If you need survival tips for travelling with IBS, you’re on the right page.
Travelling as a sufferer of IBS is a scary concept. Even if you have your symptoms under control with the low fodmap diet and other techniques, keeping it up whilst travelling can be hardwork, but it’s certainly not impossible.
Preparing for any short or long term trips you have coming up, when you have IBS is essential for keeping your stomach happy. At least it is for me! Making sure you have everything you need for when you’re away and when you’re on an aeroplane, train or in the car, will take any travel stress away and ensure you have an IBS free (ish) holiday or trip.
Before you leave
#1 It helps to pack baby wipes, toilet paper and all your medications-write a list to make sure you don’t forget anything!
#2 Take an emergency bag that contains your essential IBS relief items.
#3 Pack safe dehydrated foods that are on your personal low fodmap list for worry free snacking.
#4 Pack a heat pad for sore, bloated tummies if your IBS flares up unexpectedly.
#5 Take some calming, digestive essential oils with you such as peppermint, lavender and lemon.
#6 Pack a box of peppermint tea with you. You will be so happy you did if you’re feeling uncomfortable and a bit bleurgh.
#7 Pack gluten free oatcakes for snacking.
#8 If you love to make easy low fodmap snacks for travelling, then IBS friendly snack bars are easy.
#9 Chia seed pudding is a great meal or snack. If you’re going to have a mini fridge, prepare some chia seeds in a cup and top with water the night before. Simple and easy to plan for emergency fodmap friendly meals.
#10 Wear comfortable unrestrictive clothing for when travelling with IBS symptoms, even with low fodmap food, you can get bloated unexpectedly.
#11 Download Google apps map. This will help you find fodmap friendly restaurant options on your travels and stop you from making bad food decisions when you’re starving.
#12 Stock up on peppermint oil capsules, they are a natural digestion aid and will help any stomach cramps that might occur if your do come into contact with Fodmap.
#13 Before you go it would be a good idea to start taking probiotics. They will help build up the good bacteria in your gut and help your stomach prepare for non-fodmap friendly ingredients that may slip into meals.
#14 Digestive enzymes are a great way to relive IBS symptoms when eating new foods. They will give your gut a helping hand at breaking down food and will help your symptoms if you don’t stick to an entirely low fodmap plan.
#15 If flying, pre-book your seats so you’re near a toilet. Same goes for trains.
#16 Pre-booked meals on flights are usually full of high fodmap, rubbish food. Long haul flights usually give you a raw food, lacto arvo option. Go for this if you can’t take your own on board.
#17 The safest way to travel if you have IBS is to drive and plan your own route so you can plan toilet stops. If this is not possible, take a portable toilet or change of clothes, just in case of an accident!
#18 Before you leave home make a list of restaurants you want to visit and check out their menu’s. Most larger fodmap friendly restaurants have their full menu online and you can easily choose to substitute ingredients.
#19 Download your handy fodmap guide to your phone so you have it handy to remind you what is low or high fodmap.
#20 Where possible, try and book your vacation accomodation with a kitchen or a BBQ. This means you can go shopping for safe fodmap foods like non marinaded meats, fish and vegetables.
#21 Make a special request to exclude high fodmap foods a at hotels for any set meals you will be eating, it makes everyones life easier if you prepare them.
#22 Dowload an offline translation tool for sticky situations in supermarkets or cafes and restaurants.
Fodmap camping and adventure holidays.
#23 Camping and adventure holidays generally mean you won’t have access to cooking facillities, and will be relying on others to provide you with meals. Following fodmap whilst camping is easy if you think ahead and take snacks like Dehydrated low fodmap fruit and vegetables.
#24 Customised camping or adventure day trips will usually ask for any special dietary requirements for any set meals you wil receive. Make sure you contact them before your trip.
#25 Keep up your energy levels with these yummy low fodmap chocolate chip scones.
#26 Avoid a bloated painful stomach by saying no to coconut water. As much as they’re a refreshing hydrating drink at the beach, they’re also high fodmap and more than 100ml will most likely set your stomach off.
#27 Wear a sarong to cover up and make you feel a bit better if you do have a bloated stomach.
#28 Drink plenty of water, your stomach needs hydration and will be more prone to ibs flare ups if you don’t hydrate it.
#29 Choose hotels based on if they have a pool or not so you know how long it takes to run to a toilet. Easier than being on a remote beach!
#30 Welcome drinks are usually sugary and generally not fodmap friendly options just say ‘No thanks’. If you email the hotel before they will usually cater for your specific needs, so you can enjoy your drink.
#31 Watch those nuts and bar snacks! Alot of them contain gluten or garlic and onion powder.
#32 Instead opt for corn nachos with no dip.
#33 If there is no menu online and it is just a local place like cafe’s in Vietnam, or trattoria’s in italy, then just pop in and check during the day before you eat.
#34 When booking restaurants. Make the table reservation yourself and tell them your low fodmap dietary requirements.
#35 Make sure you make a note of how to say ‘ no garlic/onion/dairy’ in the language(s) of the countries you will be visiting.
Join my Facebook group to have first access to freebies like Fodmap Travel translation cards!
#36 As much as you want to try the local cuisine, you will risk ruining your holiday. If you want to try new food, make sure it really is fodmap free first.
Look after yourself
#37 Exercise! Just because you’re on holiday doesn’t mean you have to stop moving. These yoga poses are great for combatting slow digestion and a bloated tummy.
#38 If you are going to work out, make sure it’s before 10am and after 3pm when the sun is strongest. You don’t want IBS and sun stroke.
#39 If you’re a UK citizen make sure you get an EHIC card before you set off. If you do need to see a doctor and get IBS prescriptions, then this will help you get a refund on any fees.
#40 Meditate and relax! You’re on holiday, and stress increases anxiety, so try and overcome it with breathing and taking time out.
No matter where your fodmap traveller self ends up, if you need a filling breakfast these options will keep your IBS suffering stomach under control.
#41 Poached and boiled eggs are served in most hotels and restaurants and are very low fodmap. These can be your gotto fodmap friendly option if there is nothing else.(get link)
#42 If you have your own kitchen, go to the local market and grab some vegetables and eggs to make these easy breakfast concoctions.
#43 Stick to meat and vegetable omelettes, but make sure they omit the garlic and onion, and request to be cooked in oil rather than butter.
#44 Don’t miss out on fancy brunches! You could try eggs florentine. Request gluten free bread or sour dough which is a great fodmap traveller breakfast option.
#45 If all else fails ask for dairy free scrambled eggs.
#46 If your hotel has a breakfast buffet, fill up on meat, vegetables, bacon and fresh fruit.
#47 Low fodmap breakfast bowls and smoothies, filled with fresh low fodmap fruit topped with low fodmap oats and tummy friendly nuts is an easy and customisable option for fodmap friendly breakfasts abroad.
Lunch when travelling low fodmap
#48 Always eat regularly when you are sight seeing, it’s easy to overlook lunch and you end up starving and without fodmap friendly meal options.
#49 Make lunch your smallest meal, this takes away some of the meal decision making whilst you’re busy.
#50 Supermaket deli’s, especially in Europe are great for meat and fruit for a picnic style lunch. Some even do gluten free bread!
Dinner for when you are eating low fodmap on holiday
#51 Salads with a no garlic dressing are your easy fodmap friendly meal option, perfect if you need a stress free evening.
#52 grilled or fried meat is a safe option, but if you are vegetarian or vegan stick to tempeh or tofu, just make sure it’s not marinaded in anything.
#53 Street food in some countries is made in front of you, this is the perfect dinner option as nothing is pre-prepared and you can easily translate your non safe fodmap options to the chef.
#54 If you really can’t eat anything ask them for some boiled vegetables, rice and grilled meat or vegetarian option.
Drinks to enjoy whilst travelling with IBS
#55 Order dairy free alternatives for your drinks such as almond milk or soya milk. Lots of places in larger tourist spots offer this option for free.
#56 Don’t over do it on the caffeine. Where possible, go for decaf so you don’t aggravate your stomach.
#57 When it comes to alcohol limit to one glass of wine if that. Alcohol with added sweeteners are high fodmap and will cause you tummy turmoil when travelling on a low fodmap diet. If you’re at a cocktail bar choose simple cocktails that contain spirits like gin, vodka, tonic and soda waters.
#58 If you need something refreshing but low fodmap, you could order a green juice with any of these ingredients.
Worst case scenario food for travelling on the low fodmap diet:
If you’re really starving these dishes are easy to select without much thinking and won’t give you bloating, constaipation or gas ( if cooked well!)
#59 Ask for cheap boiled white rice, rice noodles or take some rice cakes with you.
#60 Potato wedges, Potato Fries with salt and pepper
#61 Plain chicken or fish
#62 Fried tofu and tempeh.
Fodmap friendly travel for IBS can be difficult, but using all these tips you will be able to keep it up and enjoy having a bloat and pain-free tum.