There’s nothing like summer vacation: It’s a time to experience new cultures, gain perspectives, try different foods, and embarrass your significant other and/or kids with lurid vacation outfits.
We love (surprise) diving into exotic cuisines while we’re on vacation, and therefore understand the logistical hurdles of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and following a low FODMAP diet away from home. You won’t be travelling with your low FODMAP pantry, so you’ll need to be ready to both prevent and/or handle IBS symptoms if they emerge.
These tips on managing IBS on vacation will help keep GI symptoms in-check as your activity, diet, and environment changes during your travels.
Always have a water bottle on hand while traveling. Hydration is important to keep energy levels high and the digestive system clean. If you’re flying, you can’t rely on the airlines to provide adequate hydration needed for long flight; try to get 8 ounces of water in you for every hour you’re in the air.
Pack your favorite low FODMAP bars, low FODMAP chips, and other low FODMAP snacks to keep you satiated and fueled while traveling from one tourist attraction to the next. This is especially important if you’re road tripping – roller-grill hot dogs and gas station nachos aren’t wise choices if you have IBS.
Check out the areas you’ll be staying at and visiting in advance to see what food options are available. Knowing your options ahead of time can help you create a low FODMAP game plan for the day, so you’re armed with the appropriate snacks and drinks.
Don’t be afraid of enjoying local delicacies, but be smart and conservative with your diet choices if you’re unsure.
Food poisoning is a real issue for all travelers, not just those with IBS.
It can lead to IBS flare-ups, though this can be prevented by taking a probiotic a few days before you begin traveling. Even if it’s not something you’d normally consider, probiotics significantly reduce the chances of traveler’s diarrhea and neutralize IBS symptoms.
You don’t want to be caught with your pants down when IBS symptoms strike. Especially for those traveling by car, route restrooms and gas stations along your journey so you’re ready for frequent lavatory stops.
Add restroom-finding phone apps like WhereToWee or SitOrSquat (great names) to help; remove the Angry Birds app if you need phone memory. No one plays that anymore.