Last week I shared a few photos from our recent trip to Abaco, Bahamas and briefly mentioned that it wasn’t too veg-friendly. I’ve travelled quite a bit since I’ve been vegan (even all over the country in a van with Peta2 for a few months) and this trip was by-far the most unprepared I’ve ever been. Add a vegan, gluten-free, unprocessed baby to the mix and things got a little crazy. Thank God we found canned beans and a rusty, broken can opener…
While we all came home feeling like crap, I’m not hear to complain. I’m here to share what I learned from my mistakes on this trip so that you (and future I) don’t make the same mistakes again!
Here are my 5 tips for traveling vegans (to keep you from looking like Judah below when you realize you may not eat again for a week haha):
1 | Do your OWN research. Even if you are told by someone else that there will be vegan food available for you, take it with a grain of salt. Find out exactly what the vegan options are. Will they be available every day? Only one day? Are they actually vegan? We ran into this on the very first night and had to walk to a quickie mart, freezing our butts off in the dark, with a tired, hungry baby in tow… just to end up eating potato chips, pizza sauce and boxed noodles with bugs in them. We could have prevented this if we would have asked a few questions or made a few phone calls in advance.
2 | Bring your own food. I’m not saying pack an extra suitcase full of vegan snacks, but bring an emergency stash. At a bare minimum, enough for a meal or few snacks each day. (See below for some of my easy to pack suggestions)
3 | Prepare for lost bags. Apparently Abaco is the black hole of luggage. We literally watched from our tiny prop-plane as one of our bags (along with some of the other passengers’ luggage) was taken off because the plane was too heavy. While they eventually made it to us, we would have been screwed if all of our eggs were in one basket. Bring at least a days worth of snacks in your carry on and buy a big bottle of water at the airport. This way, even if you lose a bag, at least you’re covered until you can find something better.
4 | Find out what appliances you’ll have at your disposal. After we got there, I realized we had pots, pans, a toaster, blender, coffee maker, basically more than we do at home! If I would have known this, I would have packed differently.
5 | Research the local markets, grocery stores & restaurants. The airport in Abaco was on the opposite end of the island as the more “touristy” spot we stayed. None of the restaurants sold beans or vegetables (other than fries). And there was only one grocery store near us…it was definitely monopolizing on that fact. A small container of hummus was $6, Oreos were $7.50, stale Triscuits were $8, and there weren’t many vegetables. We spent nearly $100 on a couple small bags of expired food and 2 gallons of water. Had we done our research and known that’s how it would be near the resort, we could have had our airport taxi stop at a local market closer to the airport to grab some fresh food at local prices. Not only would it have tasted better, but we would have saved a ton!
Here are a few of my suggestions for fast, easy to pack snacks while traveling:
Badass Vegan Power Cookies | This was our first time trying them and they are great! Not only are they packed with whole grains and nutrients, but they taste amazing and have the ability to act as a meal in a pinch. They were perfect for breakfast or long days when we were unsure when we’d find food. You can find Badass Vegan Power Cookies here.
Nana’s Cookies | In my opinion, dessert is a must-have when you’re on vacation. These are currently my favorite cookies on the market and they’re individually wrapped so I don’t ever go all “eat a whole box of Oreos” on them. The flavors are also super unique- we had Orange Cream, Maple Syrup and Pound Cake! They did get crushed a bit in our bag, so I would pack them in a tupperware container. You can find Nana’s Cookies here.
Garden of Life Raw Meal Replacement | Judah and I drink a smoothie every morning when we’re at home and I would have killed to have this stuff in the Bahamas. It is filling and loaded with vitamins/nutrients. And if the place you’re staying doesn’t have a blender, bring a shaker with a ball or little hand mixer. You can find Garden of Life Raw Powder here.
Nut Butter | A jar of PB once sustained my husband a week while he was on tour. No, I don’t suggest living off of it, but its pretty nutrient dense, easy to pack, and can be eaten on lots of different things (fruit, crackers, bread, etc.). You can find nut butters here.
Canned Beans | Beans are so versatile- you can use them to make quesadillas, hummus, burritos, bean dip, all sorts of things! If you don’t know if you’ll have a can opener, pack one in the bag you check or buy cans with the little pull off tops.
Nuts & Seeds | You could even make your own trail mix with various nuts, seeds and dried fruit and pack them in individual baggies!
Meal Replacement Bars | Not the sugary, borderline candy bar kind, the good ones. These typically don’t fill me up, but it’s better than nothing. You could actually make your own too if you wanted, but I like the Raw Revolution Bars found here.
Oh, and if you’re bringing a kid, research the details on carseats. We stayed 30 mins from the hotel, but couldn’t bring our carseat. I just buckled myself in and wore Judah in the Ergo. It freaked me out at first, but we saw 2 cars max on the entire 30 minute drive. The Travel Ergobaby definitely saved us on this trip!
What are some of your vegan travel tips or crazy stories about traveling as a vegan?