Travelling vegan has never been easier as many countries throughout the world are getting on the bandwagon and providing lots more options – it’s getting better all the time too! Often there are native dishes which are by default vegan or they can easily be adapted.
The key is to plan well so if you know you’re going to be covering long distances, you might need to make a small dish or sandwich rather than relying on service stations. Bags of nuts are a great item to keep on you as they’re full of protein and available everywhere. You might also want to think about packing a few other essential items. For example, one of the team recently went to a small French village on holiday so packed a couple of bags of vegan cheese. They were then able to go to the local pizzeria and enjoy a full vegan feast rather than a plain pizza. Also consider taking a good stash of protein bars if you’re going somewhere with limited vegan options.
Here are a couple things you can do to help you on your travels:
- Download the Happy Cow app and/or Vanilla Bean app which list thousands of vegan-friendly eateries around the world. You can use the apps to do a bit of foodie research on your destination – all part of the fun!
- Buy The Vegan Passport, which is a multilingual phrasebook and guide to eating vegan around the world.
- Look at Pinterest, Instagram and vegan blogs from other travellers for tips and inspiration.
- Buy The Vegan Travel Handbook by Lonely Planet Food – very interesting tips, ideas, tours, festivals, eateries, food vans and lots more.
- Look at local vegan groups or Facebook pages in your chosen destination for tips and possibly even to meet up for a meal.
- Book a vegan meal on your flight – if you can’t see this option then give them a call, ideally with more than 72 hours notice.
- Contact your catered accommodation in advance to let them know you’re vegan and talk through the options available to you.
- Get some empty bottles for your cruelty-free toiletries and fill them up before leaving. If you’re reducing plastic then Lush and various online zero waste shops offer some great travel products and containers.
- Try to get sunscreen which is ‘reef safe’. Some chemicals in sunscreen are toxic to coral reefs and cause coral bleaching which puts the reefs under severe stress. Choosing a non-nano, mineral, ‘reef safe’ formula such as Jason or Holland & Barrett is much kinder.
- Pack a Tupperware container or even better a reusable lunch box – it comes in super handy for taking your own food out on an excursion or for taking home leftovers after a meal out.
- Pack a reusable bottle to save buying lots of plastic bottled water. All airports have drinking taps for refills and most accommodation should provide drinking water so you can fill your bottle each day.
- Try to find accommodation with a kitchen – you can make vegan food in any country in the world – rice, grains, nuts, fruit, veg, pulses and spices are available everywhere.
- Get creative with restaurant menus – this is where the vegan passport will come in handy! Even if a restaurant or café doesn’t offer obvious vegan options you can often order several separate side dishes or adapt one of the mains. For example you might be able to order hummus, chips, dips, olives, soup, pasta, salad and other veggie-based small plates. You could also switch out a few things or remove certain ingredients. Most restaurants should be happy to help if they understand what you’re asking for and why.
Some of the Viva! team recently went to a small ski resort in the French Alps and shopped in the tiny local shop. Even though there were very limited vegan options they ate incredible food every night by getting creative and sharing the cooking – they made bean burgers, sweet potato fries, lentil spag bol with homemade garlic bread, mushroom risotto, fresh salads, roast veg, mezze and homemade pizza – and all the recipes came from the Vegan Recipe Club app!
Here are some of our favourite vegan foodie destinations (some cities, some countries) from the Viva! Team:
The Seeds of Life, Ubud
Give Café, Canggu
Peloton Supershop, Canggu
1990 Vegan Living
Eat Your Greens
And top Bath choices:
Oak (previously Acorn – Viva!’s 25th anniversary winner for Best Vegan Restaurant)
Kozmosz Vegán Étterem
California is a haven for vegans with plant-based menus, cafés, restaurants, grocery stores and bakeries nearly everywhere you go! There’s often an emphasis on hearty and healthy. Tip: you’ll find Mexican tacories in lots of places around California which are really affordable, delicious and have good vegan options. Our top three California vegan hotspots:
Café Gratitude, LA
Timeless, San Francisco
Vegan Picnic, San Francisco
L’OV Osteria Vegetariana
Smith & Daughters
Paris never used to be a vegan hotspot but things have changed a lot over the last five years and there is now an abundance of vegan eateries. From plant-based pâtisseries, cafés, restaurants, concept stores, fine dining, junk food and stylish modern bistros… you definitely won’t go hungry here! There’s even a whole area dedicated to meat-free living called Veggie Town (make sure you get a map!): Here are our top three:
Not only is Prague stunning, it’s full of delicious vegan food! Plant-based eating is very normal and welcomed throughout the city – you’ll find lots of vegan restaurants, good vegan menus in most veggie restaurants and various options in non-veg eateries. Here are a few of our favourites:
Brazil is certainly not renowned for its vibrant vegan scene but it is slowly emerging in some of the bigger cities. Whilst it’s not a foodie destination, the vegan cafés and restaurants that are here are great, including all you can eat buffets with a variety of mock meats and sushi. As a separate mention, a couple of the Viva! team headed into the Amazon via Manaus (the gateway city) and found several vegan restaurants including pizzas with ‘cheese’ and mock meats! Our Rio favourites:
The Veg, Hanoi
Phuoc Duyen Chay, Ho Chi Minh
Quan Chay, Hoi An
Vege Bistro Warszawa
Lokal Vegan Bistro
Here are the top 10 vegan-friendly cities according to Happy Cow:
- London, UK (wow we’re doing something right!)
- New York, USA
- Berlin, Germany
- Los Angeles, USA
- Toronto, Canada
- Warsaw, Poland
- Portland (Oregon), USA
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Tel Aviv, Israel
- Prague, Czech Republic