Travelling Vegan: The Ultimate Survival Guide

When you took the leap and decided to go vegan, what you’d be having for dinner on your summer holiday probably wasn’t at the forefront of your mind. Learning the ropes of the plant-based lifestyle is enough to be getting on with, right?

But, if you’re anything like us, a time comes when itchy feet start to get the better of you. Maybe you feel it when you’re fully in the swing of veganism, maybe it comes when you’re a tentative newbie. Either way, the thought of taking your plant-powered self on tour can be overwhelming.

Have no fear, vegan heroes! There’s no need to spoil your vacay worrying about where your next plate of plants is coming from. We put together this guide to help you on your way. Bon voyage!

Plan Ahead

Sounds obvious doesn’t it? But let’s break it down:

Get in touch

with accommodation before you book. Simply ask whether they’re vegan friendly and what they can do to accommodate you. They might already provide vegan breakfast options, they might get in a carton of soya milk specially. As long as they respond respectfully, it’s a great start. If they’re hostile, book somewhere else! There are vegan holiday operators which are worth a look if you’re anxious about this (here for example).

State your dietary needs

when you book transport. If meals are included, it could mean the difference between the provider having something or nothing to offer you! P.S beware non-vegan extras on your tray, like margarine and powdered milk or creamer.

Pack snacks!

We know you can make a vegan sandwich that knocks the soggy non-vegan offerings in the shops into a cocked hat anyway. Why not upgrade your packed lunch with a dollop of flavour, in the form of a vegan pate or spread? If convenience is more your thang, Bonsan coconut chips and fruit gums are ready to go and organic, delicious and absolutely vegan. Perfect journey food!

Talk the Talk

Get a phrasebook, seek out local vegans online and ask them for a crib-sheet or acquaint yourself with google translate. Learning a bit of the local language goes a long way – vegan or not – but will save you many a headache (and tummy rumble) if you’re savvy. Learn (or note down) useful phrases, such as “Is there meat in that?”, “What fat is used in this?” and “Does this contain egg?”.

Some vegans choose to learn how to say “I’m allergic to dairy/eggs” in their destination language.

The Vegan Society has done us all a solid and created the Vegan Passport (available in hard copy or as an app). It’s a vegan phrasebook (in 79 languages!) with failsafe pictures to ensure you can always make your dietary needs understood.

Be Social

Never underestimate the international power of the social network!

Facebook has a mass of groups for vegans. Just type ‘vegan’ + whatever country/town/area you’re going to in the search bar and hit join on the top results. Vegans are the friendliest people, if you put a comment on the group wall asking for advice (even if it’s a potentially iffy google translation) you’re sure to get helpful replies.

Instagram is overflowing with pictorial evidence of mouth-watering vegan meals had all over the world, just hit the hashtags (#vegan+yourdestination) and let the photos be your guide.

Likewise, Pinterest can return hundreds of pins that lead you to great plant-based options.

Check the Directories

Search the term ‘vegan’ in the TripAdvisor for your destination area – the listings will show places that have been tagged as vegan-friendly, even if they don’t advertise themselves as such.

HappyCow is a directory specifically for vegan friendly establishments, which are reviewed and you can filter and sort by price and distance.

Street Life

We love street food, because it’s authentic, fresh and you can see what’s going in to your meal! Lots of traditional street food is vegan at its core, just watch the toppings. Some vegans carry sachets of soy sauce to offer to street food vendors to use in their meals in place of fish sauce.

Serve yourself

When all else fails, head for the local market and stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables. If your accommodation is self-catered, you’ll have no trouble whipping up a tasty and nourishing meal (top tip: pack Bonsan Organic Hot and Fiery Chilli Sauce for a quick way to get a guaranteed taste explosion in any meal!).

In some places you can hire barbeque pits, and you can always pack a mini chopping board and a knife in your hold luggage for preparing food if you won’t have access to a kitchen. Other foods you might consider packing for your trip are peanut butter (or vegan chocolate spread, if that’s more your flavour), baked beans and powdered plant milk, which can be expensive or tricky to find.

The Bottom Line

Don’t let veganism put you off travelling, or travelling get in the way of you living your best plant-based life. Bon appetit!

Any top vegan travel tips of your own to share? Drop a comment on our social or let us know here… we’re all ears!

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