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Ultimate Guide for Traveling with IBS

Before being diagnosed with IBS and SIBO, I wouldn’t think twice about what I could or couldn’t eat on a trip. I would have every little sweet treat my heart desired; having an entire culinary experience without second thoughts. Even after I was diagnosed with IBS, I would throw all caution to the wind when I was traveling.

Besides, it doesn't count if I'm on vacation, right?!

Traveling domestically and internationally over the last year, I realized that my gut issues wouldn’t just magically “disappear” when I left my zip code. In fact, about three days into a trip, I would be absolutely miserable because I would be so constipated. It hurt to eat just about anything, and my hunger cues were all over the place.

I swear, having IBS took traveler’s constipation to a whole new level I didn’t even know was possible.

I got to a point where I realized that the pain I was enduring, was not worth it. But how do I go about managing my symptoms while traveling? Besides, it’s not like I wanted to remain gluten-dairy-corn-everything-that-gives-me-joy free during a vacation? That felt criminal.

So with the experiences I’ve had, and now living in Brazil for a few months, I have created a new guide on how to travel while on your gut health journey. Because, it’s not an enjoyable trip if your IBS is flaring up the whole time!

Before the Trip

An IBS flare-up-free trip begins before you even take off. One tip that’s worked really well for me is a couple days before your travels, avoid high FODMAP or super fibrous foods.

Eating foods like broccoli, brussel sprouts, beans and legumes before your flight are more likely to induce trapped gas and bloating. This will be amplified at a higher altitude.

If you’re like me and struggle with SIBO or feel pretty bloated and gassy after a meal, this will feel so much worse when you are on a plane up in the air. So laying off these foods before a flight can help make the first part of your trip more enjoyable.

I will also pack my own snacks for my travel days. I feel like it’s not worth it to eat highly processed, or triggering foods on days of travel. Even on the flight, you may be served food that you are sensitive too. It’s always better to have your go-to snacks on hand so you’re feeling your best before you even arrive! My go to’s are CHOMP Beef Sticks and protein bars.

Hydration Packets

Before I even pack my suitcase, I make sure to run to the store to grab hydration packs (I love this brand!). I take these on the flight off and as soon as I land. I easily add the hydration packs to my reusable water bottle that I can fill up at filtered water stations in the airport or at my destination.

Since dehydration can be a major reason why we experience traveler’s constipation, I have found these extremely helpful to actually hydrate my body. Water alone doesn’t give you the proper minerals to be hydrated, so we need to add them!

Another thing I started to travel with were chia seeds. Packed in a little ziploc bag, I could also add them to filtered water as a quick hack to go to the bathroom once I arrived. Since trying this hack a year ago, I haven’t looked back!


If you want to be extra cautious, packing laxatives can also be really helpful. I am typically against them since I have had horrible experiences with senna leaf laxatives, but truth be told, if you need it, you need it. Especially when you are on a week or two vacation. Sometimes you just need the quick fix to get you moving, so you’re not miserable your entire trip.

If you are sensitive to laxatives like me, try bringing Smooth Move Tea, which is super gentle. Just make sure you take it at night!

I also bring my current supplement regime, including any digestive enzymes, probiotics, and other supplements that I may be taking at the time. Packed in this travel pill organizer, I may not take them everyday, but it makes me feel better than if I were to leave them all behind.

My non-negotiable supplements when I travel would definitely be digestive enzymes, charcoal capsules (don’t take every day because can lead to constipation!) and magnesium citrate.

Set Your Non-Negotiables Before you Leave

This may be one of the most important tip before you travel: Set your non-negotiables.

These few, non-negotiable habits will define your whole trip! And they will look different for everyone. They will not only help you physically feel better on a trip, but mentally you won’t carry any shame or guilt from stepping outside the normal confines of your gut-healing journey.

It’s better to think through your non-negotiables before you leave for your trip, because you may not be as confident in them when traveling.

For example, if I decide my non-negotiable before the trip is “I will not consume gluten” then it will be much easier to stick to, then if I had to decide the minute a baguette was in front of me. You will feel a greater sense of control making these decisions without any external influence.

Your non-negotiables can change with each trip too, depending on the type of trip! But the point is you will incorporate habits that will bring you a sense of control over your gut health.

For me, my non-negotiables have been things like:

  • Reducing alcohol consumption

  • Having a high-protein breakfast

  • Incorporate daily movement/a walk after a meal

  • Having a side salad or greens with lunch and dinner

  • Prioritizing sleep

  • Digestive enzymes before every meal

You can also include your own, like having a greens powder; doing a quick yoga flow before bed in your hotel room; breath work in the morning; circadian walks, and more.

During the Trip

Now, this is the moment you have been waiting for! Finally arriving at your destination and being able to relax, explore, and have fun! So during this time, stick to your non-negotiables and think about what you can add to your experience to make it even more enjoyable.

One thing I think you should prioritize each day on the trip is giving your digestive system a break. It’s working overtime trying to break down the food you are eating, and snacking almost every hour of the day doesn’t help. Although we can all argue that the food is the best part of traveling, giving your digestive system at least ninety minutes until you consume your next lil' treat can do wonders for your digestive health.

Avoid Overconsumption

Alongside this, I think it’s important to talk about how to avoid overconsumption and focus on adding, not taking away, from your trip.

I am forever guilty of eating until I am absolutely stuffed and have to be rolled out of a restaurant. Or, even splitting the bottle of wine with my partner instead of ordering a glass “Because it’s cheaper!” (shoutout to Portugal when we did this at every meal lol).

Overconsumption in any way - whether that is food or alcohol - can have negative effects on your physical and mental wellbeing. You think it won’t matter as much, that “It doesn’t count, I’m on vacation!”. But, when you are on your health journey and you’re not even used to consuming overly-processed and highly refined foods, you’re going to feel the effects.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t feel full and happy and maybe a little wine-drunk after a meal. But, remind yourself that you don’t need to feel that way every day on the trip. Your body will thank you if you find ways to balance those indulgent-meals with fiber-rich ones.

Focusing 2/3 meals with fiber-rich, whole foods, and eating in a way that helps with blood sugar management has helped me immensely while traveling.

Also, mindful eating! I find it is so much easier to practice mindful eating when traveling because just the change in scenery alone allows you to slow down: Focusing on the food and the conversation.

Don’t worry, be happy ☺️

Sometimes, trips can be stressful. Especially if you’re packing a lot of activities into a short period of time, or hopping from city to city. If you feel like you are getting stressed out, make sure to take the time for you.

You can go on short walk, or find a quiet place to practice some breath work. Whatever it is that relaxes your nervous system, find pockets for that on your vacation. Besides, it should be fun and adventurous! Not a stressful situation.

Should you avoid your trigger foods while traveling?

Navigating trigger foods while traveling with IBS can be a nuanced decision. For some, avoiding known triggers is a non-negotiable for feeling their best, especially in the early stages of healing. On the other hand, embracing trigger foods during trips can bring joy, particularly when exploring new cuisines.

The stress of constantly checking for your trigger foods can be alleviated by incorporating these foods consciously; especially when abroad where ingredient quality may be better.

For those with intolerances rather than life-threatening allergies (like celiac disease), trying your trigger foods, especially while traveling internationally, might be worth considering.

While I hardly ever stick to my trigger foods when on a trip - you can’t tell me not to have pasta while I’m in Italy - I make sure to stick to my non-negotiables. And at minimum, you should always prioritize moderation so you can prevent regrets and maintain well-being.

Like, I don't eat my trigger foods with every meal; I don’t need pizza three times a day. But, I incorporate leafy greens and veggies, while also saying yes to the ice cream. It’s all about balance, baby!

And if you do indulge for a meal or two, being mentally prepared for possible discomfort can help manage IBS symptoms. Sometimes, the meal is worth the bloat afterwards!

And if you do feel nauseous, bloated, or sick after eating, you can be equipped with the right resources to overcome it in that moment.

Hacks to Feel Better Instantly While Traveling

If you are not feeling your best or fear that an IBS flare-up is on the horizon, there are quick hacks that I love incorporating when I travel.

  • Go to a coffee shop for peppermint or ginger tea to soothe your stomach.

  • Take a light walk around the city after you eat, to help your lymphatic and digestive system.

  • Do lymphatic drainage massages, especially on your stomach at night, to help your bowel movements. For extra points, you can bring castor oil to rub on your stomach at night.

  • Try the chia seed hack or take a laxative if you feel severely constipated.

  • Be comfortable! Opt for looser-fitting clothes while traveling. My rule is if you don’t wear it at home, you won’t wear it on a trip. Go for the easy-breezy look (love a long linen dress) so you don’t feel like your jeans are suffocating your bloated belly.

After the Trip

You finally made it home and the post-trip sadness has kicked in. You may even find that your cravings are coming back because you indulged. But, you don’t have to feel crummy! It’s time to set up a little maintenance routine to get us back to feeling our best selves.

During this time, I would focus on what you can add to your diet and lifestyle to shift your body back to equilibrium. Especially if we ate foods we don’t normally eat and consumed more alcohol, we would benefit from incorporating more fiber-rich, whole and fermented foods.

Your circadian rhythm is also really important to focus on, because it helps regulate all internal systems. If you traveled internationally and are experiencing jet lag, prioritizing your wake up time and eating at the same time each day will help reset your body clock. This will help your digestive system get back to where it was!

Lastly, I like to incorporate a longer-period fast when I get back home. Doing a 16-24 hour water fast can give your body a little "reset" and is proven to help your microbiome and gut motility.


While my mantra is that “health hacks” won’t fix your chronic gut health issues, you don’t want to feel absolutely miserable on your trip. So, I do believe that a little extra help is needed to prevent a flare-up. And these quick, short-term solutions are especially needed during a short-term vacation!

I really hope this guide helped you on how to thrive on your next trip while on your gut healing journey! It may not always be easy, and sometimes, it serves as a reminder on how much more healing is ahead of us. But, travel is essential to help us experience life to the fullest! And we shouldn’t have to postpone the joys of traveling while we are healing.

Comment below what travel tips have helped your IBS!



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Welcome! If you made it here, you are probably looking for answers on where to begin your wellness journey. I'm Jessica, and I started my gut health journey over 3 years ago. As an avid foodie and wellness enthusiast, I hope to inspire you on your realistic wellness journey.

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