Affordable Airfare Tips

Pin this photo to read the post later!

Pin this photo to read the post later!

Looking to increase your jet-setting but not sure how to make it work in your budget? Same, girl. I have decided to put together a series of Budget Travel tips and hacks that I have used. This will be a multi-part series. I want to let you in on all my best travel secrets while also trying out new things and reporting back.

First up in the series: my experience with budget airlines.


This is a BUDGET airline. Do not expect free snacks, free carry-ons, free drinks, free entertainment. Basically, do not expect anything for free. What that means is that you just need to be prepared. Know too that they have less staff than traditional airlines. This usually means you need to be pretty self-sufficient when it comes to check in.


Choosing your seat: Be flex. Don’t pay to choose your seats and wait until the flight gets settled, if there are empty seats together, move there. If there don’t seem to be, ask your flight attendant or seat neighbor if they would mind trading with your partner.

Paying for baggage: Travel light. If you are traveling with a partner, split the cost of a checked bag and opt out of the carry-on. If you are traveling alone, fit your necessities in the carry-on. If you are traveling to a cold-weather destination, wear your heaviest items on your body while you travel to free up the amount of bag space you will need.

Won’t I get thirsty?: Travel Smart. Bring an EMPTY reusable water bottle with you through security. You know you can’t have the liquid. Once you are through security, find the nearest water fountain and fill up.

But, food: Plan ahead. Have TSA approved snacks and food packed. As long as your food is in a sealed container, you are fine. This also means sandwiches that are covered. Pack options so you will have plenty of choices.

SO bored: C’mon. Bring a book, laptop, music…take a nap. Is there really any excuse for being ‘bored’ in today’s techy world?

I don’t see these cheap prices: Play around. Again, this requires some research and some flexibility. You have to be flex with your travel dates. If you are deadest on a certain time frame you are bound by the prices of those days. If you can be flexible, you will see that flight prices vary greatly depending on time of year and days of the week. Once I find a low fare, I will also play around with departing cities. Get out your calculator and determine if the cost of driving to a nearby city is worth the price cut on the flight. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. This often can open up more destination options as well.


I have traveled 2 “budget airlines” in the recent past: Allegiant Air and WOW air.  

Allegiant is mostly a domestic airfare option. They provide low cost flights from most major cities. I have flown Allegiant countless times as they have very affordable flights to and from Florida. I have recently discovered that if I drive over to Cincinnati, Ohio that there are affordable flights to Austin, Phoenix and Denver. (Sign me up!) Allegiant has extra costs for things like opting to print your ticket and checking in at the desk. This typically is not a problem for younger people; it is something that we would be doing anyway. I canceled a flight with Allegiant and had no problem getting a credit to a future flight. They often turn and burn when it comes to flight, and I cannot speak to the safety of their planes but I will say that I haven’t experienced anything to make me question my safety. Because there is such a small window of time between flights, this can often cause delays. I have experienced only a couple of delays with Allegiant and they weren’t for very long. All in all, I would recommend checking into the options that Allegiant has at your home or neighboring airports. This is a great option for low cost travel to get you to new and exciting places without breaking the bank.

WOW is an Icelandic airline operating out of many cities worldwide. They provide very affordable flights from the US to Europe. They are easy to point out because of their purple planes! I honestly really love this airline (I might be clouded by my love of Iceland and their people). The staff is very fun and the airline has commitments to providing education and funding for a more sustainable tourism sector in their country. They also just got done with a holiday initiative where they literally dropped free airfare by drone in 5 cities. They have flights as low as $99 from the US to Iceland. They have flights from the US to the UK and Europe for as low as $129! They have self-service kiosks for luggage tags and check-in. It is very streamlined and there are plenty of staff standing around if you should struggle and need help. I am traveling again with WOW in a couple of weeks. 

I have been given no reason not to fly with budget airlines. No, they aren’t always luxurious. Yes, you can qualify them as “nickel and diming” their patrons. They opt to provide those “extras” at a cost in order to keep the cost of the actual airfare as low as possible. For me, it works. I don’t mind being flexible and these airlines have made it easier for me to see more of the world without causing me to stress out about money.

I am always trying new airlines as I hear of good deals. If there is a cheap airline that you have been hearing about but are afraid to book your tickets, comment on this post and let me know, I will try them out and report back.

*This post is not sponsored by either airline (but if you are reading this and are an airline representative...) and opinions are solely my own. 


Healthy Vegan Road Trip Tips & Hacks

Wondering what to pack to stay healthy for your next road trip? 

This post isn’t just for vegans! Are you a busy person always on the go or with a long commute? Are you a traveler or in college? Would you prefer not to spend all of your budget on food? Do you have limited access to a kitchen but still want healthy, whole food snacks and meals? Since I became vegan a couple of years ago, road trips (and travel in general) have required a bit more food packing and planning. I wanted to share some of my own hacks and tips for a healthy vegan-friendly road trip:

Place an order online. When I know I will be traveling and am low on pantry items, I go ahead and place an order from Vitacost carries all of my favorites at a lower price than if I were to buy them at the store. I usually stock up on meal bars, crackers, nuts and seeds.  

Happy Cow! I always scope out my destination on Happy Cow prior to leaving so I know what kinds of options there will be for eating out. This will dictate how much and what I need to pack. This is the best app for traveling vegans or vegetarians. Their website is free and you can enter in your destination and it will pull all of the vegan/vegetarian/veg-friendly restaurants in that area. This has been so useful for us when we travel.

Own a reliable compact cooler or insulated lunch bag. This way you can pack your own snacks or meals that need to be kept cold.

Bring reusable bags with insulation. This will allow you to shop at a grocery store so you can cook your meals once you reach your destination.

Stay hydrated – bring one or more reusable water bottles.

Pack snacks.

  • DIY trail mix (or store bought if you want)
  • Hummus, cut veggies and Mary’s crackers
  • Fruit! Apples are the most travel-friendly fruit, followed by grapes and oranges and then bananas. Bananas aren’t so great if you will be stuffing them into your backpack, they bruise and squish easily.
  • Homemade energy bites
  • Protein bars
  • Homemade muffins
  • PB, banana, tortilla roll ups
  • Pop Chips or Skinny Pop (especially if you will be driving, something crunchy is nice to help you stay alert!)

Choose an Airbnb with a kitchen. I always look for available Airbnb's with a kitchen. Haven't traveled with Airbnb yet? Read my blog post about why I don't use hotels anymore. 

Bring pre-prepared meals in Tupperware. Don’t forget utensils! If I know I am going to need meals on the road then I go ahead and prep something like Soba Noodle Salad or Mediterranean pasta salad that I can eat cold and will still be healthy, filling and delicious. Something easier than bringing a prepared meal is packing bagel sandwiches with vegan deli meats, avocado and your other favorite toppings!

Fast Food. Budget friendly and quick. Taco Bell is our go-to when we do need to opt for fast food. They have a surprisingly vegan-friendly menu. The magic words you are looking for are “fresco-style”. This will replace all dairy products with pico de gallo. Ask for avocado and you are set! Chipotle is a great option as well.

Whole Foods. Not always budget friendly (but it can be); however, it is always delicious and healthy. Check out the salad bar for on-the-go options!

Instant pot. Traveling for a long time without access to a kitchen? My friend over at Vegan Love Adventure traveled across the country staying in hotels without kitchens. The Instant Pot is heavy and bulky, but would allow you to be in control of what you are eating and also allow you to be very budget-friendly. Mary traveled with her Instant Pot and was able to make meals from cheap and easy to find grocery items like beans and veggies. I think this is a genius idea!

What to Pack for a Trip to Iceland

I use a  Nikon D3300  camera and have a Columbia jacket.

I use a Nikon D3300 camera and have a Columbia jacket.

Wondering what to pack for Iceland?

One of the biggest questions I had before traveling to Iceland was, what do I even pack? I live in an area that gets pretty cold in the winters, so I am used to dressing for the cold, however, I was totally new to the idea of dressing in waterproof materials. I’m here to provide my own insight on how and what to pack for your visit to Iceland!

When are you traveling? This is very important as Iceland does have seasons, and they can vary quite greatly. The weather in Iceland changes rapidly and frequently. You may experience sunshine, rain, snow, and ice all on the same day. Layering and having the right gear is critical to enjoy Iceland to the fullest.

Layers are your best friend.

I have traveled in the Autumn and will be traveling again in the Winter. Regardless of when you will be visiting, there are essential items you will need:

  • Fleece jacket/ pullover

  • Waterproof/windproof jacket

  • Waterproof pants (I use these)

  • Sturdy and waterproof walking/hiking boots

  • Gloves

  • Scarves

  • Beanie (I really like this handmade one and this fleece lined one)

  • Swimsuit(s)!

  • Thermal underwear/ warm base layers (I love fleece leggings)

  • Warm socks like these

  • Quick-dry towel (to take with you when you visit hot springs)

  • Sunglasses (the sun reflects off the snow, too!)

  • Energy/Meal bars (linked my favorites down below)

  • Camera

  • Day Pack (carrying your traditional purse is not going to work, opt instead for a small backpack)

  • Reusable water bottle (you can fill it up in most of the running streams of water in Iceland)

  • Power adapter (they use the Europlug in Iceland)

If you are traveling in the summer, I hear it is quite pleasant and you will not need nearly as many layers. They do have the Midnight Sun in Iceland, so if you are light sensitive be sure to pack eye shades. You will still want to pack your waterproof gear, especially if you plan on seeing the waterfalls. Some are quite powerful and you WILL get wet.

Awesome flat lay from

Awesome flat lay from

If you are traveling from October to March, you are basically traveling in the Icelandic winter. The Gulf Stream keeps temperatures pretty mild so while the wind chill can be below freezing, it is not as frigid as you might be imagining. Layering will be important, so pack base layers such as quick dry tops and bottoms, thermal or long johns, fleece jacket1s, sweaters, and of course the critical waterproof outer layer such as rain pants and a warm waterproof coat. Staying dry is one of the most important things about traveling in Iceland. I plan on packing some of those heat packs to put inside of my gloves and shoes to keep my extremities extra warm and toasty. I am also considering buying and bringing Crampons to fit onto my hiking boots so that I won’t be slipping and sliding on the ice.

Are you mainly staying and exploring in Reykjavik? You won’t need as much ‘active gear’. It is a cosmopolitan city and they dress very fashionably. You will want to pack nice shoes and nice looking pants. Try not to look like you just came in from a 15-mile hike!

Geothermal pools (or hot pots) are found all over Iceland, you definitely want to pack a swimsuit!

Geothermal pools (or hot pots) are found all over Iceland, you definitely want to pack a swimsuit!

Do not forget your swimwear! Hot pots (geothermal pools) are a major part of Icelandic culture, and one of my favorites. A swimsuit and a quick drying towel will be all you need. Trust me, you will regret it if you opt out of bringing one.

DO pack the right footwear. Don’t assume the tennis shoes you use to hike in at home are going to work for you in Iceland. Mountain rocks, black sand, ice: these are the terrains you’ll be walking on so you’d better have resistant and waterproof hiking shoes while exploring Iceland.

Do you plan on traveling Ring Road? I would highly recommend bringing one or two Tupperware containers and some travel utensils so that you can store leftovers or meals to eat along the way. This is more affordable and gives you more time to focus on exploring. Meal/protein bars are also great to have on hand as gas stations can be few and far between in the more rural parts of the country. I bought a case and packed into my checked bag. I personally love Square Bars and GoMacro

If you forget something? No worries. Reykjavik is a beautiful city full of Icelandic shops. Stores like 66 Degrees North and Icewear have all of your clothing needs. If you want to take home a piece of Icelandic culture, there are a variety of shops that sell hand-knitted wool sweaters aka a lopapeysa, socks, gloves, and hats.

Wondering if you need to bring cash? You really don’t. As long as you have a chip credit or debit card, you will find that you can buy anything that you may want or need.

Also, forget the umbrella. It’s way too windy in Iceland for an umbrella to work for long.

One last thing, ENJOY EVERY MOMENT.

Traveling as a Vegan in Iceland

Íslenska Flatbakan

Íslenska Flatbakan

Do you feel like everyone you know is making a trip to Iceland? Iceland is definitely experiencing a boom in their tourism sector, and for good reason. When I first met Danny, he had a trip to Iceland planned. He invited me along in passing, and sent over his flight itinerary. WOW Air has SUCH amazing offers to fly directly into Reykjavik – how could I say no? I booked my flight. (And the rest is history)

Fast forward to September, and we were boarding the plane headed for Reykjavik. I had anticipated that eating vegan in Iceland would be tough, as I had read blogs and seen posts about the Icelandic diet which consists of dairy and meat. Icelandic climate was not really made for the ability to grow vegetables and fruit, and the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables is steep. I had done my research and knew to shop at Budget, which is a comparable grocery chain to Aldi. I had anticipated the need for snacks so prior to the trip I had purchased 2 boxes of GoMacro bars, Go Green Nuzest bars and a large tub of PB2 that I had packed up in our checked bags.

I was grateful for the forethought to pack snacks because we rented a car and were traveling a lot on the highway in the countryside of Iceland, and there were few food options. Also, food in Iceland is fucking expensive. If you are on any kind of budget, food is where you will need to be the most frugal. Shopping at Budget is definitely my recommendation especially if you are staying at an Airbnb or a hostel that has access to a kitchen. My other suggestion would be to absolutely take advantage of your duty free allowance on alcohol. Other than that, though, there was really no reason at all for me to be concerned with food options as a vegan in Iceland. The Icelandic word for vegan is vegan – so just tell your wait staff that you need your option to be vegan. They will let you know if it is possible, or not.

Below, I am going to share restaurants that we visited and tips for traveling Iceland as a vegan.

Pasta with red sauce and vegan crumbles, all found at a Bonus! 

Pasta with red sauce and vegan crumbles, all found at a Bonus! 

Bonus (grocery store) – Here you will find all of the usual food and pantry items as any other grocery chain. I would recommend pasta, red sauce sauce, the vegan beef crumbles, vegan jelly, oatmeal, frozen veggies and couscous. Be careful with the breads – I had to google Icelandic word for milk (mjólk). You can also find soy yogurt in the refrigerated section. 


Gló (restaurant) – Pictured above, this is an awesome spot for vegan options, we ate here twice at two different locations. They have a great lunch special where you can get an option with 3 of their salad sides. The lasagna is amazing!


Nordic Restaurant in Seyðisfjordur in the Eastern fjords – a few restaurants had closed for the off-season in Seyðisfjordur already but thankfully Nordic had a delicious in-house beet veggie patty and some falafel with fresh greens. They even have vegan avocado mouse on their summer menu – we were sad we missed it!


Havarí (restaurant and music venue) - Awesome spot off the beaten path. They started as an organic farm and quickly transformed one of the barns into an eatery and music venue. They host music festivals in the summertime, and have a friendly and adorable dog. They make their own vegan sausages which I would highly recommend trying and even buying to take with you on your journey. Very simple menu with lots of root vegetables, obviously, but very delicious. Great coffee, too!


Vínyl Kaffi (restaurant) – the one and only 100% vegan restaurant in Iceland. Amazing atmosphere, very fun on a weekend. They have a DJ spinning vinyl and amazing food, beer and dessert options. We both got sandwiches, very delicious and really big portions. A bit on the expensive side, but so if every restaurant in Iceland.


Gott (restaurant) – We took a day trip to the Westman Islands which I would highly recommend to make time for! We went to a restaurant and just asked for one of their menu options as “vegan”. They changed it up for us and it was healthy and delicious. A lot of breads in Iceland are not vegan, so most vegetarian options will have to lose the bun or bread. In this case, we got the veggie burgers and they did away with the bun but added steamed sweet potatoes and rice. 


Íslenska Flatbakan (restaurant) – BEHOLD! The first time I have been able to have cheese bread sticks since I have gone vegan. This is a small chain pizza restaurant that serve up craft pizzas and beer. Danny and I both would absolutely recommend you stop in, especially if you are a pizza lover. They have 4 vegan options to choose from, as well as the vegan cheese sticks. They have a pretty decent selection of beer as well. We still dream about this place.

Passion Reykjavík (bakery and coffee shop) - I don't have any photos from the inside of Passion, but take my word for it that it is worth stopping by if you have a sweet tooth. They have a small selection of vegan pastries but I would highly suggest that you stop in to sample one of each. It was quite busy with locals stopping in for their morning pastry and coffee, but the wait time was not bad. It is decorated quite elegantly and the pastries speak for themselves.  


  • There are cookies in the gas station that say “Veganesti” these are NOT vegan. I learned this from another traveling vegan who made the mistake of assuming.
  • A more expensive grocery chain, Nettó, is an excellent vegan resource. We found endless amounts of vegan options.
  • Really take advantage of Bonus, there are lots of frozen food options but plenty of staple pantry items that are simple and easy to cook up. They have a health section which even includes nutritional yeast. Don’t be afraid to look around and take time looking through ingredient lists.
  • If you will be cooking, pack a couple of Tupperware with you in your checked bag or carry on. We had to get really creative with our leftover food storage. 

The problem with driving around Iceland is that you’re basically confronted by a new soul-enriching, breath-taking, life-affirming natural sight every five goddamn minutes. It’s totally exhausting.
— Stephen Markley

Travel with confidence knowing that there are plentiful amounts of options for you as a vegan in Iceland. Look for my next blog post about Iceland where I will discuss the sights we saw, the route we took and all of our itinerary suggestions for your next trip! 


Why I Don't Stay at Hotels Anymore...And Why You Shouldn't Either

Tiny home on wheels in Marietta, OH

Tiny home on wheels in Marietta, OH


If you have ever had more than one conversation with me, you have most likely heard me talk about Airbnb. I am from West Virginia which is characteristically a very slow moving area; pop culture just takes longer to reach us here. I first used Airbnb in January of this year and have since stayed at least once per month for the last 8 months! I am in no way affiliated with Airbnb (although I wish I was) and just wanted to give an honest account of why I think Airbnb is the clear winner over traditional accommodations. I will include a link at the end that will prompt you to sign up with them if you haven’t already, it also works as a coupon and when you sign up and use your coupon, I also get my own coupon.

  1. You get to connect with real humans (not just the face of a company) I always feel like I am supporting small business when I book with Airbnb and that is super important to me. You are not just a customer or a number to these people, they genuinely want you to enjoy your stay and to enjoy the time you spend in their home. They are friendly and accommodating (or they wouldn’t list their property on the site!) and you definitely don’t have to worry about safety because it is all review based, just make sure you read through the reviews before you book and you cannot go wrong. AND you don’t have to stay in a home with the host, you have the option to rent the entire space for yourself. Some people list properties that they don’t live in full time, and those have a more hotel-like feel rather than a home feel.

  2. Which brings me to my next point: options! You have so many options of really cool places to stay. So far this year I have stayed in a tiny home, a tree house, a basement with a laser show shower, whole homes and a room inside an upscale home. Most recently I stayed (very affordable) in Arlington while visiting DC and we stayed in an apartment over a garage that was very modern. You get to decide what kind of place you want to stay in and the options are truly endless. There are lots of amenities to choose from like pet friendly, centrally located, free parking, and number of bedrooms. You almost always have access to a kitchen, and this is one of my favorite parts. As a vegan, I don’t always get to travel to veg-friendly locations and it is so comforting to know that I can bring along food or go to the grocery and be set for my trip.

  3. You get to live like a local (and have a local’s insider tips) The properties listed on Airbnb are immersed in the location of your choosing. You can stay along canals, downtown, uptown, in the suburbs. There is a certain local pride that comes from staying in someone’s home in a place that you are visiting. It becomes personal. You get to live like a local when you are there and it just becomes a more immersive cultural experience than it would be if I was staying in a sterile hotel room that looks identical to 5,000 other sterile hotel rooms. Host and hostesses are always very forthcoming with tips for their town as well. They will offer their suggestions for restaurants, coffee shops, bars, activities and they also will tell you what parts of town to steer clear of. They aren’t making any money off of their suggestions or opinions, they just want you to enjoy your time!

  4. Flexibility. Have you ever gotten into town earlier than check in and just wanted to drop off your bags and freshen up…but you couldn’t because the hotel has a strict check-in and check-out policy? Yeah, not usually the case with Airbnb. They are very accommodating. I have checked in early multiple times without issue. Each host or hostess sets their own cancellation policy, some of which can be cancelled right up until the day before without penalty.

  5. Cheaper. I save so much money. Now, there are plenty of costly Airbnb’s listed and there are plenty of affordable motels. I would prefer to stay in a very nice Airbnb for the cost of a motel. I know that it is clean and well-kept and in a great area. I don’t have to worry about what the room next to me may or may not be up to. I have never felt unsafe while staying at an Airbnb.

If you have never stayed at an Airbnb before, I hope I have inspired you to try it out. Or if you have an extra bedroom or living space, sign up to be a host! What a fun and simple way to make extra money, right? I would come stay! I am staying at 2 separate Airbnb’s in the month of August. A condo in Pittsburgh for my friend’s bachelorette weekend and a large home in Fayetteville, WV with a group of internet friends! In September, I am traveling to Iceland and booked exclusively through Airbnb. It saved us so much money and we get the opportunity to connect with locals who have already given us great suggestions on what to pack and what type of vehicle to rent. If you have never signed up and want to save some dollars, use this link:

Happy travels my friends!

How to Stay On Track During Vacation

You stop worrying about being ‘on track’. You let go of obsessive thoughts about food and your body. Stop letting advertising and marketing dictate how you feel about your 'summer' body. You enjoy this special time.

I spent a long Memorial Day weekend in Florida and the trip started in Orlando. My fiancé wanted to take me to this vegan restaurant that I had looked at the menu for and remembered that it wasn’t exactly super healthy vegan food. I have been trying to lose a little bit of weight and didn’t want to mess that up, so I told him that we should look somewhere else for a dinner spot. Then I realized that I was doing it again, I was missing out on an opportunity because I was too preoccupied with calories. We went to Dixie Dharma at Market on South and it was the cutest little spot. He got a fried green tomato sandwich with a side of collard greens and I had both of their taco offerings, my favorite was the Nopales taco. Valhalla Bakery is also situated inside of Market on South, and I couldn’t pass up vegan dessert! Danny got the key lime pie and I had a lemon bar (literally the most delicious lemon bar I have EVER had, but I didn’t care for the Key Lime Pie only because I don’t like KLP anyway)

Case full of vegan goodies from Valhalla Bakery!

Case full of vegan goodies from Valhalla Bakery!


Tips for a mindful vacation

  • Come prepared with snacks – I flew with a large bag of snacks including bananas and apples, That’s It bars, protein bars, almond butter packets, oatmeal and date balls. I was never hungry in between meals, on beach days or when there just weren’t vegan options available.
  • Stay somewhere that has a kitchen – I have said it before and I will say it again, I love Airbnb. This offers you the option of staying somewhere that has a workable kitchen so you can pick up groceries nearby and make as many meals as you wish. I typically do this with breakfast and/or lunch depending on what restaurant options are available where I am traveling. Use this link if you don't have an Airbnb account to save some money off your first stay:
  • Bring a reusable water bottle – I always have a water bottle. When I fly, I fly with it empty and then just fill it up at a water fountain. If I am driving then I will bring multiple filled water bottles and then just fill them back up when I get to the destination. This way I never have to worry about staying hydrated!
  • Enjoy what you choose  - if there isn’t a restaurant or food item that you really want to splurge on, don’t. But the feelings we put on ourselves of restriction, shame and guilt while on or right after a vacation are absurd. ENJOY your time. But don’t feel like you have to splurge on things that aren’t worth it to you. While it’s totally fine to be indulgent on vacation, you can still stop when full (or not). You can order 2 tacos instead of 4 (or not). You can stick to a rule of thumb for alcohol consumption (or not).
  • Eat local - find locally owned spots to support! This will usually be your best bet for healthy options and you will be supporting a person rather than a company! I love finding vegan spots this way on Happy Cow and I particularly love smoothie and juice bars.
  • Get active- take long walks, go hiking, go swimming, take advantage of the free gym, find a local yoga studio. I always feel better when I move my body, it doesn’t have to be every day of the trip but doing something to get active is a great way to honor your body and still make the best of your trip.  (or maybe you want to use your vacation as a rest period, and that is totally cool, too. Our bodies need time to rest and repair, so if you have been working out consistently and feel you want a break, take it!)

Whether you travel for pleasure once a year or multiple times a year, you are allowed to enjoy them all. Don’t restrict and punish yourself for enjoying one of the most fun and delicious parts of any culture – the food! I know I can be pretty hard on myself, feeling like I 'back tracked' but honestly? I wouldn't trade the memories and experiences and tasty food for the ~5-10 pounds extra. Life is so much more important than a dress size or number on a scale, its about feeling your most free, your most happy...your most you.


K8CanRelate's Guide to Asheville, NC

Reasons I love Asheville: Vegan things. Art. Good vibes. Good times. Hippie life. Food. I have heard it referred to as East Coast Portland.

Exploring downtown is great, everything is pretty easy to walk to. (Uber and Lyft are abundant as well as public transit) If you aren’t used to walking, come prepared and wear comfortable shoes as some parts are a bit hilly. There is an abundance of things to do but it doesn’t feel like an overwhelming big city. It has a great balance of city versus nature as it is nestled in the mountains. I love all of their microbreweries and the convenience with which you can walk between them. Art studios, cool shops and great restaurants. There are lots of live music venues and even some sake, kombucha and wine offerings.

Abeja’s Went here for breakfast and they had a couple of vegan options. I went with the vegan platter and wasn’t really impressed. My friend got the vegan burrito and really enjoyed it.

Bean An all-vegan restaurant. It was my first time trying jackfruit (taco form) and I absolutely loved it! I got a side of collard greens and also kale. The way that they had cooked the collard greens was outstanding, I seriously licked the bowl. I tried a bite of their Reuben which was very yummy (but I have to say I prefer the one at Laughing Seed) I also tried their homemade ranch dressing which was thick and delicious. They have a ton of options and I definitely want to try it again sometime.

Early Girl Eatery This is near Laughing Seed (one of my faves), it looks really cramped when you walk inside but it opens into a larger dining area. Not a vegan restaurant but they do have vegan options, I went with the granola for breakfast and it was very filling and yummy. I remember seeing some vegan lunch options as well. Great staff, free coffee while you are waiting to be seated for breakfast… Perfect for Sunday morning as most other restaurants are closed or open late for brunch.


Laughing Seed Café* Located in my favorite little corner of downtown. Love the front patio space for a nice day. They have a lot of vegan options and tons of vegetarian options that can easily be made vegan and I also highly recommend their brunch menu. Vegan biscuits and gravy? To die for! Their ginger dressing is amazing too. I also have had their raw bowl and it is BOMB. They make their own kraut and it is super yummy. I have had a bite of their version of the vegan Reuben featuring Daiya cheese and it was very tasty. Next time I want to try one of their smoothies because they always look so good coming to other tables.

Mojo’s Fun little spot downtown! Very laid back and chill. Great for music as well. I wish I would have checked out their Sunday brunch as it seems like it has a big draw. As we went Sunday evening they were out of a lot of menu items but they made it work for us. Vegan friendly. The burgers are highly recommended by meat eaters as they are locally sourced etc.

Nectar* GOOD LORD. I love this place. It is not centrally located to downtown but is accessible and has plenty of parking. There is a yoga studio upstairs. They have awesome breakfast and lunch options. LOVE their vegan sloppy joe. But my favorite is definitely their smoothies, juices and raw granola. I dream about this raw granola ya’ll. I think my favorite smoothie is their maca chai or the berry. All good though depending on your mood! The vibe inside is on point, so much seating. The bar top is great. The guy that runs it is super friendly. Okay, okay I am going to stop gushing but seriously just go here and eat all of the food. And get some juice to go!

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Plant (note that they are only open for dinner service, we kept trying to go at odd times) More of an upscale vegan eatery. I had the ‘cheese’ plate and the fried plantains and my friend had the Portobello steak.  I know there are vegan cheese products on the market, but where I live they aren’t readily available and I generally try to avoid buying these replacement products. So for this reason, I absolutely LOVED this cheese plate. It was indulgent in all of the ways that I needed it to be. The ambiance inside is great, perfect for date night. Not overly impressed with the options but still a great little spot. It isn’t downtown but they have plenty of parking.

Vortex Donuts* Vegan donuts. Delicious. Great staff. Cool space. Go. I think my favorite is the blueberry compote donut or the plain jane vanilla glazed donut. Drooling thinking about these guys. Okay but really, they have a ton of non-vegan donut options all of the time, they don’t do a full stock of vegan donuts like they do the regular so you might want to call ahead and make sure some crazy Instagram lady didn’t buy all they had left. (who does that!? :P)

White duck taco If you do go here I definitely recommend eating in the courtyard out back. They usually have some local beer on tap and you can veganize any of their taco options by substituting tofu and eliminating cheese if need be. Very accommodating. I went for the Thai peanut taco with tofu and it was very delicious and fresh. I also had the Banh Me and wasn’t super impressed but it was still a fun little taco. Great chips and salsa. Check it out for lunch or for a quick snack.

Dobra Tea Cozy and bohemian inside, everything you would want a tea bar to be. You find a spot either at the window bar, tables or cushioned seating and when you are ready to order, ring your bell for service! I loved that everything is served in various pots and cups rather than all matching. I love that eclectic feeling. This was a great alternative if you aren’t into, or are tired of, the bar scene. They also have cookies and those types of little bites, I didn't try any so I can't speak for the taste!


  • Thirsty Monk is always a fun atmosphere – check out upstairs and downstairs too for a different vibe than the main floor!

  • Go down around Asheville Brewing Company and do the whole walking tour of all the microbreweries. If you love beer, you won’t regret it! So fun. There are plenty of little maps to show all of the locations and they are all super close together so no worries about driving between them.

  • Battery Park Book Exchange is located inside of the Grove Arcade. The building itself is amazing, I absolutely love the architecture. There is a used bookstore inside that also doubles as a wine and champagne bar. (they also have coffee and bagels so please don’t miss out on this cool spot just because you don’t want to go for alcohol etc. go any time they are open!) This is literally the place of my dreams. There are so many nooks and crannies to snuggle up in with a book, a loved one and a glass of your choice or just to spend some time browsing for a good read. My new obsession is the champagne cocktail they have created based on Hemingway’s favorite drink. They give you your receipt inside of a children’s book when you close your tab, how cute is that!? (we got Dumbo! :P) If you are a romantic and/or a bibliophile, this is a MUST.

River Arts District This part of town is being developed and is up and coming and possibly my favorite part of Asheville. Definitely check out all of the art studios (if that is your jam) and the amazing mural work. Free and fun. I can get lost in looking at art so for me this is great. Next time I go down I definitely want to check out Wedge which is a brewery they are working on opening down there and it looks like an awesome spot. Lots of outdoor seating. Love finding excuses to visit again ;)

Asheville Yoga Center Best place to drop in for a class. The staff is helpful and understanding. They have their list online so you can either sign up that way or just go in person and pay. I did the latter and it was easy and hassle free. DO THE YOGA!

Outdoors SO much room for activities! If yoga isn’t your thing or it’s just too pretty to be inside the studio, get out in the woods. Go to the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center and have a talk with a ranger. Let them know how long you are wanting to go out for or what you are wanting to see and they will point you in the right direction. Or you can just drive along the parkway and enjoy the views and overlooks along the way! We went up to Craggy Gardens and then veered down to Douglas Falls – a little bit gnarly of a hike so I would recommend better shoes than the ones I wore but totes worth it.