Just over a year ago I decided to make a big change in my life and go vegan. A vegan is someone who does not consume any animal products. I cut out meat, dairy, eggs, seafood, etcetera from my diet all at once. Of course it was hard for me to adapt in the beginning, but after about a month or two I found that being vegan was a piece of cake (vegan cake of course). Now I often forget that my lifestyle is different from others and rarely find it hard to not eat animal products. I’m so grateful that I found the vegan community, because it changed my life for the better. Not only do I feel healthier, but I know that I am truly helping other living creatures and our environment as much as possible. I could write about the benefits of veganism for hours, but instead I want to offer my advice to new vegans or people who are thinking about becoming vegan in hopes of making the transition easier. I’ve found that the hard part of veganism is eating while traveling. Although traveling as a vegan isn’t extremely difficult, you are bound to experience a few challenges while on the go. At home, you can stock up on vegan food and have a list of go to restaurants, but on the go, especially when you are with people who aren’t vegan, it’s much easier to find yourself at a restaurant without many options. However, traveling can be a breeze if you follow these five tips.
- ALWAYS pack snacks
In my opinion, packing snacks is the easiest and most effective thing you can do to improve your travel experience. For a short day trip a few granola bars and an apple might suffice. On a longer trip you might want to bring a separate tote bag filled with snacks. They can serve as back up just in case you can’t find vegan food. Here are some of my favorite snacks:
- Larabars (I always keep a few in my bag no matter where I’m going)
- Builder’s Bars (have a ton of protein)
- cereal (Peanut Butter Puffins Cereal is amazing)
- peanut butter
2. Stock up on pre-made meals
If you are staying in a hotel, pre-made food is great to have own hand. I often want to stay in instead of going out for food, but then find there are not many desirable food options at the hotel. Whole Foods is a good place to head to for pre-made food. They can be pricey, but have vegan sushi, burritos, and ton of different hot food options.You can also make food and take it with you before you leave from your trip if you don’t want to spend a lot of money (there are some great youtube videos out there with recipes to pre-make a weeks worth of food).
3. Plan ahead, but don’t be afraid to wander if you have time
I always turn to the app Foursquare if I want to find restaurants that are the vicinity of my vacation spot that have vegan options. However, if you are in a city and have time to wander around and looks for vegan restaurants, definitely do so. I’ve found some of the best vegan food I’ve ever had by turning down randoms city streets. Just a few days ago ate some delicious vegan tacos and drank freshly squeezed orange juice at place that I just happened to walk by.
4. Always ask for vegan options at restaurants
Even if you are at a restaurant that looks like it would never have vegan options, always ask. You would be surprised by how many places are happy to accommodate vegans even if they don’t have any options on the menu. It’s also important to ask because it brings awareness to the necessity for vegan options. I’ll admit that many times I’ve just said I have a dairy allergy, because I wasn’t confident enough to just say I’m vegan. However, over time I’ve gained much more confidence in my lifestyle choice and realized how essential it is to help restaurants learn how common veganism actually is.
5. Be willing to try new foods
For some people, including me, trying new foods is a breeze. However, I’m aware, because I have a brother that only ate chicken fingers and pizza until he was 14, that trying new foods is extremely difficult for some people. However, learning how to be adaptable is really helpful when you are traveling as a vegan. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a trip and found myself in a restaurant where they only have one vegan option. If this is the case I order it no matter what it is. If it happens to be a type of food I’ve never tried or am not the biggest fan of, I go for it anyway. This challenge has opened me up to trying, and realizing that I love, so many foods that I never would have ordered if I wasn’t vegan.