Vegan traveling...sounds fun right? No, no it doesn't. In fact, the first time experiencing the vegan travel life (not even that far from home in the Canadian Rockies), I realized HOW GOOD I had it in Vancouver. Amazing vegan restaurants are everywhere and every restaurant HAS a vegan option, so traveling to less vegan-friendly places provides a new challenge. I have listed all the tips and tricks to make it EASY for you and the people around you!
Get the "Happy Cow" App
This app is THE BOMB and WAY more efficient than searching "vegan" on yelp. This is usually the first thing I will check when I know I am headed somewhere or if I am getting hungry on the road. It's like a check to see how veggie-friendly the whole area is. I love that it has a map function to see visually where places are- including vegan/vegetarian friendly supermarkets. I have had such good luck finding places that aren't vegan or vegetarian specifically, but will have things labeled so that everyone is happy, veggie and non-veggie friends alike.
Find a veggie-friendly store or the "health" aisle in the grocery store.
I have found "health" specific aisles popping up in so many super markets! This is excellent because this is usually where things are labeled "vegan" so you don't have to read the ingredients of every single thing you consume to check! Usually this section is HEAVY in gluten-free foods, but they have veggie-friendly cookies, cereals, crackers, bars, pasta, etc in one spot. This is where I tend to start my grocery shopping so that I can stock up when they have a good variety and get ideas for meals and then go from there to determine what else I want.
Have go-to meals and snacks on hand ALWAYS.
I have been in towns that do not have a grocery store and do not have one vegan option listed on the menu (to be fair, this particular town had 5 restaurants). I don't have the confidence to ask restaurants to make something specifically for me when substitutions aren't possible (and don't know if I ever will), so I recommend always having some health bars of your choosing, snack-type food (whether it's some kind of trail/snack mix, cookies/chocolate), and ingredients to make simple meals. My top 2 are avocado on toast and pb + j. I've been able to really spice up my avocado toast with different kinds of bread (chibatta and foccasia are favorites), drizzling flavored olive oil and balsamic to mix things up, and adding some toppings (an olive medley, sautéed mushrooms, artichoke hearts, cooked or fresh spinach, tomatoes, etc).
This is something that I have only recently been working at. For a long time, I knew what to scan over at the grocery store and pick up that would be instant (usually some kind of instant mushroom rice dish, teriyaki sauce cooked with tofu and a bag of stir fry vegetables). I've now put together REAL meal ideas that can be made with a specific 10 ingredients (combined to make a variety of sauces/dishes) and mixed with produce and other basics (rice, pasta, etc) to make it super simple, affordable, and delicious!