Tips for Traveling with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

For most people, traveling can be stressful, but for those who live with irritable bowel syndrome, it can be a nightmare. However, traveling with irritable bowel syndrome is possible, with a little planning. Here are some tips for keeping your symptoms in check while traveling with irritable bowel syndrome.

For trips in the car, take time to plan out the route before you leave. Familiarize yourself with exits, rest stops, and gas stations. Know the distance between stops, and give yourself extra travel time in case you need to have frequent stops. Many people with irritable bowel syndrome prefer car travel over air travel, because they feel they have more control over the schedule and ability to just stop when needed.

If you must fly, make sure you allow more time to get to the airport. On the plane, sit in an aisle seat nearest to the restroom, for quick access. Flying, especially during long flights, can be a difficult time for someone with irritable bowel syndrome.

While you are traveling, make sure you have both anti-diarrheal and anti-flatulants to combat symptoms, if they flare up. Also, make sure you have your own stash of water and snacks that you know you can eat without trouble, so you won’t be forced into eating trigger foods out of lack of option. If you are staying in a hotel, make sure there are refrigerators in the room so you can bring and store some of your own food.

If you are traveling to a place that speaks another language, it’s a good idea to learn some of the language. You will want to be able to ask about food ingredients, request dishes without certain items, or ask where a bathroom is.

It may be tempting to experiment with new foods, but that may not be the wisest choice for people with irritable bowel syndrome. Avoid food or drinks that you know trigger your symptoms. Caffeine and liquor can also worsen symptoms, so go easy on those as well.

If you use any medications, vitamins, or supplements to regulate your irritable bowel symptoms, make sure you bring them all with you. Bring enough to store in two separate containers, so you can leave one at your hotel, and have one with you at all times. Also, make sure you have your physician information, and any documentation you may need in order to fill a prescription in a foreign place.

Traveling with irritable bowel syndrome may take a little effort, but it is possible. Double check with your doctor if you need the extra reassurance, pack your bags (don’t forget the Gas-x) and have fun!