Plan. Pack. Discover.
Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, some forethought will make any time away from home go smoothly & help your vegan game stay strong. With a little extra effort, travelling as a vegan is easier than you may have imagined! It’s totally possible to have a great experience in spite of certain obstacles and temptations.
Planning ahead is key.
Before you head off, look into things like:
Airline – Will your flight have meals on board? Do you have to pre-order or pre-purchase a meal with dietary restrictions? Some airlines need advance notice for specific requests. Research if the airline you are flying with offers special meals, and note that certain items may only be available on long-haul flights. If the airline cannot cater to a vegan diet, look into what you can buy at the airport. Most major airports have grab and go restaurants or cafes with vegan options. For example; Starbucks, Freshii, Paramount Fine Foods, Thai Express, Purblendz, Jugo Juice, etc. Here’s a list of places at the Toronto Pearson Airport: Vegan airport food
- Accommodations - Research the hotel that you will be staying at, and the surrounding area. Don’t hesitate to contact the hotel prior to your arrival to ask if they have a vegan-friendly breakfast option, or plant-based milk for coffee or tea. If you are travelling for business and stuck in meetings or conferences all day, make sure you check in with the organizers and ask for vegan catering options. Most places are accommodating, but may need a heads up. Juice bars and health food stores are a good backup to find healthy vegan snacks to stay nourished throughout the day. A good alternative to hotels/resorts is to book your own apartment or cabin on sites like Airbnb. This way you would have the luxury of stocking up on vegan items at the grocery store or market and preparing meals in your own kitchen.
- BYOV - Bring Your Own Vegan... Packing a few home essentials will help maintain your vegan lifestyle while you’re away. Typically, most hotel guest products are not vegan (or even cruelty-free). Packing your own goods like shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and other toiletries will not only save waste and packaging, but will ensure your entire trip is vegan proof. Stock up on some locally made products at stores like Lush or Purdy Natural or shop online here for vegan travel items. If you’re flying, make sure to check with airline liquid & gel restrictions to avoid having any issues.
- Food - Bringing your own snacks is always an option. Be mindful of airline liquid & gel limits (if flying) and check any food restrictions when travelling outside of Canada. Some options: protein bars/cliff bars, hummus, crackers, trail mix, oatmeal, soup, dried fruit, protein powder, etc.
- Dinning Out - For a list of suitable restaurants in the area, check out websites and apps like Happy Cow. Supporting local is always a good idea, and you’d be surprised how many vegetarian & vegan restaurants are popping up all over the place! Research the area you will be visiting and have your choice of good eats made with love. For those who love a familiar chain restaurant, check this list out for places to dine in, or grab take-out.
- Outside of North America - When travelling abroad, consider a veg-friendly country such as India, Taiwan, Thailand, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Costa Rica, Mexico, etc. Books and apps such as Vegan Passport will come in handy when explaining your needs in a foreign language. Be aware of certain tourist attractions that may exploit animals, and opt for a visit to a local animal sanctuary or veg-friendly festival instead. Explore, discover & immerse yourself in the culture and try a “veganized” version of a traditional meal. Check out this long list of worldwide popular dishes made vegan.
- Connect - There are a bunch of resources online to help plan a vegan friendly vacation. Check out blogs like Mindful Wanderlust & get inspired by uber cool vegan couple Giselle & Cody, who travel around the world full time blogging about their adventures (how awesome is that – are you as jealous as we are?) Or check out sites like Vegan Travel for other inspirational blogs, or google Vegan Tours. Connect with other vegans and like-minded people wherever you go! Facebook, Instagram and Meetup apps are good for finding locals to hang out with, or for first hand advice.