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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Your (Vegan) Summer Travel Guide 6.2.12

Summer is unofficially here and that means that everyone will be trying to travel soon. It’s estimated that approximately 74% of Americans have plans to vacation this summer and I’m positive that a good portion of them are vegetarian or vegan. With this in mind, I set out to find some great resources for vegan travelers that can help them find destinations to travel to and find easier eats on-the-go. Obviously, if you plan to road trip it, then you can easily bring food stuffs with you to fill in the gaps where you just can’t find a suitable dining establishment along your way, but if you are flying, it can be a little tougher to pack your bags with food for meals, and even harder if you aren’t staying in a place that has a kitchen.


Some of the best places to travel this summer in the U.S. to save a buck are probably not destinations you would have considered, but not only are they affordable, but it’s super easy to find vegetarian and vegan fare in America almost anywhere. Look at locations in the Midwest (Branson, anyone?), the Southern States, Las Vegas and the Gulf Coast. South Carolina has had some spectacularly low rates on condo rentals right on the beach. You can afford $50 per night for a 2-bedroom condo, right? Plus, you have built-in entertainment for a good portion of your trip with the ocean right there.


Other things to look for in these areas to save your pennies:
  • Hotels that offer free WiFi, breakfast and parking. You can save a bundle by having breakfast taken care of each morning and also by not having to pay to check your email. 
  • Galveston, Texas has a new theme park opening called Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier  with a crazy coaster that goes 100 feet straight up and whips you around at up to 50 mph.
  •  Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is a great offbeat theme park that adds a new ride every year it is open and this year they have unveiled a new “winged” coaster.
  • Disney World says goodbye to Snow White’s Scary Adventures and expands Fantasyland. They are adding Dumbo’s Storybook Circus, which opens in July. 
  • Universal Orlando has brought Despicable Me to life with an interactive, multi-platform ride/show/party called the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.
  • Sea World Orlando has opened Turtle Trek, a brand new habitat for fresh and saltwater turtles (and other sea creatures, like manatees).
  •  Wisconsin Dells’ Noah’s Ark Waterpark is the largest waterpark in the Midwest. Race three other people on the new Quadzilla water ride!

VegNews loves travel and they bring you the top 10 Vegan Travel Essentials, though I think it’s a pretty universal list for all travelers, as they are things that will help anyone out on a trip.


Looking for somewhere more exotic to travel that is vegan- and eco-friendly? Here’s a list of non-U.S. destinations for you:
  • Bahamas – Nassau is very popular, but affordable. For a less touristy location, check out Exuma Cays. Perfect for snorkeling and diving and avoiding hoards of people.   
  • Belize – Beautiful and lush, you will find many eco-lodges here and locally grown produce everywhere you go.
  • Berlin, Germany – Berlin has become a mecca for so many things. Not only is it becoming the hot new vacation destination for families, but now for vegans, too! VegNews recommends visiting Vöner, Chipps, and Lucky Leek.
  • British Columbia – The Pacific Northwest is chock full of vegan dining spots and BC is no exception. VegNews recommends visiting Gorilla Food, Edible Flours, and Grub.
  • Costa Rica – South America has so many amazing fruits and veggies that grow on the land that you almost can’t avoid eating some vegetarian meals.
  • Ecuador/Galapagos – Another South American treasure. Try those yummy potato balls and other delicious produce that they grow everywhere while you’re observing the colorful wildlife.
  • Greece – The economy is in ruins – just like many of the tourist attractions, ha! – so your dollar will go pretty far. Make sure you carry plenty of small bills, since if you pay in larger bills, you may not enough change back and could end up paying twice as much.
  • India – Did you know that about a third of the country is vegetarian? Now you do! Make sure you ask about ghee, creams and cheeses in dishes before ordering. 
  • Kenya – Even though you’re surrounded by wildlife, it’s still easy to find eco-lodges that specialize in vegetarian food. It would be hard to go on safari if you ate all the animals!
  • London – Hotel rates are slipping and it’s always more convenient to explain your food preferences when people speak your language. VegNews recommends visiting Saf, Inspiral, and Manna Cuisine
  • Thailand – Like India, Thailand is super easy to find non-meat cuisine. 
  • Vietnam – Pack your lightest clothes, because it is hot and humid here. The economy lends itself to a meat-free diet, so you won’t have any problem finding a place to dine here.
Do you have a favorite vegan food destination that you’ve found on your travels?
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