For somebody who follows a vegan diet, making sure that you have plenty of plant-based, vegan road trip food planned and prepped for your journey is essential.
Having a clear plan on how to keep prepared meals fresh using the right storage is certainly one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced. I’ll be outlining the top products you need to pack as well as top tips for eating vegan whilst on the road.
Having driven from the UK to Spain as a vegan, I’ll be sharing all the things I learned along the way.
In this guide, I’ll also offer some tasty vegan road trip snack suggestions, and even provide guidance on which gas station snacks are vegan.
In addition, I’ll go over the best vegan road trip restaurants and fast food which could form part of your action-packed itinerary.
Let’s jump right in with my top pieces of advice.
Vegan Road Trip Tips
This first section includes my top 7 vegan road trip tips that you must know before setting off!
Perhaps you follow a plant-based diet yourself, or maybe somebody you are traveling with is vegan, meat-free, or dairy-free. Either way, by following the information and advice we outline in this guide, your journey will be totally stress-free!
If you have a mixture of vegan and non-vegan travelers on your trip be sure to read our Best Road Trip Food Ideas.
Prepare healthy vegan road trip snacks and meals
You’ve taken the time to carefully Plan Your Road Trip, and you won’t regret carefully planning your vegan road trip snacks and meals either! Prepping your vegan snacks will save you lots of time and money on the road, will ensure you have plenty of nutrition, and mean that you don’t go hungry.
The vegan road trip snacks we love to eat are sandwiches, vegan energy bites, fruit and vegetable sticks, and hummus.
Make time for larger vegan meal prep such as veg-packed pasta salads and falafel salad wraps, as these are more substantial for a long journey! Soups, curries, or stews to take in a thermos are great for you to eat on the road too.
Use these tips to make your road trip more animal friendly
Here are a few quick-fire animal-friendly road trip tips to remember:
- Research ahead and plan a lunch stop at an all-vegan restaurant to support small businesses.
- Check your booze! Surprisingly, a lot of alcoholic drinks contain animal products. We love and recommend Barnivore, which is an online database containing over 50,000 drinks for you to double-check that your favorite drinks are strictly vegan.
- Remember to only pack cruelty-free personal care products. Being vegan isn’t just about what you eat and a lot of our products are tested on animals. We love Lush Cosmetics.
- Plan a stop-off to support an animal sanctuary or a vegan event. This could be a get-together or a food festival! Vegevents has a USA directory of events.
- If you’re by the coast, why not spend a few hours doing your own beach clean-up.
- Remember to always use a compassionate travel agency such as VegVoyages!
Pack vegan food items that last longer and don’t need cooling
On your vegan road trip, you will first want to make your way through vegan food items that perish quicker than the rest. As you begin to run low on these, you will thank yourself for packing plenty of long-lasting, non-refrigerated vegan snacks for eating later.
We suggest mixed nuts, trail mix, dried fruit, chips, crackers, biscuits, vegan sweets, and even small-sized canned fruit in fruit juice. Take a set of lightweight cutlery, a few bits of crockery, plenty of wipes, napkins, and a few bags for your rubbish!
Keep your vegan road trip food fresh!
In order to keep all of this food fresh and tasty, we highly advise investing in a cooler/ cool bag and some sturdy Tupperware. You can find some of our recommended vegan road trip products below.
Being well prepared and investing in the correct storage is essential and will save you both money and reduce the amount of food waste too.
Pack your own plant-based milk
Most places on the road are accommodating with vegan plant-based milk nowadays, but there is no harm in taking your own with you just in case.
Where it is unavailable, you can order a black coffee and add your own at the car, plus then you have some for cereal if you stop off at hotels that don’t provide it!
In fact, this is one of my favorite Vegan Travel Tips to remember!
Download a vegan food app
Having a vegan food app downloaded on your phone before you set off on your plant-based road trip is essential. It will be there ready to help you locate vegan places to eat when you aren’t familiar with the area. Handy for the times where you are low on snacks, or you fancy stopping to sit down for a meal for a change!
Our top recommendation is ‘Happy Cow‘. You can use this to locate your nearest vegan restaurants to eat at.
Don’t forget to pack your in-car charger for your phone; being low on vegan food and phone battery at the same time isn’t ideal! For other packing essentials (non-food-related), see our Road Trip Packing List.
Stay well hydrated
It is so important to stay well hydrated every day, not just on an adventure! Be sure to take plenty of water with you, and keep drinking throughout the day. This will prevent you from feeling sluggish and tired, and keep you switched on and safe for the drive.
Vegan Road Trip Food
In this section, I get down to the detail with all of your essential vegan road trip food products and suggest some tasty cruelty-free recipes. Then, into the specifics on what plant-based food is on the menu at the top fast-food chains. If that isn’t enough, I provide you with options at gas stations!
Vegan Road Trip Products
With all this delicious plant-based food, you can’t be without something to eat it with or on. We love this essential lightweight picnic set which includes everything you will need in a handy carry bag.
Vegan Road Trip products are essential to store your food, keep it fresh and tasty. For packing your vegan food snacks and meals, we recommend reusable food storage containers.
For your prepped vegan road trip snacks that need cooling, a lightweight cooler bag that you can cool with ice packs is absolutely essential for both in the car and out on your trips.
A plug-in cool bag is very useful for longer drives if it is within your budget! It will link up to your car and keep your vegan food fresher for longer.
Vegan Road Trip Meal Prep
As we have established, vegan road Trip food prep is essential. You want it tasty, easy to prep, enjoyable to eat, easy to transport and to give you plenty of nutrition. A mixture of whole foods, delicious snacks, as well as some more substantial meals and sweet foods.
Top 5 Meal Prep Ideas
- Fruit selection; bananas, apples, oranges, tinned fruit, dried figs.
- Falafel wraps filled with lettuce, spinach, cucumber, scallions, and sweet chili sauce.
- Vegan pizza; cook it at home, slice it up, wrap it in foil, cool, and enjoy on your trip!
- Trail mix with brazil nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, dark chocolate pieces, sultanas, dried cranberries.
- Spicy tomato pasta cooled and topped with spinach, chopped red onion, vegan grated cheese, in the cooler!
Chocolatey energy bites made with nutrient-rich foods of your choice such as nuts, seeds, oats, and dates. We love to adapt and add our own spin on this No-Bake Brownie Bite recipe for instance you could switch the dates to dried apricots.
Chopped up vegetables (peppers, celery, carrots) with hummus. If you’re feeling inventive, you could make some hummus yourself!
Fruits that travel well on a plant-based road trip are bananas, satsumas, apples, and grapes. Keep them all apart from bananas fresh in your cooler. Wondering why? Bananas release a chemical that causes other fruits around them to ripen quickly, and you don’t want that on your journey!
- Keep bananas away from other fruits
- Make your own Trail Mix and store it in a container
- Pack lots of travel-friendly fruit such as apples, oranges, and tins
- Avoid wet ingredients such as tomatoes on sandwiches and wraps
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches travel well
Falafel wraps filled with salad are easy to make, easy to wrap in foil, and small for the cooler. Use fresh ingredients like lettuce, cucumber, peppers, spinach in your wrap but avoid wet ingredients such as tomatoes as over time they can make your wrap soggy!
Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches are easy to make, last long, and taste amazing. Take a banana to chop up and add in before you eat, you will love to eat this vegan road trip snack.
You can get inventive with Homemade Trail Mix for your journey (or prepacked is great!). Include seeds, nuts, dark chocolate, pretzel pieces, dried fruit of your choice; anything that you like eating.
Vegan Road Trip Restaurants and Fast Food
Along your journey, you will no doubt be on the search for vegan road trip restaurants and fast food. But if at any point you aren’t able to locate one on the Happy Cow app or Google, fear not.
Your Vegan Choices At Top US Fast Food Chains
- Head to Burger King to pick up a vegan impossible burger, a beyond meat product, or apple pie.
- McDonald is launching the McPlant in 2021, so give it a try! For now, consider one of the salads or an apple pie.
- IN N OUT Burger does not have a vegan menu, their fries are the only option with IN N OUT Burger stating they are cooked only in 100% sunflower oil.
- Starbucks has a range of vegan sweet treats and oatmeal products.
- Arby’s isn’t ideal for vegans. Even the side salad contains milk and the products that you’d think are technically vegan, unfortunately, Arby’s state that they are still cooked in the same oil as other non-vegan products. Toilet or drink stop here only really!
- At Taco Bell, grab a black bean Crunchwrap Supreme or Burrito, but remove the sour cream and nacho cheese sauce. The rice, tortilla wraps, and guacamole are vegan!
- Fries are the only option for vegans at Five Guys. They do offer a veggie sandwich, however, the bun contains egg and milk. Note: the fries are cooked in peanut oil.
- At KFC, choose from potato wedges, corn on the cob or sweet kernel corn (ask for no butter), BBQ baked beans, or apple turnover. In the UK, some restaurants do have a new vegan burger.
- It’s a plain baked potato or some apple pieces at Wendy’s; fries and wedges are cooked in the same oil as non-vegan products.
- Build your own salad sandwich at Subway, most bread choices at the time of writing are suitable for vegans apart from the Tiger and Italian Herb and Cheese. Ask for vegan-friendly dressings only.
Note: always double check when you go into the store as ingredients, allergens and options can change at any point.
Here is a full list of all the vegan options at Mcdonald’s.
Most fast food places sell fries as a minimum. Not the most exciting, but a reliable option all the same; be sure to check that they aren’t cooked in animal fat or in the same fryer as meat products.
Even where there is no vegan menu, most places are happy to accommodate and adapt something they serve. A handy tip is to check the side plates (for instance potatoes, side salads, vegetables, bread) and make up your own bigger meal from those.
What is vegan at a gas station?
You can’t really always predict what is vegan at a gas station, but the most reliable snack to count on by far is chips. Note though, a lot of chips unexpectedly contain milk, but a lot don’t. So check the label first.
Tips for buying vegan food at a gas station
- Check labels
- Chips are the most reliable snack, however, some unexpectedly contain milk
You may also find pretzels, fresh fruit baskets if you’re lucky, trail mix, hummus and dips, unfrosted pop tarts, certain sweets, and iced almond coffee. We ALWAYS advise checking labels when you aren’t sure about or familiar with the brands.
Top Vegan Gas Station Food
- Pringles Original flavour
- Oreo Cookies
- Ritz Crackers
- Fresh fruit
- Nature Valley Roasted Almond, Pecan Crunch, Apple Crisp, Cinnamon
- Haribo Sour S’ghetti sweets
- Unfrosted Poptarts
- Doritos Spicy Sweet Chilli flavour
- Lindt 85% Dark Chocolate
What is vegan in a supermarket?
Finding what is vegan in a supermarket isn’t as difficult as you may think nowadays. Whole Foods is particularly well-stocked with vegan-friendly items. But in others, you might be lucky enough to find dairy-free cheese, dairy-free yogurts, meat-free slices, plant-based cookies wherever you stop by on your vegan road trip.
And if there are no or limited meat-free alternatives, don’t worry. In all supermarkets, you will most definitely be able to find bread, hummus, lettuce, and chips so improvised sandwiches, along with fruit is an easy win. You could always buy a vegan cup noodle and ask for hot water at your next gas station.
How do you know if a food is vegan?
A common question is ‘how do you know if a food is vegan?’. Well, vegan foods don’t contain anything at all from an animal. This includes milk, milk products such as cheese, eggs, fish, and honey.
- Food is vegan if it contains no animal products of any kind!
- Honey is not a vegan ingredient
Never assume anything packaged, pre-made, or processed is vegan, just check the label to be sure. You can’t go wrong with whole fruits and vegetables of course.
Some foods are labeled vegan which is handy, but some foods are vegan and are not labeled (yes confusing!), so again the ingredients list is the place to go. The most sneaky ingredient you will be aware of is milk and milk powder, as it is put into so many things you wouldn’t expect.
If you are intrigued about getting to know what veganism is all about, an amazing and in-depth resource is the Vegan Society.
Thank you for reading, please let us know what you think in the comments!
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Holly is an animal lover with a passion for travel and living a plant-based lifestyle. She enjoys practicing and teaching yoga, cooking, and visiting new places. She currently delivers self-care sessions that utilize EFT (emotional freedom technique) to support people struggling with their breakups.