One of my biggest fears about going plant-based was “What do I do when we go on vacation?!” I was so committed to this new lifestyle, that I didn’t want to become derailed every time we went on a road trip. We like to travel. A lot. So every few months couldn’t be an excuse to lose my way. This is a lifestyle. Not a temporary diet to be ditched the second we go on vacay.
So what to do?
Luckily, the world is changing and finding plant-based or vegan-friendly options is becoming easier. But how do you find those places in unfamiliar territory? This leads me to tip #1.
#1 The HappyCow App
I was so happy to discover this app and it ABSOLUTELY has come in handy. It’s an app that you can search vegan restaurants, vegetarian restaurants, and restaurants that offer vegan & vegetarian options on their menus. You see ratings, read reviews and even leave your own to help others out. It’s not free, I think I paid around $4.99 for it, but it has been worth it! I’ve used it while traveling to find vegan friendly restaurants in strange places and I’ve even used it locally to find new vegan favorites.
If you don’t want to pay for the HappyCow app, you can also check many restaurant’s menus online or on apps like Zomato & OpenTable for free.
#2 RV, 5th wheel, pop-up camper or Motorhome to cook your own plant-based meals
This one may not appeal to everyone, but my husband and I love our RV. We have a class A, which is the larger, bus looking motorhome that comes with a fully equipped kitchen (stove, oven, microwave, sink, & refrigerator), pantry, dining table, bathroom, bedroom, bunkbeds, and living area. And before you say, “I can’t afford that”, you might be surprised. Besides, you don’t have to own one to go this route. There are many companies that you can rent an RV from to give it a try. Start with a smaller Class C if you are nervous about driving a big tank. They are still fully equipped with kitchens, everything is just a little smaller, and they drive more like a U-Haul. If you don’t want to pay to rent one, you might even see if you have a friend that will let you borrow theirs!
Even a simple pop-up camper has a basic kitchen with stove & sink usually. Not sure about a refrigerator on these those. 5th wheels are like a fully equipped RV, but aren’t motorized – you pull them with a heavy duty truck. Hence the name “5th wheel”. These are typically a lot less expensive than a motorized Class A or Class C Motorhome/RV.
We like to travel a lot, so getting of our own made sense to us AND it has made eating plant-based while traveling so much easier. Especially, if we are in the middle of tin-buck-two and there’s nothing but gas station food for miles around. We load up our RV refrigerator and freezer with plant-based favorites from home. I even bring our blender to make morning smoothies and we have a toaster & coffee maker that stays on our RV. It’s like never leaving home!
I usually pre-cook several things & prep all the fruits/veggies ahead of time so that I’m not spending my entire vacation in the kitchen cooking. Our last trip to South Padre Island I did most of the cooking ahead of time.
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Foods I made ahead of time & stocked our RV with
- My favorite Taco Bean Soup
- My husband’s favorite Italian Cashew Creamed Kale
- The best hummus recipe
- Vegan Broccoli Mac for Hayden (1 10-12 ounce package frozen broccoli, steamed & Daiya Alfredo Mac & Cheese)
- Vegan Chili Mac for Mason (Hormel Vegetarian Chili & Annie’s Organic Vegan Mac & Cheese)
- Nutritarian Peanut Butter Cookies
- Pre-assembled some salads in sealed containers
- Large batch of whole grain Blueberry Pancakes (Log Cabin All Natural Pancake Mix with a TON of fresh blueberries & ground flax seed mixed in)
- Prepped fruits & veggies like grapes, pineapple chunks, strawberries, blueberries, bell pepper strips, sweet pepper strips, baby carrots, kale
- Whole grain bread, natural peanut butter
- Whole grain tortillas for hummus & veggie wraps
- Salad mix & spinach
- The Beyond Burgers (found at Kroger or Whole Foods) – for our “grill out” night (vegan, but not WFPB)
- Vegan Boca chicken nuggets for my kids
- Apple slices
You’ll notice a few things that aren’t 100% whole food plant based like the vegan mac & cheese & vegan chicken nuggets and while the Log Cabin All Natural pancake mix is vegan & has whole grains, it’s not 100% whole grain. These are things that I’ve chosen to use to do the best we can. We are still currently only about 6 months in this change of eating, so I’ve had to make compromises so that my kids don’t completely freak out. You have to do what you can. Making their favorites “veganized” is a huge step in the right direction.
They still eat a lot of whole food plant based recipes I cook at home, but sometimes I’ll make them something that’s vegan, but not completely WFPB, like the vegan Chili Mac or Broccoli Mac. Plus, I let them choose what they want when we eat out. I don’t want this to become a negative, stressful thing for them so that they then hate eating this way and rebel. I want to teach them healthy eating habits and eventually have that be their choice. My husband and I are setting the example and they are following our lead.
#3 Find a hotel room or condo with a kitchen or kitchenette
If you are taking a road trip by car or flying, then find hotels or condos that offer a kitchenette so you can still cook some of your own meals. This can be a great way to save money especially if you are going to be staying in a location for a while and would be worth the time to buy groceries and cook some meals.
We’ve done this before when going to Corpus Christi. There are condos right on the beach and they are like little apartments. We load up on groceries from the local HEB and cook most of our meals in our condo! That picture is ACTUALLY what the Port Royal Condos look like in Corpus Christi. They are super nice and come with all the basic cooking utensils & appliances so you only have to buy food!
#4 Bring your own plant based snacks
You can still bring many snacks on the road and a cooler with freezer packs to keep some things cold while you are traveling. Most any hotel has a refrigerator and/or microwave you can request.
Snacks to bring in the car
- No-Oil Hummus
- Celery, baby carrots, bell pepper & sweet pepper sticks
- Dried fruits & dried veggies like Rhythm Super Foods or Bare
- Kale chips
- Peanut Butter Cookies
- Chocolate Cherry Cookies
- Old-fashioned Oatmeal to cook in microwave for breakfast
- Fresh fruits like bananas, apples, grapes
- Whole grain, no oil crackers like Mary’s Gone Crackers
- Raw nuts, unsalted
- Homemade trail mix of nuts & dried fruits