5 Essential Tips for Vegan Dining on the Open Road, by Heather Dahman, MVLCE

posted October 24, 2023

Hello, fellow plant-based travelers!

My husband and I love hitting the open road with our two huskies and camper in tow to explore new places. While traveling, one of our greatest joys is discovering new vegan dining options. While you can easily find vegan options in larger cities, smaller rural towns can be a little more difficult. However, you may be surprised by what you discover when you start looking. Yes, you can eat great on the road while still being kind to animals! If you love heading out on adventures like we do, check out my five tips for vegan dining on the road, inspired by our journeys.

Five Essential Tips for Vegan Dining on the Open Road

1. Apps Make Discovering Vegan Options Easy

Image credit: Heather Dahman

While you may already be familiar with using Happy Cow to find vegan options while traveling, there’s another valuable tool we love—Google Maps. Many of us already rely on Google Maps for navigation, but did you know that you can also use it to discover vegan options?

It’s simple—just type “vegan” into Google Maps and it will display vegan-friendly spots in the area. But here’s where it gets even more exciting—you can search for vegan options along your entire route! Here’s how:

  • Enter your destination in Google Maps and click “Directions.”
  • Tap the three dots next to your starting point and select “Add stop.”
  • Move this new stop to the middle position then type “vegan”. Google Maps will show you vegan options along your route!
  • Want to see options further along your route? Move the view to the area you want to see and click “search here”. Google Maps will show you the options along your route in the area you requested.

It’s a handy feature that allows you to plan your plant-based pit stops seamlessly.

2. Smart Packing and Gas Station Finds

Being prepared for the journey is essential. We always pack a cooler filled with grab’n’go foods: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruits, hummus with veggies, and snacks like chips and nuts. But here’s a bonus, don’t underestimate what you can find at gas stations. For a protein-rich snack, I can usually find a can of Fritos Bean Dip (14g of protein!), salsa, and tortilla chips, a satisfying and quick on-the-go snack. Other favorite gas station grabs are Skinny Pop popcorn and dill pickles!

3. Explore National Food Chains

Photo credit: Heather Dahman

If you can’t find local spots with vegan options, head to a national fast-food chain. Even in remote areas, you can count on them to provide vegan options. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Burger King: Impossible Whopper—skip the cheese and mayo.
  • Taco Bell: While they’ve always been vegan-friendly, they now have vegan nacho cheese sauce you can swap for dairy cheese in tacos and burritos. Add guacamole, rice, and potatoes to make it a full meal!
    IHOP: IHOP now offers Impossible burgers and Impossible sausage. Pair it with fries (without seasoning salt) or build your own loaded hash browns! Check IHOP’s vegan menu to learn about other vegan options.
  • Chipotle: This chain is a vegan-friendly paradise with options like vegan beans, rice, tofu sofritas, guacamole, and veggies.

4. Support Local Farmers Markets

Exploring local farmers markets along our route is always fun. They often offer fresh produce and unique vegan finds that add regional flavors to our meals. You’ll come across everything from heirloom tomatoes to handcrafted vegan jams, salsas, and artisan bread. It’s a win-win because we get fresh ingredients while supporting local communities and farmers.

5. Supermarket Staples for Vegan Road Trip Success

Photo credit: Heather Dahman

When it comes to finding vegan options, grocery stores are often reliable sources. You can count on them to provide a variety of plant-based items.

One of my favorite grocery store road trip meal is a simple hummus avocado wrap. Grab some hummus, an avocado, spinach, and your favorite veggies. Wrap them up in a tortilla for a satisfying meal.

They also offer great options for breakfast or snacks. Look for plant-based yogurt and granola to pair with fresh fruit or bagels with vegan cream cheese for a wholesome start to your day.

Adventures in Vegan Dining on the Open Road

In our travels, we’ve come to appreciate that every journey is an adventure filled with surprises. With a touch of planning, a dash of resourcefulness, and an adventurous spirit, you can find delicious plant-based meals almost anywhere!

Tag along on our journeys. Follow us on Instagram @RoaminKind

Safe travels and compassionate eating!


Photo credit: Heather Dahman

In marketing and web design for over 20 years, Heather Dahman and her husband own, HD Vegan Marketing + Design, an agency focused on helping Vegan businesses succeed online. They also own The Herbivore Next Door, an all-vegan store selling apparel and gifts that speak volumes about compassion. She is a Main Street Vegan Academy-certified Master Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator with her company, The Veg Academy, and holds a certification in plant-based nutrition. Heather is currently working on her cookbook, organizes a local vegfest and Vegan restaurant week, and loves to travel with her husband of 30 years and their two huskies.

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