Travel Apps

HappyCow Review [2022]: Best Vegan Food App for Travelers?

Updated on:  
August 2, 2022
Reading Time:  
5
 minutes
If you're vegan, vegetarian, or just enjoy the occasional plant-based meal, it might be tricky to find cool places to dine, especially when traveling. HappyCow aims to solve this issue, but are they as game-changing as they claim to be? Find out whether they're actually any good to use, especially when traveling!

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Despite the astronomical rise of Veganism, finding a vegan or good vegetarian meal in a new place is often easier said than done.

Thankfully, in 1999, HappyCow's founder recognized the issue and started an online community that's now grown into a massive brand. 

HappyCow now features over 150,000 businesses around the globe, with over 2.5 million users. Thanks to this, you won't have trouble finding an inclusive meal wherever you go. Whether you are vegan or gluten-free, enjoying a staycation, or traveling to the other side of the globe.

But even with 2.5 million users, is HappyCow the go-to game-changing restaurant locater? Can you use HappyCow while traveling?

We've previously reviewed two other food-related apps that can make travel easier, TheFork and EatWith

Today, we're taking a deep dive into HappyCow's features to see how effective it is in helping travelers find healthy food options.

HappyCow Logo
Image Courtesy of HappyCow

What is HappyCow?

Many people know HappyCow as a vegan/vegetarian restaurant finder app. However, HappyCow has grown to become way more than that.

The website has different elements:

  • Blog that features new content ranging from vegan workaways to easy recipes.
  • An explore feature that allows you to find top-rated vegan restaurants in your area and vegan and vegetarian-friendly B&Bs.
  • An active forum and chat board where you can connect with other members and search on different topics.
  • You can follow members and see what they are eating, their photos, and the reviews they post. It's sort of like Instagram without the filter and random captions. Instead, you see what you really want to know.
  • vegan store that sells all kinds of vegan or vegetarian products.

Most people are more familiar with using HappyCow as an app to find vegan, vegetarian, or restaurants with vegan options on a map.

However, some people are unaware that they can also follow members on the app and even chat with them. Therefore, it could be an exciting way to connect with like-minded travelers who also live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

How do I use HappyCow?

You can use the app and website without making a profile. Here's how it works if you're looking for a restaurant in Berlin, for example:

  • Enter the city you're visiting, whether you're actually there.
  • Use existing filters to narrow down exactly what you're looking for.
  • Done! 
HappyCow vegan restaurant locator app.
Image Courtesy of HappyCow

You can click on green popups to see the restaurants or view the list popups at the bottom of the map.

Each listing includes the usual details such as star rating and reviews, opening hours, phone number, website, directions, and user-uploaded photos. 

What we like about HappyCow

Wide coverage

HappyCow is active in over 180 countries, so you can be assured that all the top travel destinations are included at the very least. It's also available in 12 different languages. 

Offline access 

You can save trips offline for when you don't have Internet. So you can plan all your dining options at home before your trip.

Strict restaurant vetting process

A restaurant that can only serve fries and a few salad leaves won't get listed as a restaurant "with vegan options."

When you Google restaurants with vegan options, some of the top results might take you to a restaurant that doesn't have proper vegan options. HappyCow, a vegan-centric app, tries to create a reliable experience by having humans vet the restaurant.

For a non-vegan restaurant to be listed, the restaurant has to go through several steps. They have to label dishes as vegan at the minimum, create a separate vegan menu section, or provide more choices than typical items on most menus.

It's a hub of helpful content

It offers more than just an overview of restaurants but also a hub of content that provides you with all kinds of information about the vegan lifestyle.

Connect with others!

Whether vegan or vegetarian, you will know the thrill of meeting people who share the same ideas about animal welfare and sustainability. This might not always be easy, depending on where you live or where you're traveling to. 

HappyCow goes the extra mile by providing not only restaurant listings but also a platform for you to connect with like-minded individuals. It's also super easy to participate by uploading your own photos and reviews.

What can be improved about HappyCow?

The branding feels outdated

This is certainly not a major con, but the branding feels outdated. 

Inaccurate restaurant information

Some users have complained that the opening hours of restaurants are not always correct. To be sure of the times, double-check it on Google and/or the restaurant's website first.

Find great vegan food with happycow while traveling.
Photo by Sonny Mauricio on Unsplash

Is HappyCow worth it?

So, is HappyCow worth it, and can you use it while traveling?

They're worth it, and you can use them before you travel AND when you're traveling!

For those looking to plan ahead, you can create custom filters on the destinations you're visiting so you can make reservations ahead of your trip.

You'll also be able to connect with others to gain insights, learn new tips and tricks, and find cool hidden-gem restaurants near you!

If you can get behind their, at times, clunky and outdated interface and sometimes outdated information on specific restaurants, HappyCow is definitely worth the try, especially since it's free!

Using HappyCow is undoubtedly worth it if you are looking for plant-based food options when traveling. It will save you countless hours of research and effort to track down the best vegan restaurants nearby. 

People using HappyCow are eager to help others easily find delicious plant-based options, so the photos and the reviews are typically posted with more depth and insights. 

Our Rating: 4.7/5

Pros:

  • Wide coverage  
  • Available in many languages
  • Offline access
  • Quality plant-based options
  • Hub of useful content
  • Sense of community

Cons:

  • Outdated look and feel
  • Inaccurate opening hours

Plan ahead for your upcoming trip!

If you are planning a trip to a new city, but you can't make your mind up about where to stay, here's a top tip I always rely on. 

Before booking accommodation in a new city, I filter on vegan restaurants. There are often one or two areas where vegan restaurants are clustered around. 

Those are usually the areas with the hippest cafes, independent boutiques, and concept stores.

But where can you store these cool new places before you go on your trip?

Meet friends and eat vegan with Happycow
Photo by Courtney Cook on Unsplash

Plan your next foodie trip with Pilot!

Well, why not put the restaurants you wanna visit and try out in Pilot?

Pilot is your brand-new travel planner that helps you discover and build travel itineraries connecting you to resources everywhere. Make the planning experience more fun by collaborating with your travel buddies!

Pilot makes it fun and easy to share and relive your favorite travel memories with many useful features! 

Did we mention that it's completely free? Try it out now!

Originally published on:  
August 2, 2022

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