Tips for Successful Travel with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Posted on April 14, 2016 by Gerry
A toothbrush cartoon thinking "I hate my job," beside a roll of toilet paper, right, saying "Oh, please!"
Cartoon by Mick Embry – Public Domain

 

If you’re living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and planning on traveling, don’t worry. Understanding your symptoms and triggers can help you adjust and live well with IBS. Before traveling, try keeping track of what you eat, when you experience symptoms and provide detail. After some time, you will discover patterns in your symptoms and will know what your personal triggers are. Feeling bloated and uncomfortable when on a great adventure is not ideal for anyone. The good news is that IBS is completely manageable even when far away from home.

Whether you are driving across the state or traveling halfway around the world, you should be able to have an enjoyable vacation. Here are some useful tips for traveling with IBS that will hopefully make it a memorable vacation for all the right reasons.

  1. Avoid your trigger foods. This seems obvious, but is not always easy especially if our trigger food is something we enjoy.

  2. Be sure to pack extra amounts of relevant medication. Pack some in each piece of luggage in case one goes missing. If you pack it all in one bag, that is the one the airline will lose.

  3. Be sure to drink lots of water. It does not matter what type of IBS you are traveling with, you need to keep properly hydrated. Buy bottled water and drink lots of it, especially when flying.

  4. If you are going to another country, take some time to research the types of food there. You may find that some foreign foods are better for you than what you eat at home. This could be a benefit to traveling with IBS.

  5. Traveling can be stressful for everyone, and is also a trigger for IBS. Trying to stay calm and relaxed no matter what the trip throws at you is key. It may help to imagine the worst case scenario about a trip and then plan how you will handle the situation. This will help you to be confident to handle any trouble that may arise.

  6. Don’t forget to pack healthy snacks for travel days. Remember to pack fruit and vegetables to keep your fiber level up. Also eating at regular hours while adjusting to a time zone change will make it easier to travel with IBS.

  7. If possible eat smaller meals more often. Going hungry during the day and then gorging in the evening until you feel sick can spell disaster. Keep snacks and water handy to make it easier to get through the day.

  8. Exercise is good for getting the digestive system running and is also a great stress reliever. Active holidays are a good idea for those traveling with IBS. Always make sure you have plans for stomach surprises such as food poisoning and waterborne illness.

Traveling with IBS means a little more preparation on your part. Taking the time to prepare though will not keep you from traveling the world. It will also make vacations enjoyable for you and those traveling with you. March is IBS Awareness Month–share this post to help others learn more about IBS!

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