Travel Tummy Troubles: Tips to prevent or solve them

Travelling is a time to keep an eye on your diet and other routines more than ever. Travel disrupts many of the body’s natural rhythms, including digestion. Time changes, altered eating schedules, and inadequate sleep are all likely culprits, especially in those who already have sensitive guts.

Travel can be a hectic time. You may have your regular healthy diet available. You may eat out more and eat various foods in new locations, including more processed foods. It is usual to overeat in such a setting, putting more stress on your digestive system than at home. So, when you pack your bags, keep digestive health in mind. Tummy problems like diarrhoea, constipation, and indigestion are all-too-common travel companions.

Travelling makes you more susceptible to gastrointestinal issues. You may experience diarrhoea (including traveller’s diarrhoea), constipation, heartburn, nausea, bloating, or gas. No one wants to take time out from a trip to deal with digestive issues. Click Pharmacy highlights the following expert tips to keep your gut healthy while travelling:

Carry medications

Over-the-counter medications, such as antacids, may help with heartburn. For symptomatic management of mild traveller’s diarrhoea, always carry digestion relief medications having bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol), Ciprofloxacin, Mebeverine, and loperamide (Imodium). These medications help reduce the frequency of loose, watery stools and ease cramping.

Regarding prescription medications, it’s essential to see a healthcare provider before taking antibiotics or other medicines for GI symptoms. Always see a healthcare provider if you have more than mild to moderate or any alarming symptoms, like fevers, bloody diarrhoea, bloody vomiting, severe abdominal pain, or intractable GI symptoms.

A well-absorbed magnesium bisglycinate chelate supplement may improve jet lag and promote relaxation and sleep while travelling.

Eat plenty of fibre

To keep your bowel movements regular, eat as much fibre as you usually eat at home. The best sources of fibre are vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans. Try to stick to cooked vegetables and peeled fruits to lessen the risk of foodborne illness. Eat only foods that are cooked and served hot; avoid foods from a buffet. Eat raw fruits and vegetables only after washing or peeling them in clean water.

The cause of constipation while travelling is the lack of adequate fibre. Minimise the intake of processed foods. Pack healthy snacks to eat or buy from local groceries. Try to ensure you take as many whole-plant foods (which are rich in fibre) as possible, even if you’re eating out. 

High-fibre foods, in combination with dehydration, may cause an increase in abdominal bloating and constipation. It’s essential to maintain a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables. Doctors recommend having 1-2 servings of vegetables and 1-2 servings of fruit daily. Since it is not always easy to get healthy snacks on the go, so plan ahead.

Avoid overeating and foods that are high in fat

Vacations are for sure fun. However, avoid excessive intake of unhealthy desserts and snacks like candy, cheese, pizza, processed foods, chips and ice cream if you can. They can make your constipation worse.

Sometimes, it is not possible to maintain your dietary routine on vacation. You might eat less healthy foods and eat more on the run while travelling. But realise that it may also cause constipation. In addition, resist the temptation to overeat. Overeating stretches the stomach, and people who overfill their stomachs are 10 times more prone to emergency medical attention for food obstruction.

Drink plenty of water

Dehydration is a significant cause of constipation. Therefore, drinking plenty of water while you travel is a must. But find out ahead of time if this water is safe to drink. Stick to bottled water if you have a concern about its purity. Avoid ice cubes where the water is impure and may come from unclean water. Contaminated water will disrupt the gut. 

Drinking water may not completely relieve constipation if you suffer from it. Yet, it may at least soften the stool, making it easier to pass. Drinking water, clear liquids, or fruit juice will keep you hydrated. Avoid taking a lot of alcoholic or caffeinated beverages as they also dehydrate you. Push yourself to drink more water than you usually do because travelling alone can increase dehydration.

Choose beverages wisely

Overconsumption of drinks containing a lot of sugar, caffeine, or alcohol may irritate the GI system, especially in people with sensitive stomachs. Coffee and alcohol may speed up digestion, and there is minimal time for the intestines to absorb water, causing diarrhoea-like stools.

Stay physically active

Exercise and move your body to keep your digestive system moving. Schedule stretch breaks if you are in a car, bus, train, or plane for an extended period. Hike, bike or swim when you can. 

Wash your hands

Always wash your hands thoroughly with hand wash and water before eating to prevent spreading germs and illness. Wash your hands this way:

  • Use warm or cold water to wet your hands.
  • Apply liquid or bar soap and lather well.
  • Rub your hands for 20 seconds. Scrub all hand parts, like the back, between your fingers and under the fingernails.
  • Wash your wrists.
  • Then rinse.
  • Always take a clean towel to dry your hands.
  • Finally, use the towel to turn off the tap.

Prefer washing your hands with soap and warm water, particularly before eating and after using the bathroom. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser as a backup.

Go to the toilet

Having a bowel movement in a public washroom or shared hotel room is reasonably uncomfortable. Still, don’t ignore your urge to go to the restroom. Doing so may cause irregular bowel movements and GI discomfort. Ignoring the need to go can lead to constipation. A few days of constipation may lead to diarrhoea when the urge finally strikes.

Get groceries from local stores

To give your stomach a rest from the restaurant and processed foods, buy fresh food from nearby markets and cook at your resort or hotel. It is a great way to learn a different culture, save money, and take a break from dining in restaurants.

Eating at home is always better for digestive health than eating out. You are prone to food poisoning while travelling compared to eating at home. Food poisoning can lead to GI misery in the short term. It can cause post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that can last a lifetime.

Traveller’s diarrhoea is another common illness after eating food or drinking water contaminated with viruses, bacteria, or parasites. Avoid eating street food, stick to bottled water, and ensure your food is cooked.


When you’re travelling, it is no wonder you may have digestive system problems like constipation or diarrhoea. Maintaining regularity and avoiding constipation and diarrhoea while travelling is possible by sticking to your usual eating and drinking habit as much as possible. 

Avoiding contaminated food and water and practising good hygiene by washing hands often are the best ways to prevent travellers’ diarrhoea. Avoid eating street food, stick to bottled water, and ensure your food is cooked correctly. 

Richard Maxwell

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