Whether you’re hopping on a plane or jumping into your car for a road trip, digestive issues can put a damper on your travel plans. Even people who don’t have trouble with regular bowel movements may find that they become constipated when they go on holiday due to the change in routine.
Travel constipation can start while you’re in transit; taking a long road trip or plane journey often means limited access to toilets. Once you’re settled into your hotel, it’s still not quite home, so your bowels might be feeling shy. Then there are dietary changes which play a big role as you’re probably eating different foods than you do at home.
And let’s not forget sleep disruptions, especially if you’ve changed time zones or ended up on a lumpy pull-out sofa or in tent – it can all impact your ability to go regularly.
Fortunately, avoiding travel constipation isn’t as complex as you might think. There are a few simple ways to prevent it or get your bowels moving again if it does strike.
One week before you travel
Start taking the supplements in our Travel Survival Kit – watch my video to hear more about how I put together these key supplements to help prevent and manage digestive and gut symptoms that may be triggered by travelling, eating later, and drinking more than usual.
I explain how the combination of supplements in the Kit help to ensure your gut is in great shape, and good to go on holiday. I also share tips on what to do if you do come down with a bug while you’re away.
If you’re travelling by car, add movement breaks into your itinerary. This can be as simple as planning five minute stops every hour or two to walk around or doing some light stretching by your car.
If you’re travelling by air, set reminders to stand up and walk down the aisle. This can help keep your digestive tract from becoming stagnant. You can also give your digestive system some extra love by taking a Digestive Enzymes tablet before meals to help break down food and reduce uncomfortable bloating.
For a variety of reasons, many people try to limit their toilet breaks while in transit to their final destination. Some might be averse to on-board/motorway toilets, while others may try to take as few rest stops as possible during their drive, keen to get to their destination quickly. Others may even avoid drinking water to, again, limit how many times they need to use the toilet.
In any case, waiting too long to use the toilet and not drinking enough water can cause your digestive tract to become backed up. Additionally, holding it in and dehydration can harden your stools, making them uncomfortable to pass. On a similar note, holding in your wee for an extended period may increase your risk for urinary infections, including your kidneys and bladder.
Be mindful of how much (or how little) you are drinking. It can be beneficial to plan your water intake. For example, you may want to take occasional sips from your water bottle during travel and then be more intentional about drinking greater amounts once you arrive at your destination.
While on holiday
Eat plenty of fibre – it helps add bulk to your stool, allowing for easier passage through the digestive tract. Dietary fibre is typically found in the likes of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. If you’re not eating enough fibre, it can slow down your bowel movements, and in some cases, make them hard and uncomfortable to pass. Set yourself up for success by packing snacks that will boost your fibre intake.
Travel-friendly fibre-rich snack options include:
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dried fruit
- Roasted chickpeas
- Our ‘Fibre rich Flax-jacks’ – get the recipe here
When dining out, make an effort to include a serving of fruits and vegetables in your choices – always eat fruit before a meal, not afterwards. Fruit shouldn’t be dessert, as the fructose in it can cause excessive crampy gas. Fruit shouldn’t be dessert, as the fructose in it can cause excessive crampy gas – and vegetables in your choices. It’s always fun to try different foods and enjoy treats while on holiday, but don’t leave your healthy diet at home. Eating plenty of fibre from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables will help keep your gut bacteria happy, which is key to a happy holiday, too.
No-one wants to start a holiday trying to cope with constipation, so plan properly and don’t let it ruin your holiday.
If you have any questions about a digestive and gut health issue, please get touch.