Ultimate Guide for Vegan Travelers: Tips & Packing Essentials 

Ultimate Guide for Vegan Travelers: Tips & Packing Essentials 

Planning a trip as a vegan? This guide has everything you need to know, from finding vegan-friendly restaurants to essential items to pack.
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This blog was written by a guest blogger, Rebecca, the creator of the vegan travel blog and travel agency, Veggies Abroad.


There once was a time when traveling as a vegan was equivalent to going on some fad weight loss program, not because you needed or wanted to drop any pounds but because the options were slim to none. For newbie vegans, it might be hard to comprehend that there once was a time when there weren’t countless gorgeous vegan pâtisseries in Paris, and burgers weren't stacked with a selection of creamy cashew cheeses and vegan aioli. 

Luckily for both veteran and newbie vegans, the veggie landscape has changed. While the days of freezer-burned veggie patties and lackluster iceberg salads are mostly behind us, it still takes a little effort to ensure you have an epic adventure.

So, whether you’re worried about starvation on your upcoming trip or just looking for ways to up your vegan game, this guide can help. I will take you through some of the best tips to ensure you're well-fed, along with some cruelty-free items that all savvy travelers need to pack in their luggage.   

How to Plan a Mouthwatering Vegan Trip

Research vegan-friendly destinations

Before you embark on your adventure, it's crucial to research and identify vegan-friendly destinations to visit. Still, even in 2023, some destinations are way friendlier than others. Understanding which destinations are already in the vegan game ensures you won't end up with that freezer-burned veggie patty I mentioned earlier!

Generally speaking, it will be easier to navigate larger cities vs. small rural towns. There are way more options for vegans in Portland than in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (it's really pretty up there, but make sure you pack snacks). 

When you're researching, also keep in mind your comfort level — will you feel comfortable navigating foreign waters, or would it be easier to head somewhere that shares your language and understanding of veganism? Often, people have FOMO when they see others posting about their adventures to far-flung destinations, but just because they did it doesn't mean it's right for you. Also, remember that what's posted on the ole Gram is heavily sanitized; you're not getting the whole picture.  

Find vegan-friendly accommodations.

You might have read that and thought, vegan-friendly accommodations? Do they exist? Yes, they do! You don't always have to settle with a place that only offers dry toast and a banana.  

Whether you’re planning a hiking trip to NY’s Finger Lakes region or a beach getaway to Bali, you might be surprised to find that not only are there vegan-friendly hotels and resorts, there are fully vegan places, too — hooray! 

Today travelers will be delighted to find small vegan boutique hotels and B&Bs popping up around the world, and major hotel chains have woken up and realized that they need to do a better job with plant-based options. It's not uncommon to walk into a chain like The Marriott or Hilton and find that their menus are well marked and include vegan options, or they’re using cruelty-free toiletries. 

The Hilton London Bankside even partnered with The Vegan Society to develop the brand's first fully vegan suite! Everything is free from animal products and cruelty, from the minibar stocked with plant-based treats to the carpeting. 

But you might be wondering how you find these options — turn to Google! There are plenty of blogs and news sites that highlight these choices, and even sometimes, major platforms like Booking.com will note if the breakfast is friendly for vegans or vegetarians. 

If you can't find anywhere that is all that vegan-friendly, then consider finding accommodations that have a kitchenette so you can, at minimum, prepare your coffee and snacks. 

Research local vegan restaurants and food options

Don’t leave home without doing this, or you might be very sad! After you've chosen a destination, start Googling "vegan food in X" and "vegan restaurants in X." When you find places, save them to your Google Maps so you can easily find them again when you're out and about.

If you find there aren't many vegan-friendly restaurants and cafes, switch gears and look for local markets and even vegan-friendly fast-food options. Just because you don’t come up with a list of restaurants that is a mile long doesn’t mean all hope is lost.

Aside from Google, another great resource is Facebook! Many destinations have vegan-specific groups with locals chatting about their favorite spots and new options — joining these groups can help you gain an insider view that not even Google knows about! 

Learn about the culture and a little bit of the language

When traveling as a vegan, being aware of local customs and cultural practices is essential. Different countries and regions may have varying levels of understanding and acceptance of veganism, so it's important to do some research before your trip.

In some places, vegan products and options may be readily available and well-known; in others, it may be more challenging to find vegan-friendly restaurants or dishes. With that in mind, it’s imperative that you learn some key phrases in the local language to communicate effectively. 

Some key phrases include:

“I am a vegan.”

“I don’t eat meat or dairy products.”

“Is this vegan?”

A few other things that I always find helpful are understanding what nondairy milk is popular in a destination and learning what soy, almond, or oat milk might be in the language. Also, learn words like meat, cheese, milk, honey, and eggs so that when you’re scanning ingredients and menus, you can easily spot them.

One last tip to help with learning comprehension is to make flashcards — it's not just an effective learning method for grade school students. I always bring the cards with me just in case my pronunciation isn't on point; I can show the card or bring it up on Google. 

Pack snacks. 

Even if you've found 50 restaurants you want to visit, you always need to be prepared in case of delays or if the airline doesn't have your special vegan meal. A few great vegan snack options include protein bars, oatmeal, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and nuts. If you have quite a few food items, be sure to pack them all together in a clear bag; security may ask you to take them out and scan them separately.  

Must-Have Vegan Travel Essentials 

From beauty items to reusable cutlery, all of these cruelty-free products can help cut down on waste and space when you’re traveling, no matter if you’re jet-setting or going on a camping adventure. What’s even better, you can find all of them on EarthHero! 

An efficient carry-on bag or backpack 

If you're traveling by plane, it's crucial that you utilize space efficiently and avoid checking a bag (no one wants to start their vacation with lost luggage). The best way to do that is with a great carry-on bag. 

I really like Cotopaxi’s Allpa Del Dia Travel Pack; this backpack has an unbelievable amount of space! The lightweight bag can be worn as a backpack or converted into a suitcase, and the inside has multiple mesh compartments for your items, a padded compartment for a laptop, and even a rain cover. 

What’s even cooler about this bag is that it’s made with a mix of recycled and repurposed fabric — this would make a fabulous gift for your favorite vegan traveler! 

Bamboo utensil set & food storage containers

If you're going on a road trip or camping, it's important to plan ahead with food storage and utensil needs — no need for paper plates and plastic forks anymore! Before heading out, grab a set (or two) of reusable bamboo cutlery that will last you forever — they are dishwasher-safe too.

In addition to that, you’ll need to consider food storage options like reusable storage bags or leak-proof Seal Cup storage containers. 

Insulated water bottle

By now, we should all have at least one reusable water bottle, but if you want to ensure that hot drinks stay hot and cold drinks stay cold, you'll want to grab an insulated bottle from Klean Kanteen. These handy bottles can keep hot drinks hot for up to 20 hours and cold drinks cold for up to 50 hours — incredibly helpful when you're on the run. 

Shampoo & conditioner bars

There’s no need to lug around plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles anymore. Not only is plastic waste terrible for the environment, but having extra liquid products makes it harder to avoid checking luggage and breezing through security with only a carry-on bag.

You’ll find a literal ton of shampoo and conditioner bar options on the market; two great companies with vegan and cruelty-free bar options are HiBAR and Good Juju (HiBAR’s moisturize, volumize, and curl bars are vegan). Both companies offer a few different types of bars so you can match their formula with what might work best for your hair. One note, if you don't like the first one you try, don't give up! Just like regular shampoo, you'll probably like some better than others. 

Non-aerosol dry shampoo

Not only is it better to wash your hair less for your hair’s health, but who doesn’t want to save time on their morning beauty routine? Saving time means more time for exploring! Dry shampoo is the best way to extend the time between washes and Fat and The Moon has a great non-aerosol option made with lavender, cocoa, and clay to combat oil and make your hair smell lovely!  

Facial cleanser bar

Just like with shampoo and conditioner bars, you don't need to pack liquid face wash or cleanser — no matter what type of skin you have!

If you have oil or breakout-prone skin, check out Meow Meow Tweet’s charcoal facial bar. This bar contains tea tree, eucalyptus, activated charcoal, and finely ground oats to banish blemishes and reveal a glowing complexion. On the other hand, if you have more sensitive skin, try out Earth Harbor’s Rose Bay balancing facial soap. This cute pink bar is made with Australian pink sea clay, and Moroccan rose extract to remove dead skin cells, calm irritation, and balance moisture. 

Moisturizing balm stick

No one likes rough elbows, which makes kicking lotion bottles to the curb hard until you try this fabulous repair balm from Meow Meow Tweet! This vegan and cruelty-free balm is created with a mix of plant-based oils to heal even the driest skin! You can use it on your hands, body, lips, and more! What’s even better is that this superstar moisturizer is made in a compostable paper tube!

Toothpaste tabs 

Not only do tubes of toothpaste take up unnecessary room in your beauty bag, but they can’t easily be recycled —what other reasons could you need to kick them to the curb? Swap those old-school tubes for eco-friendly toothpaste tabs from UnPaste. These simple minty tabs are made with everything you need to fight tarter and plaque, plus you can slip them into the tiniest pockets.  

About the author

Rebecca is the creator of the vegan travel blog and travel agency, Veggies Abroad. After leaving her 15-year career behind in 2021, she developed and grew the popular blog into a one-stop vegan travel planning hub. The blog showcases mouthwatering lineups of vegan food, action-packed travel guides, and everything else a vegan or veg-curious traveler needs to plan a trip! For travelers who don’t want to plan their own adventure, she can help craft vegan-friendly itineraries or recommends checking out one of the Veggies Abroad tours!

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