Looking for tips on traveling as a vegan? You’re in the right place. We’re lucky to live in a time in which it has never been easier to travel as a vegan worldwide. With vegan options coming to more cities and countries around the world, traveling as a vegan gives you a chance to explore off the beaten path, reduce your carbon footprint as a traveler, and eat a cleaner, healthier diet on the road.

Having traveled as either a vegetarian or vegan in over 30 countries worldwide, I can offer you some great tips on how to enjoy delicious plant-based food wherever you go.

Whether or not you’re fully vegan, or just want to eat more plant-based options on the road, we’ve got the best tips on eating better for your body and the planet while abroad. 

Here are 16 of the best tips for traveling as a vegan, and how to make your travels as a vegan highly memorable, authentic, and rewarding.

16 Tips for Traveling as a Vegan

Here are some of the best tips for travelling worldwide as a vegan, whether it’s a road trip from your home or a plane trip across the globe 

1. Don’t skip out on the big cities

Big cities, especially capital cities, are usually a big draw for tourists because they have some of the most historical buildings and world-famous sites in any country. So it’s likely as a tourist that you will want to spend some time in the capital and major city of wherever you go. However, there’s another reason to not miss the big cities when you’re traveling – they usually have the best, and most exciting vegan options.

In Canada for example, Toronto is the most vegan-friendly city in the country. As you move into smaller towns around Canada, it becomes harder to find fulfilling vegan options as most grocery stores carry the most traditional ingredients. This is true of most small villages in North America and Europe.

But Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal, and many other Canadian cities are a vegan haven, with hundreds of vegan-only restaurants, and many of the regular restaurants ensuring that they have a delicious, plant-based option on their menu for their vegan (or health-conscious) guests. 

Being vegan gives you another reason to add those big cities to your itinerary when you travel.

Traveling as a vegan in Toronto

Traveling as a vegan in Toronto

2. Check out the supermarkets

Vegan products and ingredients are becoming more sought after worldwide, as more and more vegan recipe books are published and people seek out plant-based ingredients to prepare their own vegan renditions of popular dishes. In many supermarkets worldwide, it’s becoming easier to find vegan cheese, milk, cream, and sauces. Plus, it’s fun to try brands in other countries that you don’t have at home. There is a lot of importation of these vegan versions of meat and dairy products, but generally, a lot of countries make their own versions of these vegan products.

When I went to Italy, I did some grocery shopping. I was excited to try vegan creams, cheeses and ‘meats’ in Italy because the brands were different from the ones I have at home.

For wherever you plan to travel, look up what the chain grocery stores in that region are called. Make a plan to check it out when you’re on your trip. It will usually be the higher-end ones (not the budget ones) that have the most exciting options for vegans.

3. Familiarize yourself with traditional dishes

When I told people I planned to travel to places like Ireland or Italy, some people told me “good luck,” when I told them that I planned to stick to my plant-based diet while I was there.

Some vegans think they may have to stick to vegan restaurants, or make their own food while they travel – that trying the local delicacies isn’t an option. That isn’t necessarily the case. If you look into the traditional foods of the place you’re visiting, you might be surprised at how many old recipes from hundreds of years ago are vegan.

While meat, dairy, and egg are a big part of many traditional cuisines worldwide, there are many traditional dishes that were always free of animal products.

For example, there are many pizzas in Italy that are made naturally without cheese. 

Dairy is not common in many Asian dishes, and tofu has been used for generations. So, finding stir-fried rice, vegetables, and tofu is not difficult.

Korean barbeque is very popular, but in South Korea, you can find vegetable gimbap, which is Korean sushi with rice and vegetables.

Irish soda bread is typically vegan, and it’s a recipe passed down hundreds of years through generations, and most restaurants in Dublin and small towns serve this.

Research the local cuisine of the place you’re traveling to, and see if any of the recipes are traditionally (accidentally) vegan. It can be hard to find these dishes at home, so finding the vegan ones and being sure to try them while you’re there gives you a chance to explore a country’s authentic dishes.

Traveling as a vegan in Italy

Vegan ice cream can be found almost anywhere in Italy – e.g. in Lake Como

Artichokes in Rome

Fried artichokes – a naturally vegan specialty in Rome, Italy

4. Book accommodations with a kitchen

Booking a place with a kitchen gives you the opportunity to make food exactly how you want it, and – even more excitingly – use local ingredients that you wouldn’t find at home. You can even ask locals for some recommendations of local recipes.

This doesn’t by any means mean that you have to make all your food yourself – but it gives you the option to try local vegan products, and prepare some of your own meals. This can save some money as well!

When I traveled to Mexico City, before I knew Spanish, local vendors put fresh ingredients right in my hand to make homemade guacamole – onion, tomato, cilantro, lime, and avocado. Being able to cook locally-sourced veggies in my own kitchen in the house I rented was so rewarding, and gave me a chance to experience life as a local.

Accommodations with kitchens can be found on several accommodation booking platforms – Booking.com, Expedia, Airbnb, and many others.

5. Look up the vegan chain restaurants

The country you’re visiting may have a chain restaurant that is fully vegan. You might be surprised at how many vegan chains exist worldwide. In Italy for example, there are two popular vegan restaurant chains: Universo Vegano and Veggie Days. You can find one or both of them in all Italian major cities. The vegan chain restaurant Loving Hut has over 200 locations in 35 countries on four different continents – Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America.

The popularity of vegan cuisine has boomed so much in the last two decades that in most cases, you should be able to find a vegan restaurant chain in the destination you’re headed to.

Taking advantage of these restaurants gives us the opportunity to support the vegan movement, support a sustainable business that is helping the planet, and try delicious, locally sourced food that is vegan.

Traveling as a vegan in Florence

Universo Vegano in Florence, Italy

6. Bring a protein powder in your luggage or carry-on

Protein powders are a great way to pack in extra protein, B12, and other essential vitamins and nutrients while you’re traveling. Depending on where you travel to, there might be fewer vegan options than what you’re used to at home, or they may not have the same protein sources that your local restaurant, or fridge at home has. 

Pack some of your favorite protein powder into a zip-lock bag and keep it in your luggage. This way, if it’s hard to come across vegan proteins, or if you don’t like the options that are available, then you can always supplement with a protein shake in order to keep your protein and other vitamin levels up. It also makes for a great snack or an easy breakfast on the road.

7. Use the Happy Cow App

While on the road, it’s a useful way to see what options are in the area – either vegan restaurants or restaurants with vegan options.

The Happy Cow was founded in 1999, and has millions of users who have reviewed restaurants for their vegan and vegetarian options, and oftentimes, have added photos so that you can get an idea of what the food looks like.

Often, grocery stores are included in the Happy Cow App as well, which helps give you ideas of foods you could prepare yourself if you decide to.

It’s important to note that if you don’t see a restaurant or store listed on the Happy Cow app, this doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t vegan-friendly. It depends on users like you to rate, and add reviews and pictures, so it could be that no one has tried that option yet. Always look up things firsthand rather than relying solely on the app. To help the plant-based movement, you could also create an account and review vegan options. This helps other travelers like yourself find the best vegan options!

Vegan Burger restaurant in Nicaragua

A vegan Burger restaurant in Granada, Nicaragua

8. Check out spiritual practices

Buddhism is widespread in several Asian countries, such as Korea, Japan, and Thailand. Cruelty-free is a big aspect of Buddhism, and a lot of Buddhist monks eat vegan. Additionally, Ashrams are very common in India but have also started opening up in many major cities around the world.

If you’re traveling to countries in Asia, do some research to see if there are any Buddhist temples where you are going and consider doing a Templestay. This gives you a chance to learn about the Buddhist way of life and eat cruelty-free food. You can also check to see if there are any Ashrams in your destination, and consider booking to stay at one.

Traveling as a vegan is easy in Asia - with a naturally vegan curry

Naturally vegan curry in Malaysia

9. Realize that luxury vegan is totally a thing

Traveling as a vegan doesn’t have to mean that your only options are to do grocery shopping, cooking, or bringing your own food. And while Buddhist temples, Ashrams, and organic farm stays are very interesting to many, you might be looking for a different kind of trip.

Realize that whether you’re backpacking, doing budget travel, or planning a luxury honeymoon – you will be able to find vegan options that fit the style of trip you’re looking for.

Increasingly, as the vegan diet becomes more popular, there are more world-class chefs developing fine recipes that are fully free of animal products. There are vegan cruises and vegan luxury resorts. A quick Google search can point you to tours, luxury places to stay, and experiences that are fully vegan.

Additionally, many high-end resorts are increasingly ensuring that they have a vegan option for their guests.

Recommendations for vegan hotels:

Palmaia Mexico - vegan resort

Palmaïa – The House of AïA | Playa del Carmen, Mexico

An experience like no other! With a view of the Caribbean Sea you won’t want to ever leave this wellness paradise. There are four restaurants with plant-based menus. Between munching, you can enjoy nature, yoga classes, sound healing, cacao ceremonies, and much more – in an all-inclusive experience.

Koukoumi in Mykonos

Koukoumi Vegan Boutique Hotel | Mykonos, Greece

Koukomi’s exceptional vegan menu attracts travelers from all over Mykonos. Some say, they had the best vegan food over here. Besides, this gorgeous gem is in a perfect location close to many beaches and the cute town.

Paradiso Pure Living | South Tyrol, Italy

As the highest vegetarian and vegan hotel, Paradiso Pure Living has definitely a unique location in the Dolomites. In between indulging in delicacies in their organic plant-based restaurant, you can enjoy hiking, biking, or skiing in the world’s largest ski area.

10. Learn keywords in the target language

Learn the words for meat, dairy, and egg in the language of the place you’re traveling to. This way, you can be more clear about what you eat, and what you don’t eat.

Sometimes this is more helpful than using the word “vegan” because not everyone knows exactly what vegan means, or what being vegan entails. Also, not everybody considers fish and poultry to be meat. It’s best to be specific about the food that you don’t want.

I can say “I’m a vegetarian” in about 10 different languages, along with the words for meat, fish, dairy and egg. Even in places where most people seem to speak English, I find it useful to clarify in the local language what I mean.

People are usually grateful that I’m making an effort to communicate in their language. It gives you a chance to practice the local language and be more effective at ordering the meal of your choice.

11. Be careful with soups

Unless the soup is from a vegan restaurant, or you know for sure that vegetable stock was used, it’s probably best to stay away from most soups. Often, soup is made with chicken or beef stock

In vegan restaurants, the soup will be safe. Knowing the local language can help you confirm the ingredients of the soup wherever you’re eating.

Vegan Tacos in Guatemala

Vegan Tacos in Guatemala

12. Order that vegan meal in advance 

Most airlines and tour excursions offer vegan options, but they often need advance notice so that they can prepare them.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to order a vegan meal in advance and regretted it when I saw the fresh, delicious vegan option that was brought to a traveler who did remember to order it. Often, I find, it’s even better than the regular meat option.

Disney Cruises, for example, put a lot of effort into their vegan meals, but they need to know in advance so that they have the ingredients available on board to prepare them.

So just remember that traveling as a vegan might mean you need to remember to think about what you’ll eat in advance, and book the vegan option with the airline, hotel, or tour provider.

13. Consider vegan-friendly countries

There are more exciting vegan options worldwide today than at any other point in time. Some countries are known for having more vegan options than others. Israel, for example, has been declared the most vegan-friendly country in the world. Try this amazing Vegan Food & History Tour in Tel Aviv!

Other countries across the world like Canada, the United States, Mexico, Jamaica, and Thailand have all ranked high when it comes to countries that are vegan-friendly. 

However, just because a country isn’t on a ‘vegan-friendly’ list, be sure to look into its options as well. The veganism movement is reaching more countries than ever, and less touristy countries tend to get less recognition for their vegan options than others.

A market with many vegan options in Ometepe, Nicaragua

A market with many vegan options in Ometepe, Nicaragua

Traveling as a vegan in El Salvador

Vegan pupusas – a traditional dish in El Salvador

14. Join vegan groups and forums

If you speak the local language of the place you’re visiting, look for Facebook groups or other online forums dedicated to being vegan in the place that you’re traveling to.

I have done this before, and I see many vegans joining my local vegan groups often if they plan to be in the area for a short amount of time and want to find the best options.

You can ask people for the best tips or products to try while you’re visiting that country. It also might be a great way to connect with other travelers or locals who can give you other insider tips about a destination.

This also gives you a chance to interact with locals and get some valuable travel advice and vegan tips in your destination.

15. Consider volunteering at sustainable, organic farms

There are many opportunities worldwide to help farms that grow fruits and vegetables sustainably and organically. Many of them provide free accommodation and food in return for volunteer work. These opportunities are open to individuals, and even families with children, too.

WWOOFING (World Wide Organic Farming) gives you a chance to support sustainable farming, often of vegetables, while you stay for free, and are provided with free meals.

16. Know that veganism is becoming very popular

Don’t assume that because a restaurant or experience is vegan, it might be less popular.

Veganism is growing more popular every year. There’s a beautiful, elegant vegan restaurant in Tallinn, Estonia called Restoran V. It’s very difficult to get into this restaurant without making a reservation weeks in advance, and we were very lucky that we managed to get a spot during our trip to Estonia.

So, if there’s a vegan restaurant or experience you hope to try – I recommend booking it sooner rather than later so that you don’t miss out!

Vegan Carbonara in Rome

Vegan Pasta Amatriciana and Carbonara in Rome

Tips for Traveling as a Vegan: FAQ

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about being vegan, or traveling as a vegan.

Is it hard to travel as a vegan?

Traveling as a vegan isn’t as hard as some may think. Vegan options are becoming more popular worldwide, and you can find plant-based options in almost every city around the world. The plant-based food industry has also created a greater demand for vegan milks, cheeses, and meats than ever, and these products are readily available in grocery stores around the world.

How do vegans eat while traveling?

How vegans eat while traveling depends on their own personal travel style, but there are a number of ways to eat vegan while traveling. You could visit vegan restaurants, which exist in most major cities around the world, take advantage of vegan options at regular restaurants, or use local ingredients to make some of your own meals. Carrying some vegan treats is never a bad idea.

Where is the best place to travel while you’re vegan?

Several countries have been listed as being the most vegan-friendly places in the world; some of them being Israel (with Tel Aviv being the most vegan-friendly city), the United Kingdom, Canada, Jamaica, the United States, and India. Personally, I had a great time traveling through Italy as a vegan and found many options.

Which country is the most vegan-friendly?

Israel is known for being the most vegan-friendly country. However, a number of countries have been ranked as among the best places for vegans too – England, Canada, the US, India, Jamaica, Germany, Sweden, and many others. Never discredit a country that you don’t see represented on lists for being ‘vegan-friendly,’ because often, they will still surprise you with their exciting vegan options.

A vegan bowl in Costa Rica

A vegan bowl in Costa Rica

Tips for Traveling as a Vegan: Final Thoughts

Traveling as a vegan is an exciting way to explore a country, giving you a chance to try local ingredients, different flavors, and various local creations of vegan recipes, and vegan versions of non-vegan foods.

In addition to reducing our impact on the Earth as travelers, it gives us a chance to get to know our destination in a unique way and look after our bodies and the planet in the process. 

Traveling as a vegan has never been more rewarding, or delicious!

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