Top Tips for travelling with IBS
Travel is a soul filling experience that no one wants to have ruined by IBS.
After what seems like a decade of hibernation, the world has finally opened up after the pandemic and many of us are just itching to escape overseas! Travel is always an exciting time but for people with IBS, the experience can be tainted by constant worrying about gut symptoms, especially if your IBS is not well managed. Kelsey shares her top tips for managing your IBS whilst traveling this year.
There are plenty of reasons as to why IBS can flare up on holiday, to name a few:
- You’re eating foods that you normally wouldn’t
- Change in daily routine – sleep, eating times, movement patterns, stress etc.
- Higher alcohol consumption
- Long haul flights change the pressure in your gut, increasing gas and abdominal discomfort
- You have less control over what you eat, therefore a potential for higher FODMAP intake
My top tips to anyone who is traveling with IBS include:
- Keep as much of a routine as possible e.g. keep meal patterns, sleep and wake times and toilet routine as consistent as possible. The gut LOVES routine and will thank you for it.
- Make homemade meals where possible. When traveling it can be tempting to eat out for every meal. I highly recommend staying in an accomodation that has a kitchen and aiming to make 1-2 meals per day. Not only will this save you money, it also means you have more control over the food you are eating and reduces FODMAP stacking across the day.
- Carry IBS friendly snack foods with you at all times. Pack travel-friendly snacks such as low FODMAP muesli bars, nuts and seeds, canned tuna and rice crackers.
- Don’t forget about your fruits and vegetables! It is so easy to neglect fruits and vegetables whilst on holiday but these are packed full of fibre that is essential in regulating your bowels and keep your tummy happy.
- Plan time to relax. If you’re someone that goes overseas with a back-to-back itinerary, be sure to factor in some down time. Don’t underestimate the power of the gut-brain connection; down time is essential for relieving stress and tension, which will help manage your IBS. On the plus side, often we feel less stressed on holiday, which naturally results in better managed IBS.
- Carry a water bottle with you. It’s easy to forget to drink whilst travelling and being a tourist can be thirsty work! I recommend packing a water bottle so you have access to water at all times. This is even more essential if you’re traveling to a country where the tap water is not drinkable, so be prepared!
- Have peppermint tea bags on hand. These have been my lifesaver to take the edge off of stomach pain when I get a flare up! Having a peppermint tea at night can also be a nice gentle way to relax, unwind and get some extra fluids in.
- Go prepared with medication and supplements to manage your IBS. Fibre supplements, pain relief, peppermint oil capsules or any other prescribed medication you may take are essential to pack. Be mindful that some of these may be difficult to source overseas, so going prepared will be one less stress for yourslef when you’re in need.
One more note:
For the lucky ones out there, going away on holiday might actually benefit your gut. This is because holidays are typically less stressful than everyday home life. The effect of less stress relaxes your gut and reduces your IBS symptoms… Can we get this gut remedy on prescription please!?
Published: 11th May 2023
Author: Kelsey Paterson Monash FODMAP trained Dietitian