Traveling While Vegan: The Airport Struggle

Growing up, I was always fortunate that I was given opportunities to travel. By the age of 2, I had already been on a plane and traveled from my home state of NY to my parents home country of Trinidad. I always enjoyed hanging around airports before my flight and seeing the differences between airports in various countries and cities. 

However, this time, my experience at the airport was very different.

I was heading to Madrid so I knew I was in for a long flight and that there would be no vegan options on the plane for me. I decided to pack snacks to hold me over until I arrived in Madrid. Since I live in NYC, it isn't hard being a vegan because there is a plethora of vegan restaurants and bakeries. I assumed that since I was flying out of JFK International Airport, I would be able to find vegan choices for dinner (my flight was at 8 pm). 

I was sooo wrong.

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I walked around numerous times and popped into every food vendor and found that there were no substantial vegan food choices. The only options that I had were fruit bowls, nuts and salads that were filled with wilted iceburg lettuce and cucumbers. I was really surprised because I thought of all airports, JFK would be the one to have some vegan food choices.

Luckily, I packed a variety of snacks for my 8 hour plane ride. 

I packed raw carrots, raw almonds & cashews, grapefruit and an apple.

I packed raw carrots, raw almonds & cashews, grapefruit and an apple.

Got a bag of olives on my way back from Madrid to New York. Yum!

Got a bag of olives on my way back from Madrid to New York. Yum!

The face of a hungry vegan in JFK Airport haha

The face of a hungry vegan in JFK Airport haha

In the span of 10 days, I went to 3 different airports and while the struggle was real, I did manage finding vegan options in the other 2 airports. 

I thought it was interesting that I found substantial vegan options in Spain's airport and Prague's airport but didn't find any in New York's airport.

In Spain I had pan y tomate which was really good. It was a wheat baguette toasted with tomato and drizzled with olive oil. Completely vegan and the bread and tomato were both fresh. 

In Prague, I had a burrito bowl with saffron rice, beans, guacamole and grilled peppers & onions. Once again, this was completely vegan and the ingredients were fresh.

So if you are traveling out of JFK and you are a vegan, I would highly suggest packing your own food and snacks so that you don't go through the struggle of being a hungry vegan on a long flight. If you have time, you can stop by your favorite vegan eatery and buy food for the flight. 

You can also do research before hand by going to the airports official website and looking up the food options in the terminal that you will be departing from. I know that some terminals offer better food options than others. 

Now that I have experienced the airport struggle as a vegan, I am better prepared for future flights!

If you need snack ideas, check out my article on vegan snack ideas, Vegan Eats: Snack Edition!