After this last week in the Bahamas, I feel like I could write a book on staying vegan while traveling. I provisioned a boat with a weeks worth of food for 11 people (provisioning guide coming soon!). Two of us were vegan/vegetarian, with a couple dairy free folks as well.
After years of doing friend trips, from sailing in the Bahamas, to ski trips in Tahoe, and visits to New York, I've got this locked down. With a little preparation and perseverance, you'll eat great food without feeling like a burden to your hosts or friends.
When I get hangry, stuff spirals quickly. Preparation is key.
Right: Oahu, Hawaii
Top tips for eating vegan while traveling with a group:
- Offer to help plan meals, grocery shop and cook. On our trip, we cooked 5/7 of the nights. I purposefully chose meals that I knew could be made vegan (or vegetarian) easily, like chili, fajitas, and sandwiches. I also stocked up with plenty of vegan-friendly snacks like carrots and hummus, chips and salsa, peanut-butter, fruit etc.
- If you plan to eat out, research restaurants in advance if possible. When traveling stateside, chains like Sweetgreen, Chopt, Chipotle, and Panera are all great options for quick bites. If not possible, have a back-up plan to eat ahead of time. I've been known to have a PB&J beforehand just to help with some of the temptation. Don't be afraid to ask your server if they have any vegan options or substitutions.
- Pack snacks. For me, this is crucial because when I get hangry, stuff spirals quickly. I love packing LaraBars. E is notorious for always having a little bit of chocolate on hand to feed the hangry monster.
- Have a good breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and also the easiest to make vegan. Things like avocado toast, smoothies, acai bowls will keep you full for longer and more energized than than foods like eggs, bacon, and pancakes.
- Go easy on yourself! I consider myself a 95% vegan. Otherwise, I'm vegetarian or pescatarian. It's just harder when you travel, no doubt. I like to really experience a place through the local cuisine. I'll come home with all kinds of ideas to my own vegan renditions. You can still really enjoy a creamy pasta with Parmesan in Italy, or fresh ahi tuna in the islands. And if you want to have that pasta in Thailand because it's what you want, then you do you. The vegan police aren't going to get you for enjoying life.