Tips for how to eat vegan while traveling. Once you learn these tips and tricks, eating vegan on the road becomes a breeze! How to travel as a vegan. How to eat vegan at a restaurant. How to find vegan options on the road.
If you’re a new vegan, chances are that eating vegan on the road feels like an unsolvable riddle.
Never fear! Once you learn a few tips and tricks, eating vegan on the road will become as easy as putting on underwear…unless you’re not into that, then by all means let it all HANG OUT!
I’m going to show you how I order at common fast food chains and sit down restaurants and some easy foods to pack into a cooler. If you find yourself in BFE, I’ll even show you how to find a vegan snack in a gas station.
To eat vegan on the road, you have to learn to see through your new vegan glasses. Once you do, you’ll see options where you didn’t see them before.
It’s not necessarily harder, it’s just that you have to re-learn some things. Once you learn those tricks, it becomes second nature.
But it’s such a pain in the ass
When you’re on the road, finding vegan options can be a breeze but there are definitely those times when it takes a little bit more effort. Just be mentally prepared for this. Without a strong ‘Why’, all of this will feel pointless and annoying.
Before I give you tips and advice on how to eat vegan while on the road, the first thing you have to have in place is your ‘Why’.
Why are you vegan? For veganism to stick, your ‘Why’ has to have a strong emotional pull.
Your ‘Why’ is so important because it keeps you motivated in those instances when finding vegan options takes a little more effort.
For me, my ‘Why’ is animal suffering. When I see animal products at restaurants, my mind doesn’t even register it as an option anymore because I’ve established such a strong connection to my ‘Why’.
When I see meat and dairy, I see baby calves being torn away from their distraught mothers so we can steal her milk. I see cows strung upside down, fear in their pleading eyes, flailing and choking on their blood. It provokes a strong emotional response and keeps me motivated.
For others, it might be the environmental destruction that animal agriculture causes. Thinking of the planet we’re leaving behind for our children might provoke a strong emotional response.
Whatever it is, find a strong, emotional ‘Why’ and keep connecting to it until animal products don’t register in your mind as an option anymore.
Now that you’re connected to your strong, emotional ‘Why’, here are some tips and tricks to staying vegan on the road.
Pack an electric cooler and prep food.
This is probably the smartest, healthiest and cheapest way to eat vegan on the road, but it does take a little planning.
To make this even easier, get an electric cooler that plugs into your car outlet. Then you don’t have to waste money on ice or bother draining the water every time the ice melts.
You can always find a grocery store, even in the most remote places. Some easy road foods to bring are:
Baked potatoes - I know this sounds weird but I was on a two week tour and we brought 10 baked potatoes. We wrapped them in aluminum foil and kept them in the cooler. They were amazingly satisfying and easy to clean up. Bring some A1 sauce to eat them with. Killer combo.
Sandwiches - Buy vegan sandwich meat, hummus and mustard. PB&J is also easy. Chickpea salad sandwich is super easy as well.
Fruit - anything but bananas. They get ripe and stink up the whole car. They also bruise easily and you have to handle them gently. Opt for oranges, clementines, apples and grapes.
Soymilk and cereal
Hummus with pre-cut vegetables to snack on.
Refried beans, salsa and wraps to make easy tacos. You can warm them up in a gas station microwave.
Pasta salads - Make a big-ass dish and bring in tupperware.
Bean and corn salad
Chips and salsa
You get the idea. Bring a bowl, utensils and cups. Clean out your dishes at rest stops.
If you’re not the food-prepping type, bring packaged snacks like fruits, granola bars, and veggies and hummus to ensure that you have something to eat.
You can also wing it and find vegan options at popular fast food chains.
How I order at common fast food chains
I have traveled all over the U.S. as well as internationally. I can always find vegan options by looking for a handful of common restaurants that I know are easy to order vegan at. I will give you those instead of overwhelming you with every single option at every restaurant.
This is by far the best and easiest way to eat vegan on the road. You just have to order some of these fresco style to take off the cheese and sour cream. Here is exactly what I say when I’m ordering:
7 layer burrito fresco style (this takes off the dairy and adds pico de gallo). Sub black beans for refried beans add potatoes
Taco salad fresco style. Sub black beans for beef. Add potatoes, guacamole and red sauce
Black bean burrito. Fresco style. Add potatoes
Tostada. Fresco style add potatoes
Crunchy or soft taco. Fresco style. Sub beans for beef. Add guacamole and potatoes
Nachos supreme. No cheese or sour cream. Sub beans for beef. Add guac and potatoes
Crunch wrap supreme. No cheese or sour cream. Sub beans for beef. Add potatoes
Veggie sub or wrap. I get all the vegetables. I top it with avocado, Subway vinaigrette, mustard and black pepper.
Oatmeal with soy milk and soy lattes. At some locations, I've seen them label which snacks and bagels are vegan that they display in their cases.
Mediterranean veggie sandwich with no feta on country rustic bread and a cup of ten vegetable soup.
Sofritos burrito or bowl. I get rice, black and pinto beans, salsa, sofritos and guacamole and lettuce
Veggie burrito or bowl. Rice, beans, guacamole, lettuce, salsa
Noodles & CO
The Chinese Chop Salad without wontons, the Indonesian Peanut Sauté, the Japanese Pan Noodles, the Penne Rosa without cream and cheese, and the Whole Grain Tuscan Fresca without cheese. Tofu can also be added to any dish.
They offer the beyond burger at all locations. You can usually find these in airports as well. Just ask for no cheese or mayo.
They offer the impossible burger as a slider there. Just ask for it with no cheese. They switched their vegan sliders to vegan buns as well!
They now offer the vegan Beyond Burger. Just order the vegan Beyond Famous Star
I LOVE ordering their Beyond Avocado taco. This is automatically vegan and doesn't have cheese or sour cream. They also now offer the Beyond 8 layer burrito and Beyond Cali Burrito. Just ask for no cheese and no sour cream for the burritos.
They now offer the Impossible Whopper nationwide. Order it with no cheese or mayo
They offer follow your heart vegan cheese now. Order the veggie pizza with follow your heart. Ask for no butter and parmesan on the crust.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe
I usually order the hummus veggie wrap or bowl with no cheese. You can also order any of their chicken wraps, bowls, salads or flatbreads with Beyond Meat chicken. Be sure to ask for it without cheese or dairy.
Gas Station/Convenience Store
At a gas station I usually go for the granola bars like the Kind bar (make sure to read ingredients because some have honey) or Clif bars. Mixed nuts, Oreos or potato chips are good when I’m in the junk food mood. Just read the ingredients of the snacks. Most are accidentally vegan. To drink, I’ll get juices, bottled smoothies like Odwalla, or sparkling water.
Use Happy Cow, Yelp or Trip Advisor
Find vegan options easier with these apps
These apps have helped me to find vegan options all over the world. To find restaurants while traveling, my process is this:
First I search Happy Cow for vegan only or veg friendly restaurants. If there aren’t many options in the area I then try Yelp.
In Yelp’s search bar, enter ‘vegan options’ and see what comes up. This usually helps when I’m in the U.S. Look through the restaurant’s menu and see if there are any plates that can be made vegan by asking to omit the cheese. If I’m international and I haven’t found many options, I then go to Trip Advisor.
When searching for restaurants on Trip Advisor, go to the filter and select ‘Dietary Restrictions’ and choose ‘Vegan Options’. Check the menu online before going to make sure they have things that could be made vegan.
How I order at sit-down restaurants
When looking for a sit down restaurant, I will first use the apps above. I generally try to find more ethnic restaurants as these are easier to eat vegan at. Be prepared to play around with the menu a bit and ask for substitutions. Here’s some of my tips:
Mexican Restaurant - I order veggie fajitas. I ask for no cheese and sour cream. Also ask if the beans have lard in them
Chinese Restaurant - Mixed vegetables and tofu in a brown sauce. I ask if the sauce can be made with no chicken or beef stock. If not, then I’ll ask what sauces don’t contain animal stock and I’ll order that sauce instead.
Thai Restaurant - Ask if they can take out the fish sauce in their curry. If not, get pad thai with no egg and no fish sauce.
Indian Restaurant - ask if they use ghee. If they don’t, the options are endless. Chana masala (chickpea curry) and Dhal curry (yellow lentils) are my favorites.
In the more remote places, diners are usually the only restaurants around. To order breakfast at these places, I order a veggie omelet with no cheese and no egg. This basically gets me a side of hash browns and sautéed veggies, which is fantastic and so satisfying. Just ask to use oil instead of butter. Be very friendly and people will not mind if your order is weird!
Pizza is always easy to find as well. Ask if their crust has eggs or dairy. If not, then order a veggie pizza, no cheese and extra sauce. I love my pizza nice and saucy.
And there you have it
Finding vegan options while traveling can at times be a little bit trickier, but a little inconvenience is nothing compared to the suffering the animals go through. I hope these tips and tricks helped. Once you know how to find vegan options while traveling, it becomes a breeze! Leave me any questions you may have below and share this with a friend who is having a hard time eating vegan while traveling.