Once I embraced veganism— the days of stuffing myself with tuna sandwiches were over.
It was a quick ‘snack’ to keep me going through the day, it was fulfilling and it was fairly easy to make. Not to mention how cheap it was.
Today I am more mindful of what I eat, but I also don’t expect to have perfectly balanced meals every day when traveling When you’re on a budget, you might have to relinquish from good ol’ comfort, highly nutritious food, and a private bathroom.
But that’s part of the spirit. Traveling on a budget just makes things more interesting. And as the survivors that we are, we want to be prepared for the occasion.
Here are the 12 simple tips for vegans traveling on a budget:
#1 – Travel Off-Peak or Off-Season.
Before I and my wife set out on a new adventure, we always seek off-peak flights. We try to avoid summer in tropical destinations, and the winter if we wanna go to the Swiss alps.
This is not rocket science, but those are typically the seasons when most people start traveling to each respective location. That results in a price bump for flights, and it will also increase the cost of your stay.
When on a tight budget, it might be cheaper to visit the alps in the spring, for example.
Something else we look out for is destinations that are cheap throughout the year.
Eastern European countries are generally cheap since they have a lower cost of living. If I’m visiting a country like Bulgaria coming from the UK, I know it’s going to be cheap.
Plus, Europe is a small continent, which makes the flight costs low in comparison to traveling from the United States to another country.
#2 – Plan Your Trip Ahead.
Planning prevents you from hopping on spur-of-the-moment trips that result in expensive hotel rooms, high-cost flights, and restaurants that charge you $20 for a salad.
No-no, we want to sit down and plan out what we’re going to do each day. Including the meals, you want to cook because the indecisiveness can overwhelm you and pull you to the nearest shitty restaurant where you spend $20 for leaves and a slice of tomato.
Let’s assume you’re going to be moving from town to town…
Well, you’ll want to take into consideration how much time you are planning to stay in each town. Once you know that, booking the cheapest spots becomes the easiest bit.
Then you want to organize a list with the main meals you will be having each day and the ingredients required to make them. It’s usually breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Visit a simple vegan recipe website and pick recipes that require the least amount of ingredients.
From there, you will want to figure out where the local shops (or supermarkets) are and plan your route with them in mind. Figure out if loaning a rental near the local shops (or a supermarket) is an interesting choice logistically.
#3 – Stay In Places That Have A Kitchen
Now you know where the local shops and supermarkets are — therefore you need a place where you can cook the ingredients you have.
The thing you’ll want to do is pull up Booking.com and figure out which places are the cheapest for you to stay.
What’s cool about Booking.com is that you can organize the rentals by the lowest price first… and then add different elements to the mix.
In this case, we want the cheapest place with a kitchen. Having a kitchen will allow you to cook your veggie, seitan, tofu — whatever it is you want to cook.
Ultimately, if you don’t spend money on restaurants, you’ll be saving a lot of money.
Plus… I try to find rentals where I can have the kitchen for myself, but if not, you might have to share it with other people. (which usually leads to you saving more money.)
#4 – Consider Staying With Local Vegans By Couchsurfing!
Not everyone is willing to meet others while traveling, but for those interested — a great way to meet like-minded people and learn about their culture is through Couchsurfing.
Many are open to the idea of meeting travelers and accommodating them in their own homes…
Couchsurfing.com, for example, is a social network that allows you to notify hosts and see if they are willing to let you crash at their place.
This is a great way to meet other vegans and forge relationships that might last a lifetime. Not to mention it’s FREE. You might consider cooking a meal for them for their hospitality — but it’s really up to you.
#5 – Pack Vegan Products.
You’re going to a completely different country, with a potentially different culture.
Not every country embraces veganism the same way, and if you wanna have food you enjoy and are familiar with — you might not be able to find it.
Finding vegan cosmetics like shampoo or soap might be even harder. By far the best choice is to pack some food & essentials in your checked luggage before you depart from home.
I remember going to Venice, Italy, and noticing that the price of food in small markets was just outrageous. We had a hard time finding affordable healthy snacks to eat, which could be solved by packing some favorites in your luggage.
Pack snacks, superfoods, and essentials. Oh, and don’t forget your Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D supplements. (Depending on the weather, you may forsake the Vitamin D)
Note: In Europe, it might be easy to find the most healthy ingredients in supermarkets, but if you’re going to places like South Asia, I’d recommend you bring your vegan favorites along.)
#6 – Learn The Name Of Some Ingredients
Remember the ingredients I told you to add on to a list? Make sure you know their names in the language of the country you’re going to.
And if you’re not planning to bring snacks along — make sure you can understand most animal-derived ingredients, so you can pinpoint them in labels.
While they may appear bolded most times, it still helps to know what they mean.
#7 – Always Use Public Transportation
While it’s enticing to use taxis and ubers to move around town, try getting familiarized with the public transportation system.
If you’re planning to stay in town for a while (say, 7 days), you can usually get your hands on a 7-day pass that allows you to use most forms of public transportation.
This is way more economical than relying on cabs and ubers to drive you around.
#8 – Find Local Vegans Or Vegan Travellers
There’s something locals know, that outsiders don’t.
I was in Warsaw with my girlfriend a few moons ago, and we stayed there at a friend’s house. Initially, we spent a few days exploring the city… looking at a couple of mainstream attractions; beautiful gardens; old museums; all things that felt monotonous to us.
Our friend lived her whole life in Warsaw. And we knew that as soon as she could, she would take us to places only locals are familiar with.
Long story short… the day she spent with us was the best day of our trip. She took us to this secret underground tea house that changed our entire experience.
It was this amazing place my mind wasn’t able to wrap its head around… because it felt like a completely NEW experience.
In other words… try to meet up with local vegans (or other like-minded people), and have them show you around. It’ll drastically improve your experience, and ensure that the little money you spent on your trip was worth it.
#9 – Eating More Raw Foods
A kitchen might not always be available. And I don’t want to rush you into thinking you always have to get a kitchen — because sometimes that may not be available.
Therefore… you have to accept that most of your meals will be made up of salad, fruits, and nuts. Those also happen to be the most affordable ingredients in the supermarket.
As long as you have a table in your room, you can easily prepare a quick salad without really spending too much money. A suggestion of mine is to bring along your favorite dressing on your trips… because you might not find one in the place you’re staying.
#10 – Stay Off Touristy Locations
The best places I’ve been to are never the most touristy.
It’s when you venture off into less popular locations (like the mountains in Bulgaria, or the lakes in Bosnia), that you encounter an amazing world.
Not only that, but it’s also a good way to save money.
Places further from the main cities tend to be the cheapest. Plus, if you’re going to see mountains and lakes — why not plan and camp in the woods or next to the water.
#11 – Walk As Much As Possible!
I’ve mentioned public transportation as a viable option to cabs and ubers — but there’s an even better a way to get around cheaply!
Depending on the place you’re visiting, you can always consider walking. The benefits are immense! You can burn calories, save money and get to know the nooks and crannies of your chosen location in far more detail.
#12 – Visit Free Galeries & Shows
Some main cities like London, Berlin, and Warsaw have free museums, including numerous collections of art and history that are free to the viewing public.
In Warsaw, there’s an impressive museum dedicated to one of the greatest battles that occurred during World War II.
This battle ended in Warsaw being destroyed… and the story of that battle is told in detail through the different objects in the museum.
If you love history, free museums ought to be very enticing!
#13 – Using Incognito Windows And VPN’s To Save On Flight Tickets.
There’s a tricky way of saving money on plane tickets.
Have you ever noticed an increase in value after you came around a second time to check ticket prices? There might be a reason behind that… and it’s not that the plane is packed.
Websites have a way of tracking what prices you’ve been quoted in the past. If you browse anonymously, you might be able to avoid that price increase.
Plus, websites can also quote you a price based on the location you are booking from. Using a VPN on your computer can make it look like you’re booking from another place.
Since these websites rely heavily on a dynamic pricing system, they increase prices every time a user visits their website.
VPN’s are usually paid, but the new version of Opera includes a free VPN and can be set to different countries if desired. Also, the Tor Browser can hide your IP address by routing your requests through multiple servers in different locations.
#14 – Choose Local Beer!
When you stop for a quick beer or wine, be sure to order local brands only. You will find that it’s way cheaper than ordering the more well known international brands.
To give you a quick example, a Guinness beer costs 5 euros on a local bar here in Portugal. On the other hand, beers like Sagres and Super Bock are 0,80 cents a bottle.
What is local tends to be cheaper, and the same goes for street joints.
(Too bad most street foods ain’t vegan)
#15 – Hitchhike The Easy Way
Apps like BlaBlaCar allow you to save money on transportation by getting rides from people headed the same way as you.
If you’re familiar with hitchhiking, you know how tiring it can be to stand in the middle of the road holding a cardboard sign. Thankfully, the internet has made that much easier.
With an app like Blablacar, you can check whoever is going to the same location as you and apply for a ride.
Unfortunately, it’s not free like getting a ride the old way — but it’s a pretty convenient trick to save money.
Thanks for reading… and let me know if you have any more tips I can share on this post!