How to stay vegan while traveling with non-vegans

Jinendra Singh

Forum Senior
May 22, 2018
Reaction score
united Kingdom
  1. Vegan newbie
For most people, the weeks before a vacation are filled with pure excitement. If you’re a vegan planning a trip with non-vegan friends, though, that joyful anticipation might be tinged with a little bit of dread.

Staying vegan while on the road might already sound daunting to you, and doing it while traveling with people who eat animal products can be even tougher.

The good news is, it’s definitely possible to stay true to your beliefs everywhere you go AND keep the peace with your non-veg friends and family.
So do You have any such trips and how you managed all that?
I haven't had any trips like that but I would suggest bringing some snacks for the car that don't require refrigeration. Things like trail mix (you can make your own), crackers with peanut butter or some other nut butter, protein bars, etc. A lot of places nowadays have some kind of vegan option or something that can be made vegan. All you have to do is ask.
Well, it depends on where you live, where you're going, and what you're doing on vacation. For example, if you're vacationing in or nearby a large city, you would have many vegan options. You should be able to duck into just about any grocery store and put together something quickly. As long as your company/companions understand you have slightly different needs. And local Vegan restaurants can be as easy to find as a quick click of the mouse It does help to do a bit of research into where you're traveling.

So personally, I plan ahead, and map out spots where I'll be able to stop and stock up on supplies. Even knowing when you’ll next be able to visit a supermarket next can be an invaluable step towards making sure you have access to fresh fruit and veggies. (Look for dark green salad mixes in the produce section – they often have pre-washed spinach and other ‘instant’ salads that can provide some much-needed nutrition on the go. Pre-packaged spirulina smoothies can be found in certain grocery stores as well.)

As Amber suggested, trail mixes, dried fruits, and also dried veggies, granola bars, power bars, cliff bars, dark chocolate, and ginger chews, and veggie drink mixes for on-the-go smoothies.

Don't forget your supplements, if you take any...B12, etc. Make sure you bring along a few condiments that will make your foods taste better, nutritional yeast, soy or hot sauce, mustard, etc. Often when on the road, I'll pack a small chef's knife and cutting board in my car, which gives me a few more options when eating out of my vehicle via grocery stores.

Some fruits make perfect travel snacks, like bananas, apples, oranges, etc. Anything that comes with it's own packaging that doesn't require refrigeration. Even just a can of beans can make a filling and nutritious meal. You can rinse them right in the can, and eat them from the can. While this doesn't sound so appetizing, it is still satiating and can work in a tough situation.

There's lots of great vegan travel blogs as well, I'd suggest checking out as many as you can.
  • Like
Reactions: Kellyr
Traveling while vegan is a little new for me, too. When I was lacto-ovo vegetarian, it was definitely much easier to find things to eat if we were dining at restaurants. Now it's a lot trickier.

In our current culture, however, it's easier and easier to ask restaurant staff for substitutions or details on ingredients used in their foods since more and more people are requiring restaurants to adjust for food allergies and the like. So it's more normal for waitstaff to hear people ask "is this gluten-free", etc., and then be ready to suggest options.

I usually prepare the person waiting on our table letting them know "I'm going to be a bit of a pain in the ***..." (this usually gives them a chuckle, then I commence with my list of questions... do you cook this in butter... do the beans have lard... do you use beef or chicken/other meat stock for the soup... etc.)

Usually when I'm traveling for an extended period of time, I do like Veganite suggested above - I make sure I stock up and bring plenty of foods I know I can eat, fruits, nuts, energy bars, veggies that don't require cooking like carrots, bread, etc. And then usually we always swing by a grocery store so that gives me plenty more opportunity to pick up fresh food. Often we also plan to cook a few meals at the place we're staying, so in that case I'll make something that I can eat - oftentimes I'll make enough to share with everyone, too, so they get to have some delicious vegan food, too.

If at all possible, I also scope out the possible restaurants we'd be eating at ahead of time and look at their menus online and make game plans on what I could eat.

I went on a retreat a couple months ago, and I was able to let the kitchen staff know ahead of time what my dietary needs were and they accommodated. The funny thing about it was whenever they'd bring out my special vegan fare, all my friends at the table with their boring plates of brown food would look at my colorful plate of vegan food with a bit of envy and say "wow - that looks so good!"
  • Like
Reactions: Veganite
Where are you going? Cities tend to be more vegan friendly and rural area's not so much.

If it is rural it's just a matter of getting your own food with you and a supplement although sometimes you will find a place that serve's vegan food.
My suggestion is to have a vegan pizza. Pizza Express in the UK and Gibraltar offer vegan cheese on pizzas and various starters. I make my own vegan parmesan and takes some with me to non-vegan places. Restaurants are often willing to make a pizza with no cheese. I just sprinkle my home-made vegan cheese on top. Another option is to order a salad (or selection of salads) for 2 or 3 people and eat it all yourself! Focus on the starter section of the menu and order a few vegan starters just for yourself. In Spain (not very vegan or veggie friendly) you can sometimes find tapas bars with a few vegan options. If push comes to shove, steal a few of your carnivore friends chips/fries.
I just got back from vacationing with family. All 11 of them are typical southern eaters, two of which are my son and husband. I loaded my suitcase with baggies of nuts, seeds, vegan snacks, and such. They made it through the airport fine and were great to have on hand. Except for one time at a restaurant, I managed to consciously get through 9 days of travel as animal friendly as possible. It should be noted that I am still new to this ethical choice, so I expect a few slips when I can't help or control my environment.
I always check for vegan options in the places we are supposed to go to, if it is impossible I make my own snacks in advance and have a big breakfast and supper when I'm back at home/hotel. I'm really glad that my friends are really understanding of my diet and lifestyle and if we come across a restaurant that doesn't have vegan options, they are willing to go somewhere else instead. :)
This is my biggest fear, whenever I go anywhere! I always pack vegan snacks in the car if we are going to be gone longer than 4-5 hours, because I never know where we are going to end up. If we are staying at a hotel, I research beforehand or check to see if they have a refrigerator and/or cooking unit.

My in-laws know that I am vegan, so they always have fresh veggies, sweet potatoes, and unsweetened soy milk for my coffee :)

I'm a huge baseball fan, so we go to Fenway 4-5 times a year. There is NOTHING I can eat when I'm out at the park, so I shove my bag full of concealable snacks, eat a hearty meal beforehand, and usually hit up a Fresh City on my way home!
I try to check where we are going, places that we will be visiting i.e museums, excursions etc. and seeing what is around that area to try and plan in advance. Painful, but it has worked. Also as mentioned by some users, snacks! Nuts, fruits, cereal bars etc. I even carry a small tub or vegan protein and a shaker in my bag so I can slam a quick shake here and there to keep me full and top up protein levels.