IBS and travel are not great bedfellows. As an avid traveler I have experienced a plethora of difficulties engendered by IBS. While I would never be deterred by IBS, it certainly impacts on the enjoyment of each trip, hence we have come up with ten tips to make your life that little bit easier when you next head off on vacation.
Before proceeding we must state that traveling with IBS will lead to you having to make a number of choices from the offset. One of the greatest trips of my life was to Sri Lanka, it was simply magnificent. With that said, some of the bathrooms were not far removed from those seen in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.
While our tips are generalized, we must add that if you wish to visit counties such as Sri Lanka, and go off the beat and track, you will face such ‘obstacles’, only you know if you find the trade off worthwhile. For most other trips the issues may lay around the travel itself, and it is here we begin.
Our Ten tips
1. Try to limit the stress involved when planning your journey. Stress and IBS are the closest of allies, thus if you can plan your trip in a way which avoids stress from the outset, you will be immediately assisting your ability to deal with your IBS. This may simply mean using ensuring you leave plenty oftime to get to airports through to using an airline you trust.
2. Be open and honest with your traveling partners. Whoever you choose to travel with with be open and honest about your difficulties. Good friends and family will help work around your IBS. Trying to be brave and covering it up will simply add to the stress.
3. Book somewhere you are comfortable with. We mentioned Sri Lanka at the top of this article, however the location is arbitrary. While it may be a shame to limit your choices, the reality is you may not enjoy the trip if you spend the week anxious and uncomfortable.
4. Flying can be tricky. Many people are anxious about flying, which is not great for IBS. While anxiety about flying is common it will really help your IBS and you in general if you can take steps prior to flying to allevaite the stress. There are great books, courses and therapists who can help, whichever you choose will help you reduce your anxiety and will help your IBS.
5. Many IBS sufferers can suffer with anxiety due to the limited number of toilets and alternatives while flying. On the face of it this is not an easy one to overcome. Options range from knocking yourself out with travel medication, through to meditation. The key is not to focus on the bathrooms, as the anxiety of them occupied can often lead to a need to go. Try to keep yourself amused, relaxed and occupied by planning a variety of activities for the plane before you leave.
6. Make choices you are comfortable with. Your vacation preferences will influence the relevance of this advice, however this simply relates to the need to understand and accept the choices you make. If you wish to let your hair down, ensure that you are ready for and accept the consequences. Over eating and drinking will have IBS repercussions, accepting that beforehand will often make things easier.
7. Large crowds, few toilets. Visiting major attractions in antiquated countries with few facilities, represents a major challenge. There is no way around this, other than planning. If you know that you are on such a trip, it may well come down to ensuring you eat and drink sensibly the night before and even take food that suits you with you on the day of the trip.
8. Try to avoid starving yourself. A common method employed by IBS sufferers, is starvation. Feast and famine is actually more appropriate, as no food gives way to a lot of food when the time is right and there are bathrooms close by. Starving yourself, makes travel unpleasant, and will reduce your ability to enjoy yourself. This is very difficult, when you lose trust in your digestion it seems to make sense to simply cut out food. If you can manage to eat something that you trust, even a cracker or two it will generally make you feel better and settle your digestion.
9. Avoid IBS trigger food and drink. You may be on vacation, but your IBS is not. IBS triggers such as caffeine, alcohol and spicy food will still ensure your IBS flares up. It is very important to enjoy your, vacation, however do so with a touch of caution.
10. Having issued so many warning the following advice seems churlish. Have fun. There are few things in life better for the human body than happiness. Our suggestions are simply there to bear in mind, the most important suggestion is that as much as possible you relax and have the time of your life.
Please note: All blogs and IBS Health articles have been written by IBS sufferers for fellow IBS sufferers.
We respect and appreciate all other opinions and write with the sole aim of providing empathy, support and ideas for others who live IBS everyday. We do not write cause offence.
While we have the shop and other sites, we have always ensured that we are ferociously independent and that our sites are free to use.