Nothing can take the fun out a vacation faster than suffering from constipation. If it happens to you, rest assured, you are not alone. Bowel movement issues are very common among travelers so it’s important to follow these five healthy travel tips to keep you regular.
Change Is NOT Always Good
Preparing for a trip and traveling, even if it is on vacation, can be very stressful. If you turn to junk food, skip meals or are feeling stressed, this can cause irregularities in your bowel movements. Often, using unfamiliar bathrooms can induce anxiety. Just not following your normal routine can contribute to constipation.
Maintaining healthy eating and drinking habits while preparing for and traveling can help you avoid traveler’s constipation. Find a food vendor that offers fresh salads, fruit and high fiber cereals or breads and skip the fast food restaurants in the terminal or on the road. If possible, pack your own healthy high fiber snacks to munch on during the flight, train ride or car trip.
1. Dehydration Nation
The TSA won’t let you bring water through security and buying airport bottled water is expensive, so you might be tempted to let yourself get a little dehydrated. If you are road tripping you might drink less to avoid frequent bathroom stops; not a good thing!
Drink plenty of clear fluids, namely water, and save the alcoholic or sugary sodas and cocktails for a special occasion. You may also want to limit your caffeine intake for the duration of your trip, too. It can act as a diuretic and you need adequate water in your bowels to form normal stools and pass them regularly.
Bring an empty water bottle to the airport and fill it at a drinking fountain once you clear security. Sip, don’t gulp, throughout the day and plan accordingly for adequate bathroom breaks.
Related: Dangers of Laxative Overuse for Chronic Constipation
2. Bacteria Is Your Friend
If you are not regularly taking a probiotic supplement you should be. These gut-healthy bacteria are essential for good digestion. Before your trip, start taking them and pack them in your suitcase. They will keep your immune system strong and aid in digestion so you don’t end up with stubborn bowels that won’t move.
Try to include foods on your trip that are rich in probiotics like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi (a spicy fermented cabbage) too.
3. You Got To Move It Move It!
The last thing on your mind when traveling might be exercise. Who has time for that? You do!
You don’t have to run several miles or go to a boot camp class, just choose stairs instead of the elevator once in awhile, walk to and from dinner, plan an activity that incorporates some walking, hiking or just hit the hotel pool for a few laps. Mild to moderate exercise keeps your metabolism revved up and increased circulation will wake up sluggish bowels while encouraging you to drink plenty of fluids.
4. Don’t Sugar Coat It
Your bowels do not need a layer of sugar when they are already a bit stressed from travel. Cut back on the sweet stuff and you’ll most likely keep them humming along just fine. It’s easy to over-indulge while on vacation and airport sweets might be tempting, before you board a morning flight, but resist the temptation!
Pack your own healthy snacks like almonds, a clementine, apple or snack-sized package of whole grain crackers and save the sugar indulgence for the end of your trip.
5. Go Green
Green foods like broccoli, lettuce, peas, asparagus and spinach will make for a much more pleasant trip. Having a few salads with fresh fruits and vegetables will help you stay hydrated and full of fiber; essential for avoiding constipation.
Try eating a small salad or munching on some raw broccoli before meals to ensure you get in your greens. You’ll stay regular and slimmer on your trip.
Following these healthy travel tips can be the difference between the best trip ever, or an unpleasant journey marred by the pain and bloating of constipation.