Tips for Travelling with IBS
How to Manage Your Symptoms While Away from Home
Digestive Relief Report: What NOT to do when you travel!!!
Posted by Stephanie Clairmont, RD on Wednesday, November 15, 2017
I get asked A LOT about tips for travelling with IBS. I know how scary it can be to be removed from your familiar home environment where you are comfortable and have access to all your safe foods. Maybe you’re in the middle of elimination and still trying to figure out what your triggers are, and all that uncertainty around what foods are safe and which ones are not is making you anxious about being on the move and not always knowing where the closest bathroom will be. Maybe you’ve finally got your symptoms under control and are feeling good, but you’re terrified that the new and different foods you will be eating will trigger your symptoms and ruin your trip. These are all valid, legitimate concerns when you have IBS and other digestive health issues. Your family and friends may not fully understand, but believe me, I certainly do!
I really don’t want you to feel like you are in a place where your IBS is stopping you from living your life and doing the things you want to be doing, like travelling! I know it can seem so scary and impossible, but it is possible to travel when you have IBS. I’ve written a few different posts about my best tips and strategies for keeping your symptoms to a minimum while travelling, so I thought I’d tackle this topic from a slightly different angle…what NOT to do when you’re travelling with IBS!
Travel Tips for IBS
Here are the 3 things you absolutely should NOT do when travelling with IBS:
1. Don’t Forget to Plan Ahead
Take the time to plan appropriate accommodation, preferably somewhere with some basic kitchen supplies so you know you have the option of making yourself something quick and simple in a pinch. Know what’s around you – especially restaurants and grocery stores, and bathroom facilities.
2. Don’t Let Yourself Get Too Hungry
Sometimes when we travel we worry so much about eating that we tend to avoid food altogether because we think that’s the only way to prevent our symptoms from showing up. However, when we avoid eating altogether, we inevitably get hungry, or maybe more accurately…we get HANGRY! And that’s when we make bad decisions, my friends 😉 Don’t let yourself get this hungry, the answer is not to avoid eating. We have to eat to get us through the say, our bodies need energy! Try bringing some snacks that are safe for you. Maybe all you have room for is something small for the plane, or maybe you have some extra room in your luggage and you want to bring a few more shelf-stable and travel safe options with you, like some canned fish, low FODMAP crackers, low FODMAP trail mix, or some oatmeal packets. Planning ahead (tip #1) and knowing what grocery options will be accessible once you arrive at your destination will help you determine what you should bring along to keep your comfortable, which leads us to tip #3…
3. Don’t Forget About Making Yourself Comfortable
Taking some extra steps to maximize your comfort while away from home will be well worth the effort! Think about things like having a room with a private bathroom and packing comfortable, loose fitting clothes. As much as you try to make good-for-your-gut food choices while travelling, it’s normal to expect to have a few more symptoms than might be usual for you. It may not even be because of the food, symptoms could be a little worse just because of the added stress of traveling. Taking steps to increase mindfulness and reduce stress and anxiety will also help you feel your best and keep those symptoms to a minimum. Think about those deep breathing exercises! If you have a digestive tea blend or essential oil that works well for calming your symptoms, definitely bring this along as well to help you out!
Identify your Triggers
When it comes to making travelling with IBS and other digestive health issues a little less scary and a little more enjoyable, I can not stress enough the importance of going through the process of accurately identifying your trigger foods. Knowing exactly what foods you can have in what amounts without causing symptoms will give you the knowledge you need to confidently make the best decisions for you. When you re-introducing foods, you may find that you can tolerate a little bit of wheat, dairy, onion or garlic, which will also give you peace of mind knowing that if a little of these foods end up in your dish by accident, that it won’t necessarily mean you’ll be stuck in the bathroom for the rest of the day.
If you’re not sure where to start with this whole process of elimination, challenge and re-introduction, you’re not alone! The process can be confusing, and quite frankly a bit of a waste of time if you don’t do it in strategic way that allows you to clearly identify your triggers. I’m here if you need me, my friend, happy to help!
Wishing you much love & wellness,