Travel is back. Here’s how to pack for your next vegan vacation.
Nothing ruins a vacation faster than getting off a plane in Bali and finding that your luggage has been flown to Mali. Seasoned travelers know that baggage problems occur with disarming regularity, and it can take days for the airline to reunite you with your breakaway baggage (if they can even track it down).
However, there is a surefire way to prevent your luggage from getting lost and ruining your well-deserved vacation, like a travel editor and a carry-on queen (or king). Whether for a week-long vegan cruise, a 12-day tour of Thailand for gourmets or a long weekend in Los Angeles, my packing strategy remains the same: a carry-on bag and a personal item. Together, this minimalist approach offers everything a plant-based traveler needs – and more. Granted, traveling with light luggage takes a bit of getting used to for everything except kitchen sink types, but take it from the globetrotter professional – a low-maintenance travel style is the ticket to stress-free mobility. In other words, just a carry-on and a personal item are just the thing for your next vacation. To help you navigate this uncharted territory, follow this pack roadmap and your next outing is guaranteed to be a smooth one.
1. In the pocket
Airlines have different hand baggage size restrictions, from the generous 24 x 16 x 10 on Virgin to the more restrictive 16 x 12 x 10 on the discount airline WOW. My own bag – a thick vinyl find from a Paris thrift store – is 14 “x 10” x 6 “, or about the size of the average woman’s handbag. No pull handles and no wheels – just two straps, a zipper and a side pocket with enough space for a couple Primal strips. Find your own compact, leather-free weekend bag and take it with you for a test run on your next weekend getaway.
Pro tip: If you’re traveling as a couple, share airline-approved hand luggage and take turns playing porter.
2. Trim the toiletries
A fun strategy for instant incorporating into a new area is to leave your shampoo bottles and toothpaste at home (squeeze enough on your travel toothbrush to freshen up in-flight) and turn to toiletries for a jet lag recreational activity do. Find the local supermarket or pharmacy, learn to read labels in a new language, and familiarize yourself with the local currency – all in one hands-on exercise.
Pro tip: Sunscreen is a personal care product that is worth packaging for as it almost always sells at premium prices in tourist destinations where your favorite brand may not be available.
3. Peel off shoes
Limiting yourself to one pair of shoes and one pair of flip-flops is the toughest pack-like-a-pro rule for most people. Depending on the type of travel, I use my shoe contingent to create sporty flats, espadrilles or clogs that can change from day to night. Try it out and if you really can’t live without the second pair, make “vegan shoe buying” one of your vacation activities.
Pro tip: Instead of more shoes, pack a second pair of sunglasses. Without a backup pair, you’re guaranteed to lose the one you brought with you and end up paying a small fortune for emergency replacement.
4. Bottle behavior
I never leave home without my trusty reusable water bottle because a fresh supply of H2O is essential to keep me hydrated (and ward off jet lag). Bringing a water bottle is also better for the environment as you take plastic cups and bottles out of the equation. So drink your water before you go through security and refill it at one of the fountain refill stations near the toilets in many airport lounges before you take it with you on your holiday destination.
Pro tip: Save valuable space in your hand luggage by picking up your water bottle as you board.
5. Carrying bags necessary
What did we do before compact tote bags were invented? They come in handy when you want to explore local markets and try all the amazing fruits for sale, or when you go to the beach and need something for your vegan snacks, sunscreen and towels. A reliable option is that Chico bag– It’s light, squeezes to the size of a small potato, and is strong enough to carry all of your vegan supplies.
Pro tip: Did you end up with too many travel souvenirs at the end of your trip? Use your compact bag as your “personal item” and stuff your actual handbag with all your newly acquired goodies in your pocket.