Traveling as a vegan: tips for the road

Traveling as a vegan. Are you just a little bit settled on how to put together a tasty vegan meal at home in the Netherlands, your friends ask to join you on vacation abroad. Alarm bells go off: ‘yes but how, and where, eehh can I eat anything there at all? You wonder: how do I stay vegan while traveling? After my all my travels around the world, I can tell you with confidence that things always work out. However, it is useful to always have some things ready depending on where you are going. Being in a bustling city like Berlin or looking for vegan restaurants in Barcelona or vacationing in Portugal is just different from trekking in the gobi desert in Mongolia.

Outside breakfast in Granada, Spain

En route to your destination

Vegan on the plane

When you take a plane to your final destination, it very much depends on whether meals are provided yes or no. So far, whenever I take long flights, I have always had the option to choose a vegan meal when booking or checking in. If you want to make sure you get it, make sure you contact the airline at least 7 days before your flight. Meals are provided by outside catering companies, and orders are often placed earlier. So make sure that when you have doubts that it has come through properly, that you inquire. My experience is that if you inquire 1 day in advance it is no longer possible to adjust things.

So very occasionally things go wrong, which is why I always make sure I have my own nuts, a sandwich with vegan cheese (hummus often gets so juicy, and I pack fresh slices of cucumber separately) and some small food with me in my Bock’n Roll. Be aware that for some destinations, you are not always allowed to bring nuts. Then buy it at the airport, often it is allowed! For short flights (less than 5 hours), I always bring my own food if it is around lunchtime or dinner time. Many airlines only offer vega options (for a fee). Have yet to have a full vegan option on the plane.

I also always take my Dopper with me so I always have water at my disposal. Although there is also something to be said for regularly getting up and having a run to the pantry to get water. It’s really good to drink a lot of water while flying, if only because it makes you have to go to the toilet more often and you need to move around for a while.

Eating on the train from Nairobi to Mombassa

Vegan during train travel

Depending on how long your train trip is, I recommend bringing everything yourself. In my train trips in Kazakhstan, Iran, Kenya (there was vega there) and during the train to Barcelona, there was a bar where you could get food but unfortunately no vegan options. Again, the basic option is (local) bread and a jar of peanut butter or jam that can be found in basically every country. You can prepare them in advance, but I always find it tastier to do on the spot. Bring a spork for that. A spork is a spoon and fork/knife in one. Truly a lifesaver. Have used those so many times during my travels. Also because you are not allowed to carry a knife often on the train. Even my potato knife was taken away when I wanted to go back to Barcelona by train from Granada. You can, of course, make the food as luxurious as you like. You could also possibly fill tupperware container with a couscous salad if you are not traveling too long.

Vegan in the car

Traveling vegan by car is very easy. Do you have enough space? If so, be sure to bring a cooler. Just put all your food and drinks in here for the road and especially take your favorite things like: tempeh, peanut butter, sprinkles, curry paste, almond milk (or other plant-based milk) without sugar, can of coconut milk,vegan cheese, miso paste, noble yeast flakes and other “exotic” things. This is useful during your trip but also on the spot. Often you can easily find things like soy sauce, fruits and vegetables in supermarkets, but the same is not true for noble yeast flakes and vegan cheese etc. Do you often use vegetable milk without sugar or unsweetened? I would bring some here -if you have room for it – myself. You can generally find soy milk in supermarkets in larger cities but it almost always contains sugar. Do bring a cooler with good cooling elements or your tempeh will be spoiled when you arrive.

On site

Dining Out

Personally, I always use the app: Happy Cow. In this app you will find restaurants with vegetarian options, vegan options, completely vegetarian and completely vegan. It also lists vegan supermarkets and other vegan businesses (sometimes even b&bs). Truly the best app ever for vegans and vegetarians! By the way: in many countries it is easy to buy a prepaid sim card, then you have internet everywhere! If you don’t have that, it’s helpful to save the restaurants in your Google Maps and download the map of the city you’re in by typing “Ok maps” in the search box.

Restaurants on a small island close to Rio de Janeiro


There are more and more hotels and b&bs that focus entirely on vegan and vegetarian food. On Veggie Hotels you will find a directory of vegan friendly accommodations around the world. I also found some gems on the Guardian website . Although I personally remain very much a fan of just booking an airbnb or through booking a place where you can cook. As a vegan when traveling, I still like not to depend on the restaurant offerings of a town or village.

Learn the local vegan dishes

Did you know that Chinese cuisine is actually quite veggie friendly? A good Chinese friend of mine told me that Chinese people eat a lot of vegetables and tofu. And that while here in the Netherlands we have more of an image of babi pangang and that everything is prepared with egg. As a vegan when traveling, it is important before you travel to your destination to research what dishes are available and which dishes are easy to veganize. Also go a how these dishes are written, or even better: ask in international vegan communities on Facebook bv what you can or cannot eat.

Vegan version of the Chilean ‘completo’ a typical Chilean sandwich

Join a local vegan Facebook group

Facebook has so many closed groups and in many (larger) cities there are often groups where local vegans unite and are happy to help you get started in their city! Tips can also often be found on Instagram. For example, search on: #vegan[naam van stad of plek] there are always people sharing tips this way.

Visit the local market

The weekly or daily market often has lots of fruits and vegetables. And often super cheap. Be sure to rinse your purchases well with warm water before consuming. Check with your host if you are staying in an airbnb or at the front desk of your hostel or hotel where the local markets are held.

Local market in Uganda

Vegan Passport

If you can’t rely on your language skills as a vegan when traveling, buy the vegan passport with a whopping 79 languages. You’ll even find languages like Xhosa and Zulu. It can be purchased in paper or just as an app on your phone. Coming right up! For Android and for IOS.

Be respectful and flexible

Because my in-laws live in southern Chile, I know that veganism is really not well known everywhere. Even when I was in Kenya I often heard: but surely chicken is not meat? Or ooh no animals, then you do eat butter and fish? At least as a vegan traveling is never boring! In fact, what I also often experienced is that restaurant owners would put a vegan option on the menu, but then it was sold out or unavailable. Very frustrating. But always be aware of the luxury position we have in the Netherlands. There is SO much to get, I am always amazed when I walk around the Albert Heijn again after a few months of Barcelona.

Breakfast in Uganda

So when you are invited by a family once and they have done their best to cook and it turns out to have something like butter, cheese or yogurt in it I usually eat it. Out of courtesy and respect. At least if it’s a one-time visit. When I really will eat there more often I do tell them and suggest cooking together sometime if they find it difficult. It’s up to you how flexible you want to be in this. I know that when I’m traveling I just won’t eat the same variety than when I’m in Holland or Barcelona.

Handy things for during your trip


As a vegan, I used to take those very small books with me on trips when there were no e-readers. But these days I don’t go anywhere without my e-reader! See for your what a fine e-reader is.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

I use these noise canceling headphones myself and they are a perfect wireless headphone while traveling as well as flexing indoors and outdoors.

Check out my noise canceling headphones


You are somewhat required to take these with you when you travel. This way you don’t have to use those little plastic bottles every time.

Check out my favorite Dopper

Boc’n Roll

Did you make a sandwich in your hostel or hotel and want to take it with you? Then use this Boc’n Roll. You can easily rinse it off under the tap, dry it for a while and just use it again.

Check out my favorite Boc’nRoll


This way, you always have a spoon or knife handy!

Check out my favorite Spork

Pocket knife
No traveler can do without a pocket knife! Really, thank me later!

Paper tissues or toilet roll
Really important for women anyway: paper tissues. How many times have you missed out on the toilet? By the way, this tip is also nice if you go out in the Netherlands ;-). Not only handy for a toilet visit but also when something leaks in your bag or your hands are dirty. Try recycled paper tissues.

Hammam towel
I always have 1 with me that I use for the beach, as a towel or if I find the pillow in a hostel not really fresh I often put this cloth over it. Two is the most ideal. Above all, bring a lightweight. A ham cloth is really a need to have in your luggage.

Vegan snacks
You can’t have enough of these, trust me! I always take nakd bars with me when I travel. These stay good for a long time and do not melt easily. Especially don’t bring bars with chocolate, these are bound to melt.

Laundry bags
Digging around in your dirty underwear in your backpack or suitcase? No, don’t. Just bring laundry bags. And super nice, because at least when you go somewhere else to do your laundry, you can be sure that your clothes are protected.

You’ll just see, you’re looking for your vegan restaurant found on Happy Cow, your battery dies. Always have a power bank with you. You have solar-powered powerbanks like this one from the social enterprise Waka Waka.

Do you have any tips or experiences traveling as a vegan? Leave your tip in the comments!

*These are affiliate links, this means that when you buy something, I get a very small amount of money. Win win win!