One of the excuses I hear a lot when people explain to me why they’re no longer vegan or think they could never go vegan is that they travel a lot and it’s too hard. I realize that not everyone is as obsessed with vegan travel as I am, but there are so many resources out there that make it easier than ever. Below I outline some of the main points.
Do your research
VegCooking.com has a huge list of vegan menu items at chain restaurants, including fast food. They have a Restaurant of the Month feature, as well as a whole “Vegan Eating while on the Road” page and a “Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurant Guide.”
Healthy Highways is helpful to have around, but the problem with books like these is that they go out of date pretty quickly.
One book though, that I have found to be absolutely essential is Vegan Passport. I bought this at Food Fight Grocery when I was buying some other vegan groceries and I absolutely love it! (It appears that Food Fight no longer carries it, but maybe if we ask nicely they’ll order more!)
Even better than books is, of course, the internet and your phone. There are quite a few sites out there that you can rely on for great info about vegan, vegetarian and veg-friendly restaurants.
iPhone apps: Veggie Passport (translator like Vegan Passport that has many phrases in 33 languages – costs $1.99)
HappyCow.net’s app is called VegOut and it’s $2.99. Highly recommend this one! I’ve used it in some pretty obscure places (like Joplin, MO) and found some great restaurants.
VeganXpress is $1.99 and has over 110 common restaurants and their menu items that are suitable for vegans. It also includes a full list of vegan and vegetarian beers, wines, snacks and junk foods that are vegan-friendly. Definitely worth $1.99!
There is a ton of info on the web about other vegan/vegetarian phone applications. Just put google to work and have fun!
Road trips are great because you can completely control everything that you eat. You can bring a cooler and keep all kinds of things with you like fresh fruit and veggies, baked tofu, Tofurky slices, tofu jerky, condiments, vegan cheeses. You can make sandwiches before hand or even at a rest stop. If you’re camping, you can prepare all your meals easily.
Boston Market, Bucca di Beppo, California Pizza Kitchen, Carrabba’s, The Cheesecake Factory, Maggiano’s, The Melting Pot, Old Chicago, The Old Spaghetti Factory, Olive Garden, On the Border, P.F. Chang’s, The Palm, Panera, Papa John’s, Pei Wei, Pizza Hut, Ruby Tuesday, Quiznos, Starbuck’s, UNO, etc. all have vegan food. Be sure to ask your server, or better yet, do your research ahead of time as servers are not always familiar with vegan requirements.
If you’re in a city or town without vegetarian restaurants, there will usually be at least one Indian, Thai, Mexican, Ethiopian, Japanese, etc. place. As with any other restaurant, you’ll want to ask questions about how the food is prepared, is chicken broth or fish sauce, etc., used, but chances are you can get a pretty decent vegan meal at one of these places.
Taco Bell, Chipotle, Baja Fresh, Q’doba, Jamba Juice, Wendy’s, etc all have vegan options, and you can at least get a salad without animal products at most fast food places.
Vegan travel doesn’t have to be hard. Sure, I make it my business to navigate the issues I could potentially run into, but with a little pre-planning, so can you!