Travelling can be fun but also stressful. Are you worried about your digestive system while travelling? You don't have to worry anymore! There are some ways to keep your stomach from getting upset.
Find out in this article how to protect yourself against an upset stomach when travelling!
You can call it as you prefer because it is not a subject people like to talk about, but we are human beings, and while travelling, we all have experienced these kinds of problems.
It can be digestive issues or an upset stomach like bloatation (I have this one a lot because I suffer from IBS: irritable bowel syndrome), cramps, constipation, nausea or, in worst cases, the much-feared diarrhoea.
It can be caused by water, food, stress (many travellers get gastritis caused by stress) or just because we change our regular diet (of course we eat and drink more while travelling, or at least I do it).
So we have to protect ourselves from these problems because they can really ruin our travel.
That is why I wrote a list of all the things I do to protect myself and know they really work. As you can see from the picture below, I really enjoy and love eating.
Tips: As soon as you book your next adventure, make sure to buy good travel insurance in case you need to “unfortunately” delay, extend, or cancel your trip. I recommend VisitorsCoverage for trips up to 1 month and SafetyWing for longer trips. A great insurance company to cover everything about your travel.
Disclaimer: This article contains some general information about natural remedies. Before using any of the items featured here it is strongly recommended that you check that it is appropriate to do so by consulting a medical practitioner. This is particularly important if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have an existing medical condition and/or are taking prescription drugs.
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Read How to Protect Yourself Against Upset Gut while Travelling
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1. Get a Hepatitis A vaccine:
I got a hepatitis A vaccine a few years ago and am pleased I did it. I had always traveled around Europe, so I didn't think I needed it. But then I decided to go to Cape Verde, and my doctor advised me to get this vaccine.
And I was happy about this decision because while on the beautiful Sal Island, some people staying at my hotel got stomach issues, and I did not (obviously, I was sorry for them and when I told them I got a hepatitis A vaccine prior to departure, they all told me they thought it wasn't necessary).
I just experienced minor stomach cramps while they spent two days running to the bathroom.
2. A few days before departure, take some probiotics:
Taking probiotics before and while traveling will increase the good bacteria inside your bowel and help your immune system to defend yourself against the harmful bacteria that cause your stomach and bowel issues.
You can have a look at the probiotics I use here.
3. Do your research about the tap water at your destination:
In many countries is safe to drink tap water,ws like in Budapest (see pic above), so you can carry your reusable bottle with you any time to refill anywhere. But in others, it is unfortunately forbidden (unless you want to spend your holiday in your hotel room).
Do some research about it, and remember that drinking bottled water is always a good idea when you are unsure. And don't forget that ice cubes are usually made with tap water, so try to avoid them in your drinks.
4. Wash your hands very often and always before eating:
Always wash your hands with soap and do it properly, not just a quick 5 seconds (remember all those videos about how to wash your hands during the pandemic?).
Hands are always fully covered in bacteria, and while traveling, who knows what you will touch, so please never forget to wash your hands.
5. Don't open your mouth while having a shower:
If the tap water is not drinkable, make sure never to open your mouth while showering. You don't get sick only if you drink it. Even just a bit of water inside your mouth can cause side effects.
6. Don't overeat:
This one is for me. Unfortunately, while traveling, we love to eat the local food, and there are so many delicious things to try that we often think we don't have enough time to try everything.
But this can cause stomach pain and constipation.
My advice is to always share your meal with a friend (if you are not traveling solo) so you can eat different dishes without ordering 4 dishes just for yourself.
7. Don't drink too much alcohol:
Yes, I know you will be on holiday and want to have fun. I am not saying you don't have to drink at all, don't worry, but try not to exaggerate.
Know your limit, and remember always to drink a full glass of water between cocktails. This will help you save some pain in your stomach, and you won't feel too much hangover the morning after.
8. Drink a lot of water:
Being hydrated is a must to help your stomach and bowel work well. It helps you avoid constipation and eliminate all the toxins in your body.
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9. Eat plenty of fiber:
If you usually eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, don't change it while on holiday (or if you don't use to eat them, well, you should start).
Fibers help your bowel expel all the necessary, and in this way, you will avoid constipation naturally without the need to get some pills.
Kiwi is the best fruit to help your bowel work properly, I always eat one or two every morning (yes, I'm serious). It is also very rich in vitamin C, much more than oranges, which can help you avoid many cold illnesses.
10. Bring always with you some medicines:
The best way to take action against all these kinds of problems is always to have all the necessities to contrast these holiday issues with you.
If I have stomach pains, I go straight away to a supermarket, pharmacy or natural shop to buy some cold-pressed aloe vera juice (buy the 100%, not the ones with fruits that are full of sugar).
Aloe vera juice saved me years ago when I had gastritis caused by stress.
11. Don't be shy about using the toilet:
Many people have problems using hotel or restaurant toilets, which is a big problem when traveling.
If your bowel tells you it is time to go, just go. If you are sharing your room with someone, ask your travel mate to leave you alone for a while so you can have all the privacy you need.
A good solution is to play the music that will make you feel relaxed (and make a sound barrier between you and whoever is outside the toilet in case you are shy).
Also, reading something might help you a lot.
12. If the tap water is not drinkable, brush your teeth with bottled water:
In some countries, tap water is so bad that you cannot even wash your mouth.
Be careful, do your research or ask about your accommodation and don't forget it during your vacation.
13. Avoid fruits without the skin and fresh veggies:
If the tap water is so bad, keep in mind that fruits and veggies will be washed with that water.
Always choose fruits with skin that you can peel before eating, like melon, apples, oranges, kiwi, pineapple, etc. Avoid salads and fresh veggies, and eat cooked vegetables instead.
14. Drink camomile tea:
Chamomile tea is the most healing tea you can drink when you have a stomach ache. Camomile is anti-inflammatory and can help you heal your stomach.
15. Avoid meat and dairy products:
Meat and dairy are the worst food in some countries because they keep them outside in hot weather (in many markets).
So if you know to be in a country where the health and safety rules are not followed, like in the US or Europe, please avoid them and stay healthy.
16. Prepare ginger tea to calm your stomachache:
Eating or drinking ginger is the best way to calm your stomach from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other issues. Also, adding some lemon juice can be beneficial for your stomach.
Travel Tip: if you have a kitchen to use, grate some ginger, add it to 1 litre of water inside a pot, cover it with a lid and boil it for 20 mins. Switch off the stove, and leave the lid on till it gets cold. Then drink it.
17. Drink water with lemon juice before your meal:
Drinking a glass of water with lemon juice before eating can help your digestion. Lemon juice contains citric acid that can boost gastric acid secretion, the digestive fluid that the stomach produces that helps your body digest food.
Travel Tip: Do not just add a slice of lemon to your water, squeeze half lemon juice in it.
18. Apple cider vinegar can heal your heartburn:
If you suffer from heartburn, drink a glass of warm water with a spoonful of apple cider vinegar. It can make you feel better.
19. if you have diarrhea, eat boiled rice:
Boiled rice can help you a lot if you have stomachache and diarrhea. Make sure it is boiled and not fried. Just add some olive oil to it, and enjoy it.
It can help you, thanks to the high levels of potassium and magnesium in it, to heal different types of upset stomachs.
In case of the presence of toxins in your gut, rice absorbs them and helps you to expel them.
20. Bring with you Natures Aid DigestEeze Milk Thistle:
Milk Thistle is a traditional herbal medicinal product used to relieve the symptoms associated with occasional over-indulgence in food and drink, such as indigestion and upset stomach.
Milk Thistle is a great natural remedy always to have when traveling.
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