How to Avoid ‘Travel Gut’ While Vacationing Abroad

woman-eating-ice-cream
Image: courtesy of Omo

Nothing will ruin a vacation like a travel-born stomach illness; here's how to prevent it from happening to you.

If you love to travel and experience new cultures, chances are you look forward to tasting the local cuisine just as much as you love visiting tourist attractions. Whether you’re thinking about turning up the heat in the Caribbean or experiencing a bustling international city, delicious food is a major part of making a vacation memorable and the last thing you want to worry about is dealing with digestive issues, especially when you’re abroad. 

As exciting as authentic dishes can be, you run the risk of bloating, gas, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and disrupting your gut bacteria which can lead to more severe long-term symptoms and wreak havoc on your plans. In addition to doing your research about the safest options for water and street food, there are some simple practices you can follow to keep stomach issues at bay. 

Below we’ve outlined 5 easy steps you can take to avoid travel gut or minimize symptoms on your upcoming travels.

Maintain a routine. 

A change in eating habits, drinking, and sleep habits can quite literally confuse our digestive system. If you usually wake up at a certain time, workout in the morning, or drink tea before bed, try continuing some of these during your vacation.

Fiber is (still) your friend on vacation and stay hydrated! 

If you anticipate hunger before boarding your flight or while you’re in the air, pack some snack options such as protein bars or cut fruit to munch on. Secondly, once you land, have your first meal in conjunction with a normal meal time at home. Most importantly, hydrate during and after your flight. The air on a plane takes moisture out of your cells, making it even harder for a bowel movement to happen. Also, if you’re planning to enjoy some cocktails, aim to finish a glass of water after each drink, especially if you’re visiting a warm-weather destination and run the risk of dehydration. 

Stay active.

While vacation is a great time to get some much-needed rest and relaxation, doing light to moderate activity every day can help keep your digestive muscles activated and moving. So if your only mission for the day was to soak up some sun on the beach, add a half-hour walk across the coastline or add one activity per day that gets you moving before you go into full chill-mode. 

Keep a health kit in your carry-on. 

Preventative natural digestive enzymes , like Arrae’s clinically-proven Bloat alchemy capsules, can make a world of a difference. This formula features a blend of 5 herbs and a fruit-based digestive enzyme that will help you feel relief quickly if symptoms arise. These pills will help kick your sluggish digestive system into gear so you can get back to enjoying your vacation. If a severe situation does arrive, come prepared with some over-the-counter basics including Pepto Bismol, Immodiam, and oral rehydration salts that can hold you over until you see a doctor. 

Unplug and destress. 

We can get so caught up in following an itinerary on a trip, it can actually increase our stress levels. When our bodies experience stress, our “rest and digest” system shuts off, and we prepare for “fight or flight”. The intestinal muscles often cramp up, as less of our energy is dedicated to passing waste along, making it harder for us to go to the bathroom. Although you may be tempted to maintain a tight schedule while fighting jet lag and overall exhaustion, it’s important to listen to your body. After all, you are on vacation! Slowing your mind down with meditation, reading, stretching, or breathing exercises, and letting your digestive system do the rest of the work can be extremely beneficial.

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