Vegan travel can be a tricky subject for many vegans. Veganism has become increasingly popular over the last few years and many people have newly converted to a vegan diet. Even if you are a seasoned traveller, travelling as a vegan may be a brand new concept for you and it can be pretty tricky to get your head around at first.
The thought of struggling to decipher a foreign menu in a place where you have no idea what you can and can’t eat is enough to cause some serious travel anxiety!
You may have found yourself worrying about…
- Where are the best places for vegan travel?
- How you can communicate your dietary preferences to local waiters?
- And even how to not annoy your travel companions by dragging them around endless restaurants, looking for somewhere that caters to vegans, all the while getting more and more hangry!
Ahhhh, it’s enough to make you want to cancel your trip altogether right?!
However, travelling as a vegan doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it’s actually super easy once you learn a few simple tricks and know what to expect.
That’s why I have created this vegan travel guide for you. In today’s post, we are going to cover…
- How to plan for travel as a vegan
- What to include in your vegan travel kit
- The 10 best cities for vegan travel
- Apps for vegans
- Vegan phrases in several common languages
- The best vegan travel blogs
And I absolutely promise you won’t be stuck nibbling on a solitary sad lettuce leaf whilst all your friends tuck into steak and seafood!
No rabbit food here! I assure you there are tons of delicious vegan cuisines available around the world. You just have to know what you are looking for.
There’s a lot of info in this guide so if you would prefer you can download it as a handy printable PDF guide and I’ve even included a free bonus vegan-friendly packing list. Simply click the button below to get your copy.
So let’s get started!
If you enjoy this post, please subscribe to Travelacrosstheborderline by email, leave a comment below, and share on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for visiting!
- How to plan for travelling as a vegan
- 5 of the best cities for travelling as a vegan
- The best apps for travelling vegans
- Common phrases for travelling as a vegan
- The best vegan travel blogs
- Travelling as a vegan summary
How to plan for travelling as a vegan
Travelling as a vegan may take a tiny bit more pre-planning than you are used to but it’s really not too difficult.
You just need to consider a few key things.
Do your research
Before you leave for your trip take some time to do a quick bit of research on your destination. Google ‘vegan restaurants in [destination name]’ and see what comes up. This can be a great starting point but I don’t recommend that you eat exclusively in vegan restaurants only.
For one, that’s a great way to make your expenses skyrocket! But you could also be missing out on some amazing authentic cuisine and street food, and of course, if you are travelling with non-vegans they may not be too happy at the thought of only eating in specialist vegan restaurants.
So what else can you do?
I like to research must-eat local cuisines for my destination and see if there are any that are ‘accidentally vegan’ or can be easily adapted.
For example, if travelling in Central or South America there are many options such as tacos and burritos that can be made vegan by simply ordering the veggie versions and asking for “sin queso” meaning ‘without the cheese’.
In Italy you can find marinara pizza on almost every menu, it won’t be advertised as vegan but it most certainly is, and it’s hella delicious too!
And in Asia, there are many traditional veggie dishes such as Avial, that are both authentic and vegan.
Once you know what you are looking for it makes it a lot easier to navigate the menus.
You can also check out Food guides by your favourite travel bloggers for inspiration. For example, I have a food guide for Vilnius, Lithuania. It isn’t exclusively about vegan restaurants, every restaurant I mention in the post offers at least one vegan option!
Ignore the negativity
Have you ever noticed that some people love giving opinions about things they themselves have never experienced? I found this to be true when I was planning my month-long trip to Italy. So many people told me that I would starve, that there are no vegan options in Italy and that I would have to resort to at least eating seafood 🙄
The thing is most of these people weren’t actually veggie or vegan themselves, meaning they had no first-hand experience of trying to find vegan food in Italy and even worse some of them had never even set foot in the country!
In the end, I found it extremely easy to eat vegan in Italy and I didn’t even have to seek out any vegan restaurants, I just ate wherever I felt like it and never had an issue.
So it just goes to show that you really shouldn’t pay much attention to other people’s negativity. Just smile and nod and let it all go in one ear and out the other.
Do not waste any of your precious energy getting anxious because someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about has decided to give you their ‘advice’. Travelling as a vegan is actually a lot easier than most people would think!
Practice your vegan phrases
It’s a good idea to take some time to learn a few key vegan phrases in the local language before you go. Learn how to say things such as “I am a vegan/vegetarian” “no meat please” or “no cheese”. Just knowing a few key phrases can go a long way towards making vegan travel a lot easier. We will go into this in further detail later on in this guide.
Order a vegan in-flight meal
In the chaos of planning a trip it can be really easy to forget about what you are going to eat during the flight. Try to remember to order a vegan friendly in-flight meal when you book your ticket. Many airlines now provide vegan options and they can be really good.
Plan accommodation accordingly
It’s always a good idea to book a hotel room that has a minifridge or if you are staying in a hostel or Airbnb then make sure you have access to self-catering facilities.
This way you can stock up on fresh fruits and veggies at the local markets and make your own vegan-friendly dishes rather than relying on restaurants for your entire trip.
This can save you loads of money too!
Pack a vegan travel kit
Bringing a few bits and bobs with you on your trip can save you a load of hassle and make it easier to always have food on hand. Put together a little vegan travel kit so that you are always prepared in advance.
What to include in your vegan travel kit
A lunchbox or snack bag
Bringing a lunchbox with you can be super handy. You can use it to bring sandwiches or snacks with you if you are going somewhere where you are unlikely to find any suitable lunch options or you can use it for saving your leftovers. I personally use this one. It’s made out of bamboo (‘cus I’m all about sustainability 😉) and is leakproof so there won’t be any nasty surprises in my backpack!
I also really love these reusable snack bags they are great and super practical as they take up hardly any space in my bag.
A reusable water bottle
ok so this isn’t going to help you to not starve, but since you are vegan I’m gonna guess that you also care about the environment. And we all know how bad plastic bottles are for our planet. That’s why you should always carry a reusable water bottle with you. I absolutely love my Kleen Kanteen bottle and never go on a trip without it. You can even clip it to your backpack or bag to make it easier to carry around with you.
A thermos for your milk
If the local coffee shops are unlikely to supply any dairy-free milk then I suggest finding a local supermarket or health food store that stocks some and keeping it in the fridge in your hotel room or hostel. You can then use a small thermos to take some milk out and about with you to add to any coffees you purchase throughout the day.
I use this thermos, it is small and lightweight and works a treat.
And while we are speaking of coffee, don’t forget to bring a reusable coffee mug for on the go. I use this one as it is insulated and keeps my drink warm for ages. It’s perfect for taking a coffee with me on long early morning train rides. This collapsible coffee mug is also great for travelling as it takes up very little room when you’re not using it.
The vegan travel handbook
Lonely planet’s vegan travel handbook is an absolute goldmine of information. I gave a copy to each of my vegan friends for Christmas last year and everyone loved it. Use it to research your trip before you go or tuck a copy into your backpack if you need some quick info on the go. And of course, you can also grab a copy of this blog post in a handy ebook form to refer to on the go. Simply sign up for the downloadable ebook in the box at the end of this post.
Below I’ve made a handy table of all my favourite vegan travel essentials so that you can check them out and compare prices.
5 of the best cities for travelling as a vegan
Tel Aviv, Israel
Did you know that Tel Aviv is known as the vegan capital of the world? Israel has more vegans per capita than any other country in the world and Tel Aviv is the main foodie hub of the country.
Traditional middle eastern food is a vegan dream, think yummy authentic hummus, hot falafel from street vendors and delicious smokey chickpea stews. Tel Aviv should be on every vegan traveller’s bucket list
Some of my favourite restaurants in Tel Aviv are:
Sabih Frishman – This place does the best sabich and falafels. Sabich is essentially a pitta stuffed with fried eggplant, salad and lots of tahini. Traditionally it comes with a hard-boiled egg but you can simply order it without the egg to make it vegan. Trust me when I say it’s worth the wait in the ever-present line outside this place.
Shlomo & Doron – This small outdoor restaurant is just outside of Carmel market and is always super busy, but again it is definitely worth the wait! Shlomo specialises in hummus and has many different hummus flavours and variations to choose from. I can honestly say this was some of the best hummus I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve eaten a LOT!)
Alma beach – I absolutely LOVE this place. It’s a cute beach bar that has an amazing view of the sunset over the ocean. I ordered the ‘cute cauliflower’ dish when I visited and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Taqueria – I loved this place so much that I ate there several times during my trip. It’s a trendy Mexican place with a fun and lively atmosphere. I recommend you try the vegan tacos or burritos and wash them down with a gold star beer.
- Literally any falafel stand – You can’t come to Israel without trying falafel! And in Tel Aviv, you’ll find a falafel stand on almost every corner. They are all good, you can just rock up to any of them and get the most delicious falafel you have ever experienced. Grab one as a late night snack on the way back from a night out and you’ll thank me later 😉
Vegan food tour – Whilst in Tel Aviv you should definitely take time to go on the vegan food tour provided by Abraham hostel. I had a great day and ate so much good food.
Find somewhere to stay in Tel-Aviv…
Bristol has frequently been cited as one of the most vegan-friendly cities in Europe and is a great place for travelling as a vegan. The city is a fun melting pot of creatives, hippies, environmentalists and many different cultures so it is hardly surprising that there are a lot of vegans choosing to call Bristol home.
Bristol is my home town so I could write an entire blog post (or even a book!) on the best vegan restaurants in Bristol. But for now, I’ll try to keep it brief and focus on a few of my all-time favourites.
VX – VX is the ultimate place to indulge in some naughty vegan junk food. Come with an empty stomach because you will leave feeling absolutely stuffed! Do not leave without trying one of the insane monster shakes! I also recommend trying the mac n cheese and the nachos, which are both excellent.
VX is also dog friendly so be sure to pet a few local doggos before you leave.
The lounge – The lounges are actually now a chain of restaurants all over the country but they started off on North Street, Bristol in 2002 and quickly became a bristol institution with branches popping up all over the city.
Visit the original lounge on North street and sample some of the delights of their extensive vegan menu. My favourite item on the menu is the vegan all-day breakfast, but I also love the tapas options and the incredible hot dog too.
Koocha – Koocha specialises in vegan versions of popular Persian food such as mezze and kebabs. The restaurant is located on Gloucester rd which is one of the best places in the city for nightlife. So it’s fun to start your night at Koocha before going bar-hopping along the main street. If it’s a nice day I love to sit outside and on the big family-style benches. Order a selection of mezze and share it between you and your friends. Also, be sure to try the hummus as it’s some of the best that I’ve tried, outside of Israel.
The watershed – The watershed is actually an independent cinema but it has an amazing bar/restaurant attached to it and is one of my favourite places in the city to hang out with friends. It is located right on the waterfront and In the summer there is a cute balcony you can sit out on, with some great views over the harbour. The menu changes seasonally but there are always some fantastic vegan options on there. The cinema itself is really quirky and often hosts fun events and film festivals so be sure to check their events calendar before you rock up.
Oowee – I’m obsessed with this hip burger joint! There are a few different locations around the city but my fave is the one on North Street. The inside is an Instagrammers dream. If you happen to be in bristol around Christmas time, be sure to pop in for one of their vegan Xmas burgers, which feature a seitan turkey patty, cranberry sauce and roasted brussel sprouts. Order it with a side of tater tots smothered in gravy and cheese 🤤
There are a bunch of other amazing restaurants that I could also talk about but this blog post would last forever if I did!
Find somewhere to stay in Bristol…
Want to start your own travel blog?
Check out these handy resources…
Pizzeria da Michele – You might recognise this place from the film adaptation of Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts. This tiny pizzeria has been in business ever since 1870 and claims to be the first-ever pizzeria and basically invented the dish that has become popular all over the world. Take a ticket and wait for your number to be called to get a seat inside. There are only 2 options on the menu marinara or margherita each cost only €4. The marinara is simply made with tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, oregano and garlic, making it a perfect choice for vegans. I can honestly say it is the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life! No trip to Italy is complete without visiting this iconic place.
Di Mateo – A close contender for the best pizza ever is Di Matteo’s which has been in operation since 1936. Again you will have to wait outside for a while before you can get a seat inside the restaurant but I guarantee it is 100% worth the wait. Order the marinara and you won’t be disappointed.
Caffe letterario intra moneia – During my last trip to Naples, I spent many evenings in this cafe/bar. And my dad even proclaims this as one of his favourite bars in the whole world! The atmosphere here is great, there is a huge outdoor seating area right on the edge of piazza bellini so it’s a great spot for people-watching and simply soaking up the local culture. Also be sure to check out the Greco roman wall, next to the bar, which used to mark the boundary of the ancient city – and keep an eye out for the cute kitties that like to snooze amongst the ruins!
The bar provides free snacks when you order drinks, such as olives in a lemon dressing and crackers to munch on. You should also try the bruschetta topped with fresh tomatoes and basil. It’s simple but delicious.
Aperitivo – Aperitivo is a concept similar to happy hour, that you can find in just about any bar in Italy. It typically kicks off around 6.30pm and lasts until 9pm. Apertivo usually consists of drinks accompanied by a buffet for around €5. There are always plenty of vegan options on offer such as fried eggplant, orzo, couscous and salad dishes. This can be a super cheap way to fill up for the evening or can simply be a snack before heading off to dinner later.
Check out these hotels in Naples…
Veganic – I was pleasantly surprised at just how many vegan restaurants are in Krakow and this cosy spot is certainly one of the best. Try the stuffed cabbage rolls and polenta fries and finish off your meal with one of the yummy cakes on offer.
Pod Norenami – This chic restaurant, close to the old city, specializes in vegan and vegetarian versions of traditional Asian cuisine. I enjoyed this place so much that I ate here twice. The curries are bursting with flavour and the tofu is seasoned perfectly. I also recommend trying the ‘momo’ – traditional dumplings with a vegan twist.
Momo – This small but cosy cafe is located in the hip Kazimierz neighbourhood. We ducked in here on a whim, to get out of the rain and were not disappointed! Try the amazing chocolate tofu cake, it is mouth-wateringly good.
Find somewhere to stay in Krakow…
Psst. be sure to check out my itinerary for a perfect weekend in Krakow
Mildreds – I’m obsessed with Mildreds and try to make a point of eating here whenever I’m in the city. There are a couple of different branches around London but my favourite by far is located in Camden. The menu changes fairly frequently but usually contains a selection of burgers as well as some Asian inspired dishes such as ramen or curry. The Dalston location also offers a brunch menu that includes a yummy tempeh bacon and avocado bap, which is just to die for!
Tibits – I absolutely love this place. It’s essentially a self-service buffet where you pay according to the weight of your plate. There’s always a lot to try and it can be tempting to go back for seconds or even thirds. The food is insanely good quality for a buffet. I also highly recommend checking out their cookbook which is packed full of tasty dishes that you can recreate at home.
Camden market food trucks – A trip to Camden Market isn’t complete without sampling some of the tasty street food on offer in the many food trucks. There are plenty of vegan options to be found such as pizza slices, noodles and burritos. The hard part is just choosing what to have because you are going to want to try them all!
Franco Manca – This trendy pizza place in Soho makes awesome sourdough pizzas with a variety of toppings. The menu is constantly changing but often features a vegan special. You can also swap out the cheese on any of the veggie pizzas for a vegan cheese instead at no extra charge. Soho is the best place for nightlife in the city (IMHO) so this is a great place to start a night out. Fun fact – I once bumped into comedian Noel Fielding outside of this restaurant!
Find somewhere to stay in London…
The best apps for travelling vegans
Happy cow – Super useful app that helps you to locate vegan-friendly restaurants in any city.
Maps.me – Like google maps but can be used offline. Handy if you are travelling somewhere without phone coverage.
V cards – Select a language to find out how to say you’re vegan and order food in over 100 languages!
Vanilla bean – Similar to happy cow.
Common phrases for travelling as a vegan
It’s always a good idea to learn a few key phrases before you leave for any trip. Even if you don’t nail the pronunciation perfectly.
I find that locals always appreciate the effort and are happy to help you if they see you have made an attempt to communicate in their language.
As mentioned above, the V cards app is super useful or you can also rely on good ol’ google translate. I would definitely recomend downloading at least one of these apps prior to your trip. Or if you prefer old school physical books then I love Lonely Planet’s range of phrasebooks.
The best vegan travel blogs
As a blogger myself I always rely heavily on other people’s blogs when it comes to planning an upcoming trip. Below are some of my fave blogs that cover vegan travel
This blog is a one-stop-shop for info on vegan travel. You can find pretty much anything you need to know here. Wendy’s blog provides guides for over 100 different countries and even has a page devoted to vegan tours. It is usually my go-to resource when planning where to eat during my travels.
I absolutely adore this blog by vegan couple Josh and Sarah. They specialise in outdoor adventures and their love for nature is just infectious! I especially recommend checking out their guides on vegan outdoor gear.
Nicole is a vegan traveller and expat currently living in Berlin. I love Nicole’s fun writing style are her posts are super informative. She even offers a vegan accommodation list which is very useful for trip planning.
Ana’s blog covers just about everything, from vegan destination guides to vegan fashion and beauty, recipes and tips to make vegan travel easy. She even covers some pretty unusual destinations (which is actually a passion of mine – link to 10 unusual destinations post), who knew you could find vegan restaurants in Angola?!
I’ve tried making a few of her recipes too and they are very tasty and easy to make.
Travelling as a vegan summary
I know this has been a mammoth post but I do hope you found it useful and that it can help to ease your nerves about travelling as a vegan.
Don’t forget you can download this post as a PDF ebook for easy future reference. Simply click the button below to grab your copy!
What are your favourite tips for travelling as a vegan? Where is your favourite city for vegan travel? Comment below!
Happy travels xo
Psssst… Need travel gear for your next adventure? Check out my travel store!