10 Vegan Travel Essentials

From snacks to sweaters, these 10 items are must-haves for summertime vegan travelers.

With many of us going on vacation this summer, travel becomes a necessary (and oftentimes excruciating) experience. Survive traffic jams, delays, and cramped airplane cabins by being prepared with our 10 travel essentials. We can’t promise you’ll reach your destination on time, but at least you’ll get there (mostly) sane.

1. Planner and pen (for efficient brainstorming, of course). You never know when inspiration will strike! Will the woman sitting next to you, painting her nails and making most of the plane smell like paint thinner and annoyance, cause the inspiration for a magazine feature on vegan nail polish? Why yes, yes it would. (We speak from personal experience.)

2. Music. Since music is one of the 10 ways to improve your mood instantly, an iPod and some good earphones (we suggest Sennheiser and Bose for the noise-cancelling kind) are a must. VN staffers are currently listening to Bon Iver, The Joy Formidable, and Nikki Minaj.

3. Travel-sized games. What better way to pass the time on a road trip than with games? No, we’re not talking about “I Spy” or the license plate game, we’re talking travel Scrabble, Boggle, and more. There’s even a travel edition of VN lunch favorite Apples to Apples. Watch out for those potholes!

4. Magazines. Long flights and train rides are a perfect time to catch up on the latest magazines—it’s almost too easy to grab a bunch and go. Some of the titles we love to peruse during layovers include New York Magazine, GQ, Esquire, O! The Oprah Magazine, and Women’s Health. Might we suggest the VegNews July+August issue as well?

5. Snacks. While it takes a bit more work on our vegan part to make sure we’re well fed while traveling, it’s easy to load up on healthy (and unhealthy!) snacks. Larabars and trail mix are available in most gas stations and airport terminal shops. Secretly, however, VN staffers almost always grab Nutter Butters for plane rides. We just can’t help it.

6. Earplugs. Planes, trains, automobiles … however you travel, it’s going to get loud (and not in a good way). Perfect for drowning out screaming babies, annoying co-travelers, and booming engines, not to mention the ever-elusive (and ever refreshing) nap, earplugs are a must when traveling. They’re easy to find—just make sure they’re not made of beeswax!

7. Vegan lotion. One VN staffer wouldn’t mind traveling with a portable humidifier, and checks SkyMall every time she flies to see if someone has invented it. In the meantime, a bottle of lotion combats the extra dry, stale airplane air. Some of our favorite brands include J.R. Watkins Lemon Cream Hand and Body Lotion, Alba Botanica Coconut Milk Body Cream, and EO Products Everyday Body Lotion in French lavender.

8. Water bottle. Avoid paying an arm and a leg for a bottle of water (and cut back on all that wasteful plastic) by bringing your own water bottle while traveling. Bring an empty CamelBak groove (complete with its own built-in water filter) or a Bamboo Bottle (a 2011 Expo West Best of Show winner), get through security, and fill up at any water fountain.

9. A blanket, sweater, or shawl. We know it’s summer, but the temperature inside an airplane can go from boiling to freezing in a moment. Plus, with blankets running you a Lincoln (or more) to rent for the flight, you definitely don’t want to turn into an ice cube just to save a few bucks. Make sure to pack a sweater, scarf, or travel blanket to keep your temperature level even when everything around you is not.

10. A book or e-reader. There’s nothing better than a good book to get you through a long trip. Download, purchase, or check out from your library one of our 10 must-read vegan books for some insightful, funny, and touching reads. 

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