10 tips to make your Vegan vacation the best trip ever!
Planning your summer travels? Well, you're in luck because I've got ten tips to make it the best vacation ever!
1) First things first, do your research. Look up vegan-friendly restaurants and accommodations in the area you're visiting. Trust me, it'll save you a lot of stress and hunger pains. I've made the mistake of booking a hotel on the beach in Ocean City, MD with no vegan options for miles. Having to drive all the time when all we wanted was to order-in after a long day at the beach was a big mistake.
2) Next, pack some snacks. For the car or the plane. It's always a good idea to have some vegan snacks on hand in case you can't find anything to eat. Plus, it's a great way to save some money. Don't forget to bring some reusable containers for leftovers too! This saved us on our recent trip to the Dominican Republic when a delay at the check-in counter meant we couldn't grab food before our 4 hr plane ride - yikes! And you KNOW airline options will have almost nothing that is vegan. Just be prepared!
3) When you're out and about, don't be afraid to ask questions. Ask your server if they have any vegan options or if they can modify a dish to make it vegan. And I always hunt up the local vegan cuisine. You never know what delicious surprises you might find!
4) Learn key phrases in the local language: Familiarize yourself with phrases like "I am vegan" and "Does this contain animal products?" This will help you communicate your dietary preferences to locals and ensure you make informed choices while dining out. Or write out a dining card to show to restaurant staff with a translation requesting your dietary needs.
5) Utilize vegan-friendly apps: Apps like HappyCow, Vegman, and Vanilla Bean can help you find nearby vegan-friendly establishments, read reviews, and even navigate menus in foreign languages.
6) Explore the local vegan cuisine wherever you go. Each country has its unique plant-based dishes that can be both delicious and authentic. Be open to trying local fruits, vegetables, grains, and traditional vegan dishes. Embracing local flavors will enhance your travel experience and connect you with the culture of the place you're visiting. I'm still craving the ripe mangoes of the Dominican Republic!
7) Consider booking accommodation with kitchen facilities or Airbnb options that allow you to cook your own meals. Having access to a kitchen will provide you with the flexibility to prepare your own vegan meals, especially if vegan-friendly restaurants are scarce in your destination. However, if you're going on a cruise or to an all-inclusive resort with vegan options, make sure to share your dietary needs before you arrive and when you arrive. Club Med is usually very accommodating for vegans, and on our recent trip to the Playa Miches Esmerelda location, the restaurant manager offered to have us meet with the Executive Chef if we didn't see enough options for our family. Luckily, we found the options plentiful and delicious!
8) Don't forget about your toiletries! So many vegans focus on the food and then use the hotel shampoo and conditioner. Guess what - those are probably not vegan. The more you consume, the more the hotel will buy up millions of tiny plastic bottles of animal derived products. Not great for the animals or the environment. I usually take my own toiletries. I use empty squeeze bottles and take my vegan shampoo, conditioner and soap with me.
9) Reach out to local vegan communities or social media groups to connect with like-minded individuals who can provide recommendations and insider tips. They can guide you to the best vegan spots and help you navigate the local vegan scene.
10) If you're going to a cruise or all inclusive, pack your durable wood or stainless steel utensils and some silicone storage containers. Take some of the vegan options off your plate and store them for snacks in your room or for days spent out and about. Just be mindful that fruit and vegetables will be a no-go if your getting off a cruise ship or going through customs. You'll need to take cereal, granola, bread, and packaged goods, etc.
Traveling as a vegan doesn't have to be daunting. With proper planning, research, and an open mind, you can enjoy incredible culinary experiences while staying true to your vegan lifestyle. These ten tips will help you navigate the challenges, find vegan-friendly options, and make the most of your travel adventures. Happy vegan travels!