been easy, but it's become a whole lot easier as I've learned along the way. I hope these tips helps you make it through your holiday travel (or any travel) with ease.

1. Research food options before you go: googleHappyCow, local bloggers - Check both airports & destination. Find directions too (you may not be able to access the internet at your destination). Sometimes this information is out of date so try to pick a few options just in case the restaurant you've selected has recently closed. I've traveled with and without researching ahead of time and doing the research ahead means the difference between a delicious vegan meal and something that you're eating just to survive.

2. Order a vegan meal on the airplane if your flight serves food. You need to do this ahead of time.
Call the airline phone number, or add vegan meal option online through your reservation information.

3. If you're traveling abroad, look up how to say vegan in the language of your destination. Also look up vegetarian, no meat, no chicken, no fish, no dairy, no eggs, etc. because some people will not know what vegan means. Sometimes people even think that vegetarian includes chicken, fish, etc. I have used google in the past, but recently found this site with vegetarian phrases. You could also get a vegan passport which has this information in a handy little guide book for you.

4. Pack your own cruelty-free products. Sometimes the nicer hotels actually have vegan toiletries, but this is pretty rare. You can usually get travel size products at health food stores, Whole FoodsAvedaOrigins. I'm not sure about travel sizes exactly, but I know you can have them cut you tiny pieces of vegan soap bars at Lush. You can also get those little plastic travel containers and fill them with your favorite cruelty-free bath and body products.

5. Bring snacks! (Larabars, trail mix, peanuts, sandwiches, fruit, veggies, hummus, individual size nondairy milks) Consider instant smoothie mixes or protein powders (such as Vega) that will stay good for the length of your trip and can be added into water or juice when you're on the go. I had to rely on these several times when we took a tour group and we had little, if any, time to get lunch some days.

6. Bring your own add-ins: for example: avocado, hemp seeds, nuts can all be added to salad and you can usually find a salad anywhere. This saved me a few times on my recent Scotland / Ireland trip. I have also added nuts or hemp seeds to a plain pasta dish.

7. Look for foods or snacks that are naturally vegan: nuts, hummus, peanut butter, plain potato chips, juice, fruit, veggies. Check out these accidentally vegan foods. They may not be foods you'd eat on a regular basis, but it's nice to have readily available vegan food options.

8. Keep an eye out for eateries that usually have vegan options: ethnic restaurants, Chipotle (or similar), Noodles & CompanyPei WeiP.F. Chang's, salad places, juice bars. Here's a list of chain restaurants with vegan options.

9. Consider grocery stores or health food stores when restaurants with veg options are nonexistent or few and far between. Sometimes these health food stores even have decent cafes. While traveling in not very veg-friendly areas of the Southern United States, we have eaten a few meals from the Whole Foods salad bar and hot food bar. It seems weird but one of my favorite memories from Italy was eating a jar of artichoke hearts from a tiny shop while standing in the rain. (They had other options; I just somehow thought this was really fun.) You can usually find health food stores listed on HappyCow.

10. Use the hotel to your advantage and get creative with it's amenities. Usually hotels will allow you to use their microwave even if there is not one in your room. You just have to ask the front desk. They may also let you have a refrigerator in your room if you ask for it. You can do a lot with that tiny coffee maker or tea maker. I used the tea maker in our room in Scotland to heat water to make vegan Ramen noodles I packed for an emergency situation (and being stuck in the room with a sick person without being able to leave was kind of an emergency situation). I have used a coffee maker to heat water for instant soups like Dr. McDougall's and rice noodles which I combined with veggies and those tiny soy sauce packets. When we traveled to Cleveland for one of my husband's work parties and I thought we wouldn't have good vegan options at the dinner party, I microwaved an Amy's soup and ate it before heading to the party.


  1. Impressive list on travel tips - we travel all the time and always order our VGML meals with the airlines, occasionally some meals carry dairy by accident, so be sure to pack your own vegan snacks, the Earth Balance cheddar popcorn was my favorite. Sometimes I bring my own vegan ramen cups (and also my own utensil) and ask for hot water after the services, which is pretty convenient. It’s hard, not many countries know the word “vegan”, only “vegetarian”, and yes, true, you will have to be prepared to say “no dairy, butter, lard, eggs, etc.” which are common ingredients in vegetarian dishes. Some hotels have “free breakfast” amenities, it doesn’t hurt to e-mail the department and let them know about your vegan dietary requests, and they are able to make something for you. happy thanksgiving!

    1. Great tips! Thank you!! You are right. Sometimes part of the VGML is not vegan and that's when some of our snacks start to disappear. :-) Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. These are great tips! I too make it a point to explore the website before visiting any city...

    If there is time, I also like to go to Trader joes or Whole foods, for vegan muffins and cookies.

    Nearly six months ago, I was able to eat yummy vegan pizza at Phoenix Airport.

    It's really easy to be a vegan in United States, with some planning...

    1. Good idea Kumudha! Vegan muffins and cookies are good for travel.

      Wow, yummy vegan pizza at the Phoenix Airport!? Sounds like it's time for me to check out Phoenix! :-)

  3. Great tips! I would probably bring individual milk containers when travelling, but my backpack is always so heavy. I'll make sure to bring protein powder next time I visit a destination that's not vegan-friendly... I don't like their taste, but we need our protein! When I went to Brazil this year, often times I would not have a single protein rich ingredient, just starch and veggies. Those protein powders would have been great.

    1. Great points, Babette! The protein powders are light and easy to carry and can really help you out in those kinds of places!