You planned your trip months before and now you finally arrived at your destination. You simply can’t wait to relax and have fun, leaving all your stress and worries behind. After a few meals, you feel that uncomfortable feeling starting to bubble in your stomach. Ormaybeyou feel nauseated, constipated, or full even if the last meal you hadbeenalready hours ago. What gives?
Such a scenario is never new to travelers who simply want to have fun on a vacation. You can’t wait to try all the local foods and delicacies, only for your tummy to screw your trip. But why does this happen on your only vacation of the year?
Why We Often Face Stomach Issues When Traveling
There can be many reasons why your tummy acts up whenever you are on a trip. Most of the time, it has something to do with what we are accustomed to. Some people experience anxiety when traveling, with gut-related symptoms being a common sign.
When we travel, we are doing things differently. We jump on another routine that our body is not used to. This can include eating meals and sleeping at different times of the day.
The fact that you are also trying new foods can be the cause of your upset stomach. When your gut is not accustomed to certain foods, it may take time before it gets used to the new food combinations. As your GI tract adjusts, your bowel movements can also change.
Add the fact that most people get dehydrated when traveling. Those who sit long hours at a flight or on a road trip don’t drink much, leading to constipation. Don’t forget that infection can also lead to a tummy ache.
What Can You Do to Avoid Gut Issues While Traveling?
The good news is, you can take extra precautionary measures when traveling to avoid stomach problems. You can start by assessing if this only happens when you travel or when you only eat certain foods. You should also be aware of the food you are allergic to, so you can avoid getting into a medical emergency while on a trip.
The first thing you can do is to ensure you drink lots of fluid when you’re traveling. It is best to skip the tap water in places you are visiting. This is especially true when visiting developing countries.
Be careful about what you drink. It is advisable to drink bottled water instead of a local restaurant’s service water. Also, consider skipping the ice cubes. Most people simply use their tap water in making ice.
If you will be on the road most of the time, avoid drinks that can irritate your gastrointestinal system. Avoid overconsumption of alcohol, caffeine, and sugar. Alcohol and caffeine can accelerate digestion which can lead to diarrhea.
Be Careful When Trying Out New Food
Many travelers can’t get enough of how tasty and different local cuisines are. When in the Philippines, you might be tempted to eat lots of green mangoes with bagoong (shrimp paste), chicharon (deep-fried pork rinds), or their famous balut (a fertilized developing egg embryo).
But no matter how delicious new foods can be, you should be careful when trying out new dishes. Avoid mixing all kinds of food on your first try. Avoid the temptation to overeat as well. What you can do instead is try them in small amounts then buy them in packages and take some home. Bagoong, for instance, has different types and flavors. There’s a sweet and spicy flavored paste-like bagoong that comes in a small jar, and there’s a liquid-type bagoong with anchovies that comes in a bottle.
Practice mindful eating and chew your food properly. Do portion control and fill up on fiber. Ask the ingredients of a new dish to make sure you are not allergic to any ingredients used.
If you have a sensitive stomach, stick to food items you are used to eating. Go for peeled fruits and cooked vegetables. Avoid raw and uncooked foods as well as street foods.
Your hands can get a hold of numerous germs and bacteria. So, make sure you always practice proper handwashing, especially before and after eating. Use running soap and water to clean your hands and rinse well.
When closing the tap, it is best not to use your clean hands. Opt for a clean paper towel instead. Avoid touching anything else before eating to avoid decontamination.
If you have prescription medications, make sure to let your attending physician know about your plans to travel. He can prescribe you the right medications in case you need them. Make sure to list your doctor to your emergency contacts so you can easily reach out to them if you encounter any medical problems.
Never take any antibiotics or GI medications without your doctor’s advice. But it is a good idea to bring common over-the-counter medications such asloperamideand antacids as a backup.
It is easy to let loose when you’re out on fun travel. But remember that gut issues are never nice to have when all you want to do is enjoy your trip. Keep these tips in mind to avoid traveler’s gut issues and you can better enjoy your trip.