April 4th marks three whole years of me being vegan! Now that’s not without a cheat meal or cheat snack here or there. Or the time I cried in the bathroom at a restaurant when they gave me a BEEF burger when I asked for a BEYOND burger (I get it… easy mixup). But for the most part, I’ve operated at at least 95% vegan for the past three years, and I think that’s saying something! I haven’t stuck with anything for that long, and I have never once regretted my decision to go vegan.
So to celebrate that, and my upcoming trip to Croatia, here are my 5 best tips on how to travel while living a vegan lifestyle!
Unlike when I first transitioned into veganism, now I travel- a lot. And I have a few rules for traveling, some of which are pretty unpopular, but here we go!
My biggest travel rule is that I don’t eat vegan while traveling internationally. I know. You can begin hurling the “fake vegan” hate all you want. But let me explain!
I think the greatest part of being able to travel the world is that we get to experience other cultures. Maybe we only get to visit these countries with these rich histories once in our lifetimes. I don’t want to waste that one time. I want to relish in the culture- which is so hugely impacted by food.
That doesn’t mean I view international travel as an excuse to eat whatever I want. But if the traditional dish in a country has dairy in it, I’m still going to try it. I mean… if the traditional dish is steak, I’m going to pass. I still get sick when I eat animal products, so I can’t go crazy. But sampling various cuisines is such an important part of traveling. And while finding all of the best vegan restaurants in different cities has become something I’ve gotten increasingly good at, I think we should still submerse ourselves entirely into other cultures (but thats just me).
Now, traveling in America? I stick to my fully vegan lifestyle. Which is good because I travel around America quite a bit. Here are the top five things I always do to make it easy to stay vegan when I travel:
Know before you go! Do the research beforehand! I always google “best vegan restaurants” in the city I’m visiting. This is so obvious, but people will forget before they get to their destination, and then cave because it’s too difficult to navigate a different environment. Keep a list on your phone of top restaurants as you’re researching so that you can refer back to it. This makes me really excited to find new places to try, so try to make it fun!
Stock up early. When you get to where you’re going, hit the grocery store first. You might be tempted to rush to the beach or hit that first trailhead, but stop. Go to the grocery. Grab a few things that you can munch on if there’s nothing else around. Don’t wait until it’s 2am and you’re in the Uber on the way home from the bars and your travel buddies want to stop and grab pizza and you haven’t eaten all day because there were no vegan options. I usually grab a bag of arugula, baby carrots, a tub of hummus, and bananas. This gives me a lot of variety, for not much money (Helllllllo cheap!).
Be prepared. In the weeks leading up to my travels, I get very in tune with my eating habits so that I can know my body before I take it to a different city or country. I always pack something for me to eat on the plane and for at least the first 24 hours of travel. One time I went to Stockholm and didn’t eat anything except Larabars for 2 full days because I couldn’t read the language. Whoops!! Could’ve been prevented had I just come prepared.
Remember your staples. What food items can you always rely on? For me, when I’m out at restaurants, it’s usually salads, steamed vegetables, rice, and almost always french fries. If you know off the top of your head the ~usually vegan~ foods, it’ll be easier to decipher a menu and feel more confident in your food choices when you’re out and about. Take it one step further by asking yourself: What have you been craving lately? Can you pack some of those things along with you, in case you can’t access vegan options?
Speak up! Don’t be afraid to ask your server if certain foods are vegan. I usually find the most likely vegan foods, and then I’ll ask “does this have any dairy or eggs in it?” or “Is this cooked in butter?” Knowing what to ask and not being afraid to speak up can really help you stay fueled up while traveling!
And that’s it! Mostly, what all of this leads to is: think ahead! It is totally possible to stay vegan while you travel, and it can even be easy if you just prepare. What are your favorite vegan snacks for travel? Let me know in the comments section below!
If you’re interested in following along with my Croatian travels, check out my Instagram to stay up to date!