With a little preparation, you will find that being “on the road” does not mean that vegans have to starve. My favorite essential is a “goody bag:” a soft-sided, insulated lunch bag which, with the help of a frozen cold-pack, will keep items cool for several hours. For long trips, where there may not be a handy health food store or if you are traveling with kids, I recommend bringing along a large plastic cooler.
In the goody bag, I usually pack a few sandwiches, several small soy milk or rice milk boxes, some whole-grain chips with bean dip or hummus and maybe a bag of whole-grain crackers with tahini-miso spread (see recipe), as it keeps well. Nut butter sandwiches keep fairly well also, and are sometimes even better the next day. Dried fruit and nuts make easy, filling snacks. Baby carrot sticks are a kid favorite and stay fresh fairly well, as do apples and tangerines. Healthy vegan treats, such as Cliff bars and raw bars from Larabar and Raw Revolution, are easy and appeal to both adults and kids. Of course, always leave some room for treats like cookies, muffins and vegan puddings, such as those by Zensoy.
There are times when one is driving along the interstate with a carload of hungry stomachs. Either the goody bag is empty, or everyone is sick and tired of nut-butter sandwiches. What’s a vegan traveler to do?
Your best bet is to look for a Taco Bell. They now offer bean tacos and burritos al-fresco, meaning without cheese, but with lettuce, tomato, and onion. The refried beans are actually low in fat, as well as vegan.
Subway is also a possibility. Simply order an all-vegetable sub without cheese or mayonnaise, but with the oil and vinegar dressing and with avocado, if they have it. Unfortunately, the vegetarian patty is not vegan.
Burger King has a veggie burger, but you run the risk of it being cooked on a meat-greasedgrill.
If you happen to be traveling first class or overseas, be sure to alert the airlines that you want pure vegetarian meals. Some airlines are better than others at feeding vegan travelers. I recommend bringing a small goody bag, just in case.
On domestic flights when traveling coach, the airlines usually offer meals for purchase. Again, bring your goody bag, as there are seldom any vegan options. Just remember, liquids (and anything with even a pudding consistency) will be confiscated by security. On short flights, I bring a couple of raw bars in my carry-on.
If you have a long enough layover at a large airport, you will not starve these days! Vegan possibilities abound, from Jamba Juice to unique Mexican fast food establishments. Just check them out. At the very least, there are Starbucks at every turn where you can purchase a soy latte, fruit drinks, bagels, hot oatmeal with toppings, vegan nut bars, and fresh fruit. So explore and enjoy!
It’s always a good idea, when staying in a hotel or motel with children, to pack a loaf of your favorite whole-grain bread, a container of fresh ground almond or peanut butter and a jar of all-fruit jelly. Wholegrain cereal and a larger box of soy milk provides an easy breakfast for hungry kids and adults. Just don’t forget to bring a few plastic bowls and some utensils.
Remember that many hotels will equip you with a small refrigerator in your room for a nominal fee; and for what you may save on breakfast and lunch, not to mention its convenience, it can be well worth it. Most hotels/motels have coffee makers in the room which will heat water forinstant vegan soups or even instant hot cereals.
IN NEW CITIES:
When visiting a new city, you might consider going online to HappyCow.net. You can press the “current location” button and it will give you all the vegetarian/vegan restaurants in the area, how close they are to you and other relevant info. There is also a reference book called Tofu Tollbooth, which provides similar information for the larger cities.
I also peruse the yellow pages for vegetarian restaurants, health food delis and promising ethnic restaurants, whenever I am in a strange city. It’s a good idea to question the concierge, if you are staying in a nice hotel. I’ve gotten some great restaurant recommendations from bellmen, who happened to be fellow vegans. If you use my suggestions in the restaurant section of this website, you may find eating out in a new city to be an interesting, fun, and, hopefully, delectable adventure.