Our family travels a lot, it seems at least once a month or at least every other month we are flying somewhere or road trippin’. Once I have returned from my travels, it seems that more people ask me what I eat on the go, than how my trip was. It also seems to be a common excuse why someone can’t go vegan. Here are some vegan traveling tips to show you how easy it really is.
Here it goes:
Sit down restaurants
Most restaurants have vegan options, you just have to know how to find them.
- Mexican restaurants are almost everywhere and provide many vegan options. You can piece together a vegan taco by getting a side of tortillas, black beans (if you prefer refried beans like I do, ask to make sure they aren’t cooked with lard), spanish rice, lettuce and some salsa. Veggie tostadas are also a good option.
- Indian restaurants and Thai food places are great too. Most have a veggie section or they can sub most dishes with tofu instead of meat. Be sure to ask for no fish sauce and egg if you’re going with Thai! Vegetarianism is pretty huge in Indian Culture, so this is a good bet that you can find something to eat.
- Italian restaurants are wonderful too because they have salads and pastas that are easy to ask for no meat or cheese on. Just make sure the sauce or dressing isn’t a cream base and the pasta doesn’t contain eggs and you’re good to go.
- I steer clear of Chinese food since they use a lot of eggs, most things are pre-made so they can’t omit the egg or meat from the dish.
- American restaurants are difficult to find meatless options as well, however some restaurants are getting better about serving veggie burgers. You still need to be careful though because some of the veggie burger options still contain eggs or dairy, so ask questions.
This one gets tricky, because most fast food places aren’t healthy and are hardly vegan friendly. I always tell people to avoid fast food at all costs because even if you find a vegan dish, it’s probably mostly chemicals and GMOs. However, if you’re starving and it’s your only hope, I’ll help you out.
- If you live near an Evos, their fries are air baked, they can sub a vegan patty on almost everything, have veggie corn dogs and cook all vegan items in a separate area!
- Taco Bell uses vegan refried beans (and now black beans) so they have veggie burritos, chips and beans, tostadas, etc.
- Chipotle is a great option, they’ve pledged to go GMO free by this year, so you can enjoy their burrito or burrito bowls with black beans and sofritas (tofu mixed in spices), plus they even have brown rice. Yum!
- Subway has a veggie delight sandwich, but their veggie patty currently contains egg and dairy. Also, be careful of their bread because certain types contain a chemical found in yoga mats. Supposedly they have stopped using it, but look into it as it often takes a while for stores to adopt changes (this also goes for hamburger buns at most fast food places)
- Pita Pit has falafel and a veggie pita plus they have wheat pitas.
- Taco Del Mar uses vegetarian refried beans, they have the option of spinach tortillas and it’s like the Subway of burritos and tacos.
- Burger King now offers a veggie burger but the patty is GMO and only vegetarian friendly, not vegan friendly.
- Jamba Juice has protein shakes as does Robeks.
That’s all I can think of off the top of my head, but I am sure there are more I am forgetting.
I always love Whole Foods’ food bar. So I usually Google Map a Whole Foods to see where one is nearby. They have lots of vegan options and with their long list of chemicals they don’t allow in the store I know it’s mostly safe and healthy food. I will go to another grocery stores if I can’t find a Whole Foods nearby and sometimes their deli cases have salads, vegan pastas, etc. Or I can get a small container of hummus and pita chips and some fruits and veggies.
Another thing I usually do is make food for us before we go. I’ll pack peanut butter sandwiches (I don’t use jelly as it makes them fairly soggy by the time we get to them), protein balls, flaxseed muffins and other treats so if we can’t find a good option, then we have our own food and won’t starve. This also helps to avoid fast food restaurants along the way while on road trips and it also helps meltdowns on the plane.
I got to my destination, now what?
If we’re renting out a house/condo or have a hotel with a kitchenette, I usually hit the grocery store and get my own supplies: I buy fruits and veggies, bread and peanut butter, plastic utensils and paper towels, hummus, pita chips or crackers and smoothies. If you’re in a hotel without a way to make food and are going out to eat, just follow my restaurant guideline.
Apps Save My Life
I am married to a tech geek so we use apps like crazy! My favorite for food finding is Yelp. It’s free to download and you can search either restaurants or grocery stores and it pulls up locations near you, which are rated by users and you can read reviews. You can even view their website and get their menu so you have a good idea of what they carry and how others felt about the restaurant or store. You can also be specific, if you’re in a bigger city or town you could search “vegan restaurant” or “Indian food” whatever sounds good. Even restaurants that carry vegan options will pop up. It’s a useful tool.
I also use Google Maps (yes, on my iPhone because let’s face it, Apple maps is great if you’d like to lost and drive around aimlessly for hours) which integrates Yelp onto their search. So you can also use Google maps to find places around you and see what’s available. There is also an app called Urban Spoon which is similar to Yelp but only for restaurants. Sometimes just doing a Google search on vegan options in the city that you’re in is great too and you may be surprised that another vegan laid it all out for you.
I wish you well on your vegan voyage! Are there any tips you have for vegans traveling? Here are some more tips to help you plan for vegan disasters on your next trip!