Vegan road trips can be challenging for those new to the lifestyle. Ordering meals with meat-eating friends, avoiding hidden milk products and finding healthy snacks at remote gas stations are just a few of the hurdles you’ll need to handle. Here are a few frugal tips for successfully navigating the experience.
Snacks: For car trips, quart-sized canning jars filled with bulk-purchased snacks such as almonds, sunflower seed kernels and dried cranberries can be stored efficiently in multi-section fabric wine bags from the grocery store. Making your own fun food is another way to save money on vegan road trips. Lifestyle writer Rea Frey Holguin favors whipping up batches of buckwheat pancakes for grab-and-go travel snacks, while raw veggies paired with hummus and nut butters make my short list of vegan travel faves.
Strategies: Having a few survival strategies up your sleeve will prove helpful for successful and affordable vegan travel. Vegan Eating Out, a resource Web site for diners avoiding animal products, lists vegan menu items for various restaurants around the country. When in doubt, affordable makeshift meals can be created through the combination of various side dish items such as rice, beans, vegetables and small salads. Grocery stores, when available, can be a helpful source of plant-based food items. Fruits, vegetables, boxed soups and ramen are all affordable options to tide you over between restaurant options.
Splurges: If you have enough time at your destination, search out a hidden vegan-friendly local gem to enjoy for a special outing. Norfolk, Virginia for example has a number of dining venues suitable for vegan travelers. Path on 35th Street serves a number of mid-range vegan breakfast options, while La Bella on West 22nd offers a number of animal-product-free dinner options for Italian food fans. Similarly, Queen of Sheba – an Ethiopian restaurant in Tampa – serves a number of vegan appetizers and entrees that clock in at less than $10 each.
Chains: For hurried highway days, knowing which restaurant franchises serve vegan options will help you get on and off the road in a jiffy. Chipotle Mexican Grill for example, serves vegan burrito bowls with organic ingredients, while Pizza Fusion features vegan pizzas, salads and a fun triple-dipping-sauce appetizer paired with seasoned flatbread. Chili’s has a roasted-corn guacamole with fresh hot tortilla chips that will take away the hunger pains in a pinch, and Denny’s offers an organic veggie patty I typically order with mushrooms and pickles. (See also: Best Gift Cards and Restaurants for Vegan Fast Food)
Photo Credit: Suzettesuzette