Food & Drink Magazine

Travel Diary: How to Plan a Vegan Road Trip

By Natalie Tamara @thetofudiaries

I LOVE a good road trip. So much that I’m currently in the process of planning two upcoming road trips at the moment. As a result, I realised this would be the perfect time to share a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way about how to plan a vegan road trip.

Vegan Travel - How to Plan a Vegan Road Trip

You might be wondering at this point though, what’s the difference between a “vegan road trip” and a regular road trip?

Put simply, a vegan road trip requires a little more research before you set off. Firstly, this is to make sure you don’t go hungry, and secondly, to ensure you make the most of what is on offer on your route. There are also a few vegan essentials you’ll need to take with you. Then there are other essentials, of course, that you’ll need whether you’re vegan or not!

I got a little help with creating this post from eShores who sent me a few goodies to get my trip planning under way.  eShores themselves specialise in tailor-made trips, so they know a thing or two about planning a road trip.

Road Trip Essentials

How to Plan a Vegan Road Trip

1. Research local “accidentally vegan” food

Food is naturally the first consideration when you decide to plan a vegan road trip. Most cuisines have at least something that is accidentally vegan. If you’re lucky, then there might be multiple dishes to choose from. Knowing the names of these dishes and what they are is valuable information once you’re on the road; stopping off for a quick bite to eat is suddenly much more of a possibility.

I’d recommended bringing a print out of the names of these dishes in the local language too, so even if your pronunciation isn’t 100% you’ll still get what you’re asking for.

How to plan a vegan road trip: Foggy road in Bosnia

That’s me on a road trip in Bosnia, where it can go from zero to foggy in minutes!

2. Research restaurants along your route

How easily you can research vegan-friendly restaurants along your route will entirely depend upon the country you’re visiting and, to an extent, how well-travelled that route is. There are plenty of different resources you can call on though! Happy Cow has been my first port of call for finding vegetarian and vegan restaurants for a good ten years, and is still up there as one of the first sources I turn to (I have learnt not to take the reviews on there as gospel though, they can be unnecessarily harsh!).

Try to look up vegan bloggers based in the region you’re visiting; they will likely have resources on their blog and would almost certainly be more than happy to make recommendations if you drop them a line (don’t forget to say thanks if they do!). Instagram hashtags searches, Trip Advisor, Facebook groups, and good old-fashioned guide books all come in handy too.

Road Trip Essentials - HERE Maps

3. Create a virtual road trip route map

Once you’ve put together an awesome list of more places than you could possibly eat at in the days you’ve got available (better to have too much choice than not enough, right?), you need to make sure you’ll actually be able to find them once your road trip has started.

If there’s one app I couldn’t live without when I plan a vegan road trip, it’s got to be HERE Maps. First and foremost, you can use it offline so it’s great when you’re abroad if you can’t use mobile data. Although Google Maps has caught up and now lets you download areas to use offline, HERE is much more efficient than Google Maps; you can choose whole regions to download with HERE, rather than having to download multiple maps even for one country with Google Maps. HERE then lets you pin places to navigate to later. Better yet, you can create a list (HERE calls it a “collection”) of places for one trip, so it’s easy to find everywhere you’ve saved. I usually create one for each trip with all of the restaurants I’ve researched as well as our accommodation and other points of interest saved in.

Road Trip Essentials - A reusable cup

4. Pack the Vegan Essentials

Snacks are a very important part of any road trip, but possibly even more so when you’re looking to plan a vegan road trip. When traveling around the UK there’s a decent chance you can find vegan food along the way (but not guaranteed!) but abroad it can often be a different story, so having some snacks that are good for you and that will last the journey is vital. Raw snack bars are perfect, as is a big bag of trail mix.

If, like me, you need a coffee in morning then a flask is a very useful thing to pack – can we take a moment to appreciate this super cool camera lens cup? – as is a stash of vegan coffee whiteners if you drink your coffee white. Don’t forget to bring a reusable water bottle too to cut down your plastic waste on the road.

Road Trip Essentials - Car trivia quiz

5. Remember the Other Road Trip Essentials!

I’m guilty of focussing too much on things like food when I’m planning a road trip and forget all about the other little things that make the journey itself better! Here’s my pick of road trip essentials to put at the top of your list:

  • Entertainment you can get the driver involved with, like a quiz – these little travel quiz cards are coming with me and Pete on our road trip in Northern Ireland next month!
  • A guidebook – perfect for reading up about your next stop. The second road trip I’m planning at the moment is to Slovenia, so I dug out my Southeastern Europe guidebook that I took travelling around Bosnia and Serbia last year.
  • A phone power bar – kind of self-explanatory but if you’ve put hard work into creating a digital route map, you’ll need power to access it.
  • Car air freshener – this is something I’ve never taken before but am planning to on my next trip. It’ll be delightful when you’re away and every time you use the same scent in future, it’ll take you right back! Plus the Yankee Candle ones are vegan and cruelty-free.
  • Sunglasses – to look the part. Oh and keep the sun out of your eyes, I suppose.
  • A playlist – no explanation needed. Regardless of where you’re road tripping, this Route 66 Spotify playlist eShores have created is full of the best on-the-road tunes and makes the perfect starting point.

Road Trip Essentials - Guide book and playlist

Speaking of Route 66, since it’s the ultimate road trip and is celebrating its 90th birthday this year, eShores also created this ridiculously cool Route 66 route map with even more road trip planning inspiration. Now if only my trip planning ended up looking so good…

Do you have any tips on how to plan a vegan road trip or for vegan travel in general?

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