The Vegan Packing List
Are you looking to get away from it all? Ready to take the vegan plunge? Looking to get healthy while on the road?
Here’s the essential vegan packing list:
As vegans, we are a creative bunch, mixing and matching sides at Grandma’s Thanksgiving dinner, ordering around products when you’re friends want to go to a not so vegan restaurant, ordering food in a small town in the Midwest, we are creative, and we are flexible. I have found having a spoon, a knife, and a fork the most beneficial tools on hand to make a meal anywhere with anything.
Knives are great for cutting into that avocado and constructing a supermarket greens, tomato, and avocado sandwich. Forks are great for that odd mixture you mixed of canned beans and veggies. Spoons are great for your morning bowl of oatmeal. Having silverware broadens your ability to just go to any supermarket and construct a flexible, healthy, on the go meal that is most definitely going to be vegan and most definitely going to be cheaper than getting french fries at that restaurant down the street.
I use To-Go Ware’s Reusable Bamboo Utensil Set and always get tons of compliments and amazed faces. Pulling these babies out with my vegan on the go meal always inspires jealousy.
Pro-tip: Take your food to a park or a plaza and people watch. You’re not only saving money and eating healthier, but you get to really enjoy where ever you may happen to find yourself on your travels.
2. Spice Set
Most people who know me, know I’m a bit of a salt addict. I put it on everything. I carry around my salt little travel salt shaker, even when I’m not traveling.
Getting a little set reserve of spices is going to save your life. Whether you’re traveling from hostel to hostel, from supermarket to supermarket, easily prepared restaurant vegan food might not be available, and you’ll find yourself cooking or creating some concoction in your hostel’s kitchen, in a park, etc. Having a small container of a few essential spices will be a lifesaver to eating tasty food.
Find yourself a small container, something light. Either a bead holder, or even little bags. Like I mentioned, I always carry a little salt shaker, especially for those homemade avocado sandwiches, but I also have a little stacking container with garlic, cumin, curry, and cinnamon (oatmeal!).
3. Some form of Tupperware
The theme of this post seems to be, preparing your own food on the road when options aren’t ideal. Carrying a little piece of tupperware (and maybe a few snack backs) will become invaluable to you. The tupperware, whatever size and weight you choose (the lighter the better!), will become a multi-use tool for you.
Cooked some food the other night at the hostel and didn’t eat it all? Throw it in your tupperware for an easy and cheap lunch the next day.
Out on the road and want to make yourself a supermarket salad or maybe mix some canned beans with a few other goodies? Throw it in the tupperware for a makeshift bowl.
Feeling a bit hungry and all you’ve got is instant oatmeal? Ask for some hot water at any restaurant or coffee shop, and bam, instant oatmeal in your tupperware bowl.
(Little reusable snack bags make great storing devices for snacks and other essentials for a day out wandering the town.)
4. the Interweb
Whether it be using an app on your phone, the old 97 windows at your hostel, or your own traveling internet using device, check out and plan in advance vegan restaurants and veg friendly destinations.
Happycow.net or a general search for your city and vegan will often pull up at least a few places in any big city internationally. Veganism is increasingly becoming well known around the world, and we, the veggie traveler, are benefiting. Any number of local cuisine places, and often international will be available to try out!
5. Language Resources
Having a few key words in the target language to explain your veganism or vegetarianism is crucial in eating out, ordering at restaurants, asking at grocery stores, etc. Most guidebooks these days have a section on vegetarianism/veganism and how to explain it. I either use my guidebook if it’s not a language I speak, or will spend a bit of time on the interwebs looking up a few things.
Keep in mind, vegetarian/vegan, will have different meanings and connotations in each country. Like when you go to Grandma’s house or your Great Aunt, and she knows you’re a vegan but tries to serve you fish, different definitions are prevalent. I recommend knowing the words for beef, chicken, fish, cheese, eggs, milk, and broth. I often will say (depending on the dish and potential for food), “I’m a vegan, so no _________”. Explicitly stating what you can’t eat is essential. For example, in Spanish, most people assume saying, “no carne” extends to all meat sources, but for almost all Spanish speakers, carne is only beef and doesn’t include chicken, fish, etc.
Another easy great resource would be MaxLearning’s “V-Card” . You can print them out, or download them on your iPhone or Droid and access them anytime. They explicitly state the things you can’t eat in almost any target language. Bring it out to eat, and just show it your waiter without the embarrassing, but fun attempts at pronouncing all those new words.
If you’re a very strict vegan, or actually have very strong allergies, I recommend checking out SelectWisely’s language cards. They cost about $7 a piece, but as advertised, are worded very strongly in the target language to ensure your food doesn’t have the particular food item included.
6. Vegan Friendly Toiletries
Whether you’re going for a quick week long jaunt, or a longer backpacking adventure, I recommend bringing with you your vegan shampoo or organic toothpaste, etc. I carry Castile soap with me to not only wash my hair, but do laundry, wash dishes, etc.
Of course, this is the vegan packing list, so don’t forget your converters, your Tom’s fluoride free toothpaste, comfy wool-free socks, your notebooks, traveling water bottle, etc. and enjoy your trip!