Anyway, without further ado here are my top tips for packing and preparing for your trip:
- Aside from doing some research my top tip for travelling as a vegan is to pack some emergency snacks. It doesn't matter whether I'm taking a transatlantic flight or popping up the M25 to visit my in laws I will always have snacks on me. This tip may not be for everyone but I know what I'm like when I'm hungry (irritable, light headed, no fun at all) and I'd rather have a few Clif bars, Spacebars or shelf stable sachets of hummus and peanut butter with me than risk being stranded and hungry at a random bus stop.
- Book the VGML but take backup. The VGML, airline code for Vegan Meal, should be available on the majority of long haul flights. I've had a non-vegan breakfast as part of this meal before as well numerous non vegan margarines and dubious bread rolls so, read the labels people, but the majority of the meal has always been okay. I like eating though so I take backup snacks! Hummus and carrot sticks have to be my favourite plane snack, delicious, fresh and crunchy they're the perfect accompaniment to your probably overcooked airline meal. I also have a stash of Clif bars, chocolate, and other non-perishables because it's no big deal if you don't eat them but if you're stuck at an airport, or worse, on the tarmac, facing a long delay they can be a lifesaver. I also like to take popcorn on longer flights because watching a film or two is a great way to pass the time and watching a film without popcorn is no fun. These are the snacks I've packed for my flight to San Francisco this Friday. Minus the carrot sticks because it's only Tuesday and I don't think they'd appreciate it!
Clockwise from 11 O'clock, Oatcakes, Clif Bar, two Spacebars, Sweet 'n Salty popcorn, PB sachet, Hummus sachet, chocolate, creamy basil pate.
- Keep an eye on the current liquid bag restrictions. I've heard so many stories of vegans having their jars of Speculoos taken away whilst trying to board a plane outa Belgium and it makes me sad. You can't take a huge glass jar of spread onto a plane in your carry on guys, pack that shit in your checked bag! Tubs of hummus are also a no-no unless you package it into containers 100ml in size or less and fit them into your clear 20cm x 20cm liquid bag. For example two or three of those mini tubs or sachets of hummus is fine, one big one is a no no. Sometimes my liquid bag is the most vegan thing ever, I was feeling a little under the weather on my way to Dublin earlier this year so I even packed a mini green smoothie alongside my moisturiser, mascara and lip balm. There's also a walnut butter sachet in there to perk up an apple on the flight!
- If you read a lot and can afford it buy an e-reader already. I've only just gotten my head around this one and mine arrived last week. I usually pack 4 paperbacks for a 1 - 3 week trip so it's saving me a whole world of space. I'm sure it'll be even more useful when we're packing stuff into a backpack each rather than the three suitcases we usually take abroad - hey, I never said I was perfect and two of them are cabin sized! For the type of travelling we've been doing it's not been impractical to take a tonne of stuff but as I said at the beginning of my post I'm working on becoming more of a packing light kinda traveller. There's no way I'm lugging anything bigger than a backpack around Japan's rail network for three weeks!
- I always get asked how I bring home things like Tofurky, Daiya and Veganaise and the answer is pretty simple, I just pack them securely in my checked bag. Foods like these will be totally fine unrefrigerated for 24 hours or so and you're allowed to bring packaged foods into most countries. To give everything the best chance of surviving I insulate refrigerated or frozen items in t-shirts and pack them snugly in the centre of my case; nobody wants to get home to clothes covered in smashed glass and mayo!
- Plastic cutlery is your friend. I always have my little plastic spoon & knife in my bag. At a push just the spoon will do. Perfect for making sandwiches and spreading Tartex pate on everything.
- Always take a food clip! This is kind of an ongoing joke between Nick and I because I always have one of those little bag clips right by me whether we're outa the house or lounging in bed. I love trying new snacks (like this Earth Balance White Cheddar Popcorn pictured below) but you often can't eat the whole thing in one go and you really don't want it spilling out of the pack and rolling around in your bag. Along the same lines I always take a couple of those zip seal food baggies with me, they're perfect for storing that half of a sandwich you couldn't manage or the one donut leftover from the box of six you picked up.
- If you're going to be self catering for a short period of time pop a mini bottle of washing up liquid and a sponge into a zip seal baggie and take it with you. These things are unlikely to be provided in your average self catering apartment or cottage and it's annoying to have to either a- splash out €6 of your travel budget on an eco brand or b- resort to buying something cheap and probably animal tested. It's something you're going to use a tiny bit of and then leave behind so why waste the money? I use a smaller version of this.
- If you think you'll want to do laundry or soak in a bubble bath whilst you're away you should definitely pick up a bar of FUN from LUSH. I've sliced a piece off of mine and I take it away with me in one of these little jars. You can wash your body, hair and clothes with it but it gets a little messy when wet hence the leakproof container.
So those were my top tips for packing and preparing for a trip. Have I missed anything amazing that you pack when you travel? I'm always excited to learn something new so leave your tips in the comments.