If I had to tell you one app that you simply must have as a new or established vegan is... Happy Cow!
Happy Cow has been around for ages, first as a website, and in recent years as an excellent app available on the App Store and on Google Play.
Happy Cow is great because it is the largest database of vegan, vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants in the world. It also has lists of vegan hotels, bed and breakfasts, catering services, vegan organisations, pop-ups, supperclubs, farmer's markets, bakeries and even museums.
The great thing about this very reasonably-priced app, is some fantastic features.
1. Using the GPS capabilities, you are able to find a place to eat where you happen to be.
2. Using the 'trip function' you can look for all the places that seem interesting before you depart on your trip and keep them on one list and you do not need internet access to access the list.
3. You can add venues. If you happen to notice a new possible listing, then you can submit it to the Happy Cow site or through the app. What I have noticed is that the admins of Happy Cow are kind of selective as to which ones they approve. For example, they will not approve a restaurant that has perhaps one vegan dish in an area that has a ton of vegan options, click here for their full criteria.
4. You can add images and write reviews so you can contribute to making the site better and better.
It's also super for your own city. I am sure, unless you have this app, you will not actually know the extent of the vegan options in your city or town. I have had so many tell me that they think that vegan pickings are pretty thin in the city I live in (Bangkok) and I have to tell them that there are a TON of options here, you probably have just never looked!
Of course, as great as Happy Cow is, some places are vegan deserts. There really is not much that's there, even with a ton of research ahead of time you might not . My advice when travelling to these kinds of places as a vegan is
1. Buy food at the supermarket, granola bars, hummus, carrot sticks, fruit (the ultimate fast food) and eat in your hotel room, or get self-catering so you can cook for yourself.
2. Get really creative in restaurants. Call ahead and ask if they can accommodate you. Look on the menu and see if it's possible to veganise an item.
3. Most importantly, get in to the mindset that it is okay to NOT eat deliciously all the time! I have had some incredible travels in my life where the food was kinda sub par (as a non-vegan too), like vegetable fried rice for a few days. Yeah... It was really boring and not hugely tasty, but I eat so well 98% of the time, 2% of the time I might not. It is (to me) not a big deal. Plenty of people (and of course the animals) have it plenty worse than me.
I have a done of other tips and tricks to eating out and socialising as a vegan in my ebook.
This video (it's a bit long) but it will show you how to use the Happy Cow app through a screencast and all of its advanced features.
I had, what I call, my awakening thanks to Brighde Reed. I never felt good about eating meat, but I continued to do so because "it's part of the natural food chain", or "we need protein"... things so ingrained in many of our heads since childhood. A few inquisitive questions to Brighde, quite simply, changed everything. She helped me see that we humans can actually live a healthier life on a plant based diet. I had no more excuses. What made changing my ways so easy, though, was how Brighde opened my eyes to the fact that a Vegan diet isn't so much about the things you can't eat, but more about the things you can! I've never had so much fun in the kitchen, making and creating things I thought I'd have to give up, impressing people with delicious food that's, *gasp*... vegan!