By Kate Harris
When we became plant based, food became an expression of love. Combining it with our passion for exploration brought travel to a new high. The joys of finding a delicious meal or sweet treat in a new place not only satisfied our taste buds but connected us to people and culture. But as most every vegan has experienced, traveling on an animal free diet can be exhausting. This realization hit us after walking out of a rural Alaskan restaurant in dismay from being told we shouldn’t be there if we had questions about the menu. Our dinner became a cold energy bar in our rental car and that’s when we decided to approach travel a bit differently.
Select a location
Previously, our travel destinations were solely chosen based on the landscape or desirable sights. And while that still plays a huge part, we also consider the food scene when making a selection. For instance, we’re pretty sure traveling to remote regions in countries that have heavy meat diets won’t be good choices. So how can you know before you go? Google will be your best friend here. Do some searching. We chose our honeymoon destination through search terms such as “best vegan destinations.” Many of the options were cities, but we wanted more time with nature so had to be thorough.
Plan the itinerary
The best way to ensure you’ll be having a great meal every day is to plan for it. We love traveling with no agenda (the only thing we had planned in Alaska was a rental car.) But in areas where vegan options are limited, this can often end in days where most of our time on vacation is spent searching for nourishment, which only leaves us worn out and hangry. If you’re not the type to plan down to the minute, pick key areas you can base yourself from and do your exploring as day trips. This way you know you’ll always have a good meal at the start and end of your day.
Pack you calories
Let’s face it, sometimes you just want to visit the Lost Arc and don’t want food to hold you back. Do it! There are so many packaged food options you can bring along to supplement the excursions. From energy bars to dehydrated foods. Or hit the grocery store upon arrival and assemble some staples, like bread and peanut butter. We always stuff our suitcases with bars and things like dehydrated hummus. As a bonus, the more you eat throughout your trip, the more space in your suitcase for things bought along the way.
We’ve had great success with the Happy Cow app both in the US and abroad. Vegan Hotels is another great source, and of course, you can browse The Kind Bride Directory‘s travel and honeymoon recommendations too! Throughout Italy, Bali, Hawaii, and even the depths of West Virginia it has saved us. But when times got tough, we also engaged locals in conversation. Many hosts at lodging accommodations were incredibly helpful with recommendations or providing us food themselves. With any booking, we always let our hosts know in advance of our dietary preferences. Sometimes there can be cultural hiccups, but typically they are incredibly accommodating.
Realize that travel sometimes isn’t easy. There have been many times when we return home feeling exhausted. Decide where you want to put your energy and plan accordingly. If you don’t want food to be a hurdle, make sure you are going somewhere with plenty of options, or opt for a travel option in which food is included. Many cruises and excursions are vegan-friendly, and companies are popping up that are 100% vegan. Personally, we typically choose to put our dollars into adventures. But every so often we splurge. And let me tell you, the all inclusive options with vegan meals have been heavenly. Now, we often travel to a location for the food alone. Like a weekend trip to LA or Philadelphia. Walking from one vegan restaurant to another, Happy Cow queued up on our iPhones.
Kate & Keith are wedding and event photographers creating a work/life balance around sustainability and the outdoors. Both vegan, they are committed towards zero-waste initiatives and founded a non-profit (Sustainable Seacoast) in their home area to aid restaurants and events in eliminating single use plastics. Their passports show Southern Maine as home but are often found at family bases in New Jersey, Oahu, and Mount Desert Island, Maine. Loving to travel, they drive their Lobster Van (Promaster conversion) across the country for weddings, stashing their tiny Lagotto Romagnolo (dog) between camera bags and a Nutribullet, and using Happy Cow to explore vegan eateries along the way. They can easily be bribed with coconut milk cappuccinos. Read Kate and Keith’s articles