Packing List for Vegan Travel / Special Dietary Needs

Bowl and utensils

This is a guest post by

As a vegan traveler, I pack some extra bits and pieces to make travel easier. If you have other special dietary needs, such as gluten-free, you’re likely to find these packing tips useful as well.

These are 5 things that make it into my bag for most trips.

1. Cooler Bag

my cooler bag

I take a small cooler bag.

Why: On the road, I use it for transporting food on public transport. If I’ve gone out of my way to visit a vegan restaurant, I often buy extra vegan dessert for the following day. Vegan cake survives transport better in a cooler bag!

I also take my own food on flights. I take my cooler bag as my carry on “personal item.” Read more about how I work around airline liquids restrictions.

2. A Plastic Bowl and Utensils

Bowl and utensils
I take a bowl and utensils. Sure I could take a spork but I prefer normal cutlery.

Why: Combined with a box of cereal and some soy milk, this allows for easy breakfasts or late night snacks.

I also tend to buy hummus, salads, bread rolls etc at Wholefoods type supermarkets and eat them in my hotel room.

3. A Knife that will Cut Up Fruit

The knife pictured above is my favorite for double duty as a normal knife, and for cutting up things like fruit.

4. Backup Food

Cheap vegan boil in bag lentils

Why: Even in places that are relatively easy to travel as a vegan (like Thailand and Vietnam), eating on the go is often hard. I always pack some backup food. You might just take a packet of vegan/gluten free cookies for if you need a quick fuel top up, however I like to take some easy protein. The above meal just needs to be boiled a few minutes in a pot of hot water. You dump the foil bag in pot of boiling water without opening it first. If you don’t have access to cooking facilities, you can easily ask someone to boil a pot of water for you. I like beach holidays and there is often not good vegan protein available on tropical islands!

You can buy these very cheaply at your local Indian supermarket. To save space, use a Sharpie to write what’s inside on the foil bag and discard the box.

5. My Camping Stove and a Small Pot

camping stove

I take my camping stove on beach trips. I typically buy rice from where I’m staying and cook my own protein. Usually tins of chili beans or baked beans with some chili flakes for extra taste. A diet of tropical fruit, rice and beans, cereal and soy milk, and vegan chocolate, keeps me happy for week long trips to the beach. I feel good and have plenty of energy for hiking and swimming.

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About the author: is a blog about travel beyond backpacking. It focuses on short and long trips, and vegan/vegetarian travel. Twitter @30Traveler or

packing tips for the vegan traveler

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Gear We Use


Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.

Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.

Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

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Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking! – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

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Reader Interactions


  1. 30Traveler says

    Thanks for interviewing me Brooke. I enjoyed it!!

    These routines took me awhile to figure out, so hopefully they’ll help other people with special dietary requirements to figure out their own travel routines.

  2. George says

    I was vegan but I switched to Vegetarian to make it easier to travel (although that’s not always easy it’s my bottom line) thanks for the tips. I’m trying to get Soya milk now at my local supermarket but I can’t figure it out if they have it or which one it is. Hopefully soon.

  3. Toni says

    Thanks for the tips. I’m not vegan but have food allergies. I have traveled a lot and have found taking non parishables I can eat helps. I hadn’t thought about how to branch out from peanut butter and crackers for protein.

  4. Federica says

    I’m living in Argentina and you would not BELIVE how hard it is to be vegan here, Most south american countries do not recive importation so they don’t have whole food markets, or any alternative “easy” food for example ready meals or such…You have to make everything from scratch or buy it and it is crazy expensive.


  1. […] I’m a vegan. I recommend trying sticky rice mango in Thailand. Near Los Angeles airport (LAX), there is a place called Veggie Grill where they make an amazing vegan cheeseburger. It’s about 3-4 miles away from the airport, so an easy taxi if you’re on a layover. I also love the vegan cakes at a bakery called Life Thyme in NYC. The bakery is inside a grocery store. If you are interested in how I manage traveling with special dietary needs, they can read a guest post I wrote for on traveling vegan. […]

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