There’s something about vegan travel that has more of a ‘do-it-yourself’ slant to it. The modern conveniences many travelers experience are often because they don’t share the same obstacles vegans do while they travel.
When you’re a vegan, everything seems to have additional strings attached. Meals are often strung together with careful know-how, and to ensure smooth sailing we’ll often seek out vegan destinations.
In this article we’ll help vegans navigate travel comfortably while feeling good at all times, so you never miss destiny’s call and you’re ready for anything. After a decade of vegan travel, this is what I pack for every trip.
This is the first article on our blog by Penny Yarns, the brains behind Vegan Footprint and our in-house vegan travel expert. Her blog hasn’t launched yet, but it will soon. This article was last updated on September 11, 2020.
Before You Travel
Depending on how long you plan to travel, I highly recommend you know how to make a few vegan food staples before you go, like almond butter, kombucha, vegetable fermentation, and/or basic vegan recipes –this helps keep your options open for long-term travel. You may need to pull out your own cutting board and hit a vegetable market from time to time.
Especially if you’re like me, and decide not to buy a return flight for whatever reason.
In many parts of the world, it’s much more difficult to come across organic pre-made vegan essentials. In Southeast Asia, we have kimchi for miles, but that’s about it. I often prepare my goodies far in advance of a trip, and I make sure I know how to sustain myself as I go.
You can resist learning how to prepare important vegan essentials for awhile, but eventually you’ll find yourself forced to cave in and pull your sleeves up –and when you do, you’ll find yourself adding local flavor to the mix, learning and adapting as you go.
For example, ever since I visited Northern Thailand I haven’t gone long without eating a home-made papaya salad, which is easy to make with local produce, even in your hotel room.
If you know how to prepare a number of vegan staples you can avoid going long periods without them, and preserve your health as you go.
Speaking of preserving your health: If you haven’t already picked up your travel insurance policy, we recommend Safetywing Travel Insurance because they also cover COVID-19 treatment. You can learn more about Safetywing here.
Minimalist Vegan Travel Must-Haves
This vegan travel list is rooted in minimalism, and has been distilled down to the absolute bare essentials, without any filler. The key is to avoid packing for eventualities, as the extra weight will wind up being more of an inconvenience and a burden, than useful for that one maybe possibility.
Packing for what-ifs just makes travel heavy, and it’s just more to lock up and/or worry about when you’re out on the town.
Vegan Nutritional Supplementation
There will be lapses in vegan nutrition availability, and feeling low energy during a trip can feel like a nightmare. For this reason I suggest having a proper foundation. To ensure that I am properly fortified for anything while keeping my immunity up, I always stock up on Healthycell Vegan Essentials before any major trip I embark on.
Most vitamins you can buy at Watsons go on undigested by the human body, and they’re a waste (in my opinion). Healthycell aims for 100% digestibility, and I don’t get fatigue or mental cloudiness between meals when I have them.
Healthycell Vegan Essentials are not dried-out, nasty ‘dead’ pills –they’re bio-available nutrients in gel form for quick digestion and they taste fresh. We’ve worked out a discount for Hobo with a Laptop readers, too. Use Healthycell promo code HOBOLAPTOP for a sweet discount.
Bamboo Cutlery Set
After making the ethical choice to become a vegan, I found myself eating outside of restaurants more often.
It’s easier to pick up a few things at a local farmer’s market and sit in a park with a knife and fork. I love everything about this bamboo cutlery set; it’s quality and uniqueness, the travel case, and how it feels to hold in my hand.
Portable Chopping Board
I’ve pulled out this portable chopping board on a daily basis in numerous countries, and it’s durable enough that it’s crossed dozens of borders with me. I take it everywhere I go.
It’s great for when you’re sitting on the ground at the beach, and it can even double as a stand for your laptop. Because multipurpose travel items are the name of the game.
A good chopping blade is easy to come by wherever you might wind up, as an accompanying knife may be too much for border security even if it’s in your checked luggage.
Food Storage Containers
These Bento-style food storage containers are a vegan travel must. They can help you cut down on restaurant spending because vegan traveling food often comes in such large portions, it’s more economical to save some for later than try to cram it all in your lid wherever you order it.
They’re also a great way to pack those ingredients you love, for those times you’re eating in a park or taking in a vegan river cruise.
No vegan traveler is ready to hit the road without a proper water canteen, and this one by Tree Tribe is my top pick. I’ve had mine for years, and it still looks as good as it did the day I bought it.
This canteen is ideal for hot and cold liquids, so no travel mug required. It’s durable, easy to clean, and doesn’t look out of place no matter what outfit I’m wearing.
Natural Vegan Shampoo Bar
Before I became a vegan, I had no idea what a shampoo bar was. And of all my vegan travel essentials, this shampoo bar is my favorite.
Shampoo bar? Like most travelers, I was accustomed to carrying leaky liquid shampoo bottles that were made of recyclable plastic. When I hit Asia, I learned that recycling isn’t really a thing everywhere I went, and I immediately felt awful. That’s where shampoo bars come in.
Shampoo bars are environmentally friendly, longer-lasting, fully portable, and are less fuss than their liquid counterparts. The natural vegan ingredients of this line of shampoo bars are also amazing for frizzy hair that’s common in the tropics, and they don’t contain perfumes that attract mosquitoes, either.
Just lather up, wet your hair, and wash as you normally would with bottled shampoo. I also picked out a beautiful bamboo/sugar cane carry case, just for you.
Bamboo Toothbrush and Charcoal Toothpaste
This bamboo toothbrush helps you limit how much disposable plastic ends up in the local landfill, and it’s your best ecological choice as far as tooth brushing goes. And they look great, too!
This one comes with charcoal dental floss, and I recommend picking up some charcoal toothpaste to go with it. Charcoal toothpaste is great because it naturally disinfects bad breath and whitens teeth –without toxic chemicals.
Microfiber Travel Towel
A travel towel is another dynamic item to put on your vegan travel packing list. This microfiber travel towel is ideals for use as a light blanket on van rides between one destination and another (that are as bumpy as they are freezing cold because of the air conditioning), and they can double as a beach sarong when you’re not getting a tan.
The microfiber fabric they’re made of is also very absorbent, quick drying, and it packs away smaller and lighter than your average cotton-made towel. It’s also microbial, so it doesn’t get funky after a lot of use.
Vegan Travel Bag
I saved the best for last –this beautiful Corkor vegan travel bag is made by artisans in Portugal, and is made entirely from 100% PETA-approved vegan materials. It’s got room to spare, and it makes a great carry-everything for day trips and evenings at the beach.
Corkor also makes smaller purses and handbags, too.
Did I miss anything? As this is my first (of many, I hope) vegan travel blog posts on Hobo with a Laptop, I’d love to send a message to Mike and Oshin by getting a lot of activity in the comments! Vegans represent!
Please let me know if there’s anything you’d add to this list, we’re open to suggestions. And thanks for stopping by!