Keep reading to learn how to survive travel as a plant based, vegan or vegetarian eater. Let’s face it, sometimes being on plant based diet feels like a challenge. But …it doesn’t have to be!
Plant based eating can be perceived as a travel road block in countries where the cuisine is a big part of the experience. Italy, Greece, France, Spain…the list continues.
Think bruschetta, burrata and sausage, cream sauces, fresh seafood. Easy to find in Europe. Plant-based options? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Countries outside of the USA are quickly catching on to the plant based way of life, and many international cities are leading the way.
Tips for Planning an International Trip
Which Countries to Visit as a Plant Based Eater?
I look at traveling as a plant based eater as a game. How can I find yummy plant based food among the traditional dishes in whatever country I am visiting?
Italy? Wow..the amount of seasonal fresh produce they offer year round is incredible. Sautéed egg plant served over fresh pasta (ask if it has egg in the ingredients) and marinara sauce?
According to the website Happy Cow (founded in 1999 as a public service to assist travelers and people everywhere find plant-based / vegan options and healthy food) these are some of the top Vegan cities in the World.
- Tel Aviv
Don’t let this list stop you from visiting other countries! Finland which is not listed above, has an emerging and impressive plant based foodie scene. One of my favorites in Helsinki is Yes, Yes, Yes located in the Design District.
The World is your Oyster…well maybe “The Sky is the Limit” is a little more apropos in this setting. Do your research prior to departing on your trip. It is never helpful to be “hangry” when seeking plant based options.
Can I pack some important plant based options?
Yes! According to the TSA, “Solid food items (not liquids or gels) can be transported in either your carry-on or checked baggage”.
Make sure there are no liquids or gels. It is helpful to keep them separate so that they do not obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine.
Space and weight is always a challenge when packing for an international flights. The goal is to get to a local grocery store and find the international alternative of the plant based snack as soon as possible.
One of my favorite grocery stores to find options in Europe is Lidl. Lidl is a discount grocery chain with 10,000 + locations in 28 countries. They are similar to Aldi.
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Ok..so what do I pack for my plant based travel?
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- Larabars are a good in between meals snack. They are small, portable and have a long shelf life.
- Carrying tea bags is a nice alternative to restaurant beverages. Just ask for hot water.
- Vegan protein packed in several zip lock bags helps keep your protein intake up. According to reports, a woman should get about 50-60 grams of protein while on a plant based diet.
- I also like to bring Stevia packets, as it is not always easy to find a healthy sugar substitute.
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My new favorite travel hack is packing Joi powdered almond milk and a blender bottle. I can blend a bottle of almond milk for the day by just adding water and shaking.
I’ll use the almond milk for coffee creamer as it is not always an option in Europe. I can also make a smoothie with the protein powder and the almond milk if I need a punch of protein.
Another hack is to find an inexpensive insulated lunch bag that can fold down in your suitcase. You can keep items cool in transit.
What are some other helpful tips for plant based eaters and travel in Europe?
- Pack snacks daily. Take them with you in the car.
- Call restaurants in advance and ask about the plant based, vegan or vegetarian options.
- Pack a picnic. A picnic is time efficient, and you can select your menu at the grocery store. It also saves time and money for seeing more of the country you are visiting.
- Consider booking accommodations where you can prepare at least one meal a day. Accommodations with a kitchen where you can prepare your own meal. It is also very fun to explore grocery stores in a foreign country. Well..for me it is..haha! Maybe not everyone.
- Eat a hearty breakfast. Most hotels in Europe and other international destinations offer a nice buffet breakfast. You can almost always find oatmeal and plant based friendly options.
The experience of eating out in restaurants around the world includes more than just the food. Think about the entertainment of people watching, the gorgeous setting, al fresco dining, the excellent service, the wonderful company of your travel companions and the joy of being in a place you have never been before.