As someone who has been vegan for many years now, I tend to travel with lots of food "just in case." But, this summer we went on a cross country road trip (and by "we," I mean me and my 5yo and 7yo one way, then husband and I with kids on the way back). One of the benefits of that trip was that I just didn't have the means to "prepare" ahead as much and we got much better at making due.
So when my husband said he had a work trip earlier this week, the kids and I didn't hesitate to pack our bags and join him. We got to visit my best friend and her husband and her mom while she awaits the birth of her first baby, and we got to stay in a nice hotel with a big pool and hot tub. My kids love staying in hotels because they love pools we cruelly don't have the thousands of dollars to build one in our back yard.
Anyway, we were visiting a city where we used to live, Katy, Texas, and I knew where we could get vegan food and I wasn't concerned about packing anything to eat. When morning rolled around, I figured we'd go to Whole Food for some breakfast tacos (which my daughter and I ended up doing yesterday before we left town), but since the kids were keen to swim early, they didn't want to leave the hotel. So, we hit the "Continental Breakfast." Here's what we found (and I will admit we were staying in a nice hotel, Best Western Premium, so you won't always have all these options).
I always ask, but 99% of the time the oatmeal is made with water, and they often have nuts, fruit, brown sugar, etc. to put on top. This time, I was feeling hungry, so I swirled in one of the packs of peanut butter from over in the toast section and added fresh blueberries.
Again, you want to ask, but the potatoes are usually just cooked in oil, not butter, and are a great hearty option. My 5yo insisted I read the ingredients on a jar of Heinz Organic ketchup before he put it on his potatoes, even though I assured him that we BUY that ketchup. I don't think I've ever seen a hot continental breakfast that didn't include potatoes.
Cereal and Non-Dairy Milk
Ask if they have non-dairy milk! I am totally guilty of not even thinking of doing this, but more and more I remember to, and at least half the time they have almond or soy milk. The hotel we stayed at this week had a little plaque that said, "Ask about Gluten-Free and Non- Dairy Options," otherwise I would have forgotten. Instead, we had almond milk to enjoy on my oatmeal and my daughter's bowl of cereal.
When in doubt, grab a banana or an apple and one of those packets of peanut butter with the toast. Even when there's no hot continental breakfast, most places at least have that. Also, check by the pancakes if there's a waffle or pancake station because a lot of times they put fresh berries there.
If you want to be cautious and bring something, I recommend instant oatmeal (a vegan one, of course, since some have milk) and you can use the hot water carafe for tea to make a bowl of oatmeal. Bananas are of course a vegan best friend and easy to "make" in the morning- peel.
Also, it never hurts to call ahead and ask if there are any egg and dairy-free options. I once stayed at a hotel that said they would figure something out when I called. When I arrived, they had a jug of soy milk, cereal that they had gone online to check was vegan, vegan cookies so I'd have a snack, and extra fresh fruit just for me in case others cleaned out the fruit bar! I couldn't believe it! Another time, it was that 1% of places that do make their oatmeal with milk, and they made a batch separate just for me! So, customer service is not dead. The worst that happens is they say they don't have anything and then you know to pick up something at the store for in the morning.
I hope these help you on your travels and encourage you to get out and go on adventures.
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