Every vegan knows traveling is hard work.
Keeping your diet at home, at the office, or when you go out with family or friends is challenging enough. But throw in endless hours on the road, red-eye flights, and 14-hour layovers, and being a vegan traveler quickly becomes frighteningly similar to being in a scene from Dawn of the Dead: you’re shuffling around airports, bus stops, and train stations, shooting crazy eyes at bewildered passersby, and having incoherent conversations with your growling stomach...
That’s why we’ll break down how to easily travel as a vegan with the following topics:
- Vegan Food for Road Trips
- Vegan Food for taking on the Airplane
- Vegan Food for Camping and Backpacking
Or skip to the summary if you’re short on time. We won’t hold it against you.
This is The Easy Guide to Traveling as a Vegan, after all.
Is traveling as a vegan really that difficult?
“Come on guys, traveling as a vegan is not that difficult. Potato chips are available at every gas station, and, instead of clothes, just pack your own food. Also, you can call local restaurants to ask about their menu. Or just drink coffee to suppress your hunger. Really, I don’t see the problem.”
- Uncle Ted, who means well.
Sure, as a traveling vegan you can binge on overpriced Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos at gas stations, spend a few days preparing and packing your favorite vegan travel foods, and/or thoroughly researching plant-based options at local restaurants.
In fact, that’s what most vegan travel blogs will tell you to do.
But here’s two reasons why you shouldn’t:
- It’s a lot of work
- You won’t get the nutrients you need
So, is there a way to make traveling as a vegan easy?
Glad you asked. Did anyone say….
Sounds good, right? Just wait, it gets better…
Vegan Food for Road Trips
Ever since COVID reared its ugly head, air travel has been a big no-no.
Road trips, however, are more popular than ever .
But when you’re on a road trip and you happen to be vegan, things can get tricky.
While most of your travel buddies can (and will) wolf down taquitos, beef jerky, hot dogs, pork rinds, and grilled cheese sandwiches, you’ll have to take a different route (yes, pun intended).
And take it from us, you don’t want to go the Doritos-and-salted-nuts way. No siree bob.
No, the best way to get yourself some healthy vegan travel food is by getting some easy-to-prepare nutritionally complete meals.
You better believe that, after the tenth or so gas stop, roadside restaurant, or drive-thru, your friends will be on their knees begging you to share your nutritious meals. If only to stop their endless junk food farts from stinking up the car every two minutes…
It’s like Emma said when she left a review last year:
“Tasty and useful for road trips. I mostly use the shakes, but the bars are really good too. They taste good and have an interesting crunch without being too tough. I’ve found them useful for car trips, better and healthier than a fast food meal.”
Speaking of the bars, they’re a fast and easy way to get a good ol’ breakfast in your stomach before (or even while) hitting the road.
And they come in a bunch of awesome flavors.
Throw a couple of boxes in your trunk and you’re good to go.
It’s that easy!
Vegan Food for taking on the Airplane
Flying is hard on everyone: your taste buds go numb, you get sleepy, you fart a lot, time changes mess with your brain, and your skin gets dehydrated .
But however hard plane travel may be, it’s even harder on vegan travellers.
The food options onboard and at the airport are limited, at best. More than often an airline won’t offer vegan options at all.
And if you’re hopping planes, countries, and time zones it’s important to stay focused.
The risk of lost luggage cancelled or missed flights, losing your passport, and getting mugged requires your brain and body to be on red alert.
So your best bet is to bring your own food.
But are you gonna pack coconut yogurt, granola, and fresh berries? A chickpea salad? Or homemade vegetable wraps?
Of course not! You’re going to keep things easy breezy lemon squeezy.
Here are your options - in order of ease of use:
Vegan meal bar during your flight
Remember those yummy meals bars Emma recommended? They fit in your pocket - any pocket.
Just reach down and *boom!*: a fistful of delicious nutritiousness - 400 kilocalories waiting to be devoured.
Half a Plenny Bar is a perfect & nutritionally complete mid-flight snack!
Vegan, savory instant hot meal
A little chilly? A bit peckish?
With a little help from your flight attendant friends, you can prepare a hot savory meal right in your seat.
Just add hot water to the cup. Within a few minutes, a 400-kilocalorie hot meal will breathe new life into that stiff and sluggish body of yours.
A hot, savory vegan meal during your flight.
Powdered vegan meal shake
Shakes are the most cost-effective way to stay both hydrated and nourished during a flight.
Just put two scoops of nutritionally complete plant-based powder into your shaker cup and ask the flight attendant for some cold water.
Just shake to prepare a meal!
With just these three meals you’re packing 1200 kcal of complete nutrition at a total weight of just 500 grams.
Seriously, flying as a vegan doesn’t get any easier than this.
Pro tip: if you’re thinking about bringing trail mix as a vegan travel snack - don’t. Because of allergy hazards, some airlines have completely banned nuts from their flights . So you better bring some high-protein nutritionally complete meals instead. It will save you the disappointment.
Vegan Food for Camping and Backpacking
Cities are a vegan traveler’s best friend. There are plenty of blogs, websites, and apps that can guide you in the right direction.
But what if you’d rather go forest bathing or mountain climbing?
Unfortunately, Mother Nature is not big on supermarkets, and backpacking is hard work: even walking on flat terrain you’ll easily burn a couple hundred calories per hour .
And if you’re out in the mountains and carrying along a backpack, that number very quickly doubles or even triples.
So what you need is calorie-dense, lightweight, vegan food options.
Like Jan, who brought them on his most recent hiking adventure in the mountains:
“I just finished a hiking-camping trip of three weeks in the Alps, and this is a great product. Light to carry and no cooking needed, which saves gas. Good alternative for the typical freeze-dried meals (which are very expensive).” - Jan P.
Breakfast and snack options
Although coffee and a bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon and a swirl of honey are a delicious way to start your day, they lack the necessary nutrition for when you’re out and about in the wild.
Besides: packing and preparing that stuff is hard work.
So instead you’ll want a caffeinated meal shake for breakfast. Zero hassle, better nutrition, and a caffeine boost to get those boots a-walkin’.
Just by adding water, 100 grams of nutritionally complete powder turns into a 400-kcal drinkable meal.
Seriously, a powdered nutritionally complete meal shake is probably the most calorie-dense vegan food option out there.
One bag contains 10 nutritionally complete 400-kcal meals
But also nuts are a great source of fat, fiber, and protein. Most of the fat in nuts is monounsaturated fat (the good kind). They’ll keep you going, but you shouldn’t expect too many calories from these little guys. The same goes for fruits.
For a more substantial snack, try an Almond & Fig meal bar. That’s 400 kilocalories of complete nutrition, and you can save the rest for later in your pocket. Or, better yet, share it with your hiking buddies.
Pro tip: In the morning, make an extra-large vegan meal shake. Instead of using two scoops of about 100 grams, use 3 scoops with about 450 milliliters of water. Drink half (300 kilocalories) at breakfast so you can take a few swigs as a snack during the rest of the day.
Filling vegan lunch options
If you want to combine high caloric density with maximum convenience, be sure to also bring along a few of the vegan meal bars on your next trip.
Just stuff them in your jacket pocket or the front pocket of your backpack, and you’re good to go.
Lunchtime? Simply take off the wrapper to unleash a 400-kcal powerhouse, brimming with delicious vegan nutrition.
How does Caramel Sea Salt, Almond & Fig, or Pizza flavor sound?
Pro tip: Use an elastic band to bundle your vegan meal bars for optimal use of space. For example, make nutritionally complete packing squares by stacking up rows of six bars and bundling them together.
Hardy and savory vegan dinner options
After an active day in the great outdoors you’ll want a warm, hardy meal to recharge your tired and aching body.
But are you going to stuff your pack with rice, pasta, beans, lentils, tofu, vegetables, and a net of avocados?
Better leave behind that sleeping bag, rain jacket, and extra pair of underwear!
And then, when after a long day of exploring and dragging your pack along you’re tired and hungry, it’s time to think of a way to turn those ingredients into a balanced and tasty meal.
By the way: did you think to pack oil, salt, pepper, and seasoning herbs?
But this wouldn’t be The Easy Guide to Traveling as a Vegan if there wasn’t a much, much easier option.
Delicious and nutritionally complete instant hot meals that only weigh 300 grams and pack 400 kcal of energy!
All you have to do is add hot water, get out your spork, and enjoy your surroundings for a few minutes.
Next thing you know, you can dig into a plateful of Creamy Cajun Pasta, Vegetable Korma, or Tikka Masala with rice.
Eat straight from the cup and skip the dishes.
Other instant hot meals contain mostly carbs and a loooot of salt. But these meal pots contain a perfect balance of micro and macronutrients. And that’s what makes them so special.
- 400 kcal per meal
- 172 proven health benefits
- 100% nutritionally complete
- 26 essential vitamins
- 20g protein
- High in omega 3, 6, 9
- Source of fibre
- Low in sugar, low in saturated fats
- 12-month shelf life
- No artificial flavoring, coloring, or conservatives
The list goes on and on...
And at $4.24 a meal, this budget-friendly vegan dinner option is a no-brainer.
Pro tip: Need some extra calories? Boil plenty of water for your hot meal AND to prepare brown rice or penne integrale. Add the rice or pasta to your instant meal for an extra big serving!
TDLR: The Summary
Thinking of what to make, buying the ingredients, measuring out the right amounts, and putting them together to make them taste good - let’s be honest: preparing healthy vegan travel-sized meals is a hassle. A big hassle.
Not only are they heavy, they take up a lot of valuable packing space. And take it from us, you don’t want to have to decide between enough food or enough underwear...
Of course you can choose to rely on the options at airports or gas stations and local restaurants. But not only will you have very limited choices (if any), you’ll also have very limited nutrition.
Not to mention the obscene prices.
So wouldn’t it be much much easier to pack a couple of lightweight travel-sized nutritionally complete meals which you can eat anywhere, anytime?
Yes, it would. Because the benefits are endless and the value for money is insane:
- Every single meal is 400 kcal and 100% vegan;
- Every single meal contains 26 essential vitamins and minerals, 20g protein, slow carbs, healthy fats, and (insoluble) fibre;
- Every single meal is GMO-free, palm oil-free, and developed by dietitians & nutritionists;
- Every single meal has 172 scientifically proven health benefits for physical and mental fitness.
From $1.49 per meal with a 30-day risk-free money-back guarantee.
And you don’t even have to take them with you in the car or on the plane. You can have the meals delivered to where you are, almost anywhere in the world.
It would have saved Holly, who spent her summer in the north of Spain, a lot of effort.
“The Basque country is known for its Pintxos, but I was completely unprepared for how difficult it would be to find vegetarian food in this region. Let alone vegan!
Often, the only plant-based choices that were available were 'patatas bravas' (fried potatoes), pimientos de Pádron (fried green peppers), or Spanish tortilla (if you eat egg). That's it!
Luckily, in Bilbao, there were many vegetarian restaurants and vegan options to choose from.” - Holly W.
Complete meal shakes are the ideal breakfast - prepared in under a minute.
The meal bars are so convenient, they fit in your back pocket.
Instant hot meals make it possible to have a warm lunch or dinner ready within minutes.
So check them out. Because vegan travel food has never been this easy.
1. Caravaning. (2019). European Market. [online] Available at: https://www.civd.de/en/artikel/european-market/.
2. Strutner, S. (2014). 7 Ways Flying Messes With Your Body. [online] HuffPost. Available at: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/body-on-a-plane_n_6100908.
3. News, B. (2019). Easyjet bans nuts on all flights to protect passengers. [online] BBC News. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-48041464.
4. Kandola, A. (2019). How many calories do you burn by walking? [online] Medicalnewstoday.com. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325323#calories-burned-while-walking.