So I don’t travel as much as I’d like to, but I do manage to get around at least a bit—even if it’s only to the next town over. Every time I travel, I try to do a bit of research beforehand to find out where I absolutely must go to try that amazing, famous vegan dish. Sometimes it’s harder to find than others, but I usually at least stumble onto something fantastic. To help others in similar searches, I’d like to share some of the highlights of my trips.
I’ll soon begin with my most recent trip to Charleston, South Carolina. But over time, I intend to retrace my travels and talk about some of these amazing trips I’ve had:
- Phoenix, Arcosanti, and Sedona, Arizona
- Seattle, Washington
- Canaan Valley, West Virginia (camping)
- Holistic Holiday at Sea Vegan Cruise
- Shelby, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina
- Lancaster, Pennsylvania
I’ll share my food highlights and a bit of my travels in these future posts. But until then, allow me to take a minute to provide some tips for traveling as a vegan.
Planning a trip as a vegan can cause a bit of anxiety. Finding yourself in an unfamiliar place can already be a bit nerve-wracking; then add on a layer of “where will I find my next meal!?” and your stomach is sure to get itself in knots. But it’s usually not terribly difficult. Websites like Happy Cow and Vegan Restaurant Finder have done most of the leg work for you already. But if you find yourself having a bit of trouble, here are some of my most successful tips.
- First, pack your own snacks—protein bars, fresh/dried fruit, nuts, etc.—for your travels. It’s your emergency supply. Try to then also locate markets and grocery stores where you’ll be traveling to stock up once you arrive, or to fall back on if you can’t find restaurants. Fortunately, markets like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have all but taken over the United States, so you might find one where you are traveling.
- Visit Happy Cow and Vegan Restaurant Finder to plan some meals before your trip. Also try searching “Vegan restaurants in ____ City” on Google or Yelp.
- After your own search, use the power of social media before your trip to crowdsource suggestions. Even though I have a relatively large (although, not vegan famous large) following on Instagram, this tip sometimes falls flat. Asking for vegan suggestions for restaurants in a town where I’ll be traveling can either return dozens of suggestions, or crickets.
- Be familiar with vegan menu items at chain fast food restaurants. While I prefer to sample the local fare, if ever I find myself in a pinch, I know that I can get a taco at Tacobell, a sandwich at Subway, a burrito at Chipotle/Q’doba/Moe’s, and so forth.
- Find the crunchiest coffee shop and ask the barista. I’ve stumbled onto a coffee shop before and noticed the server with the vegan ‘V’ tattoo and asked for suggestions. She gave me an entire list of places to visit. Similarly, if you find just one vegan place, they can surely point you in the direction of other restaurants.
- If you’re at a hotel, the concierge might be able to help. Start asking for “vegetarian,” as not many people actually know what ‘vegan’ means to someone who is a strict vegan.
- If you’re traveling out of the country, be sure to learn key dietary/menu terms. Instead of vegan, say “no dairy/meat/eggs/etc.” You might want to learn the translation for “allergy” to convey the significance. I also recently learned that, in certain countries (like Romania), you can ask for the “Lent menu” (which is, in some places, might be offered year round by request).
- Finally, if no 100% vegan restaurants show up, rest assured knowing that you will typically have no trouble at all finding something vegan at restaurants that offer Mexican, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Mediterranean…just about any cuisine other than “American.”
Do you have other vegan travel tips? If so, I’d love to hear them! Please comment below!