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Going on Vacation? Don’t Let Gut Woes Sabotage Your Travel Plans

June 20, 2014

taking care of body on vacationYou probably have an extensive packing list for your upcoming summer vacation, but one thing you don’t want to bring along is stomach trouble. Between the constant dining out, the disruptions to your routine and the stress that goes along with planning a vacation, it’s no surprise that gut woes are a common complaint.

However, even the most sensitive stomach owners can take steps to prevent tummy trouble and enjoy their time away. Here are some tips to prevent the most common stomach ailments while traveling.


Since going on vacation typically involves, well, going somewhere, motion sickness is a common concern. Whether you’re in a car, on a plane or aboard a cruise ship, nausea can rear its ugly head and make your trip much less pleasant.

It’s hard to avoid it completely, but there are some steps you can take to minimize motion sickness and make yourself feel better faster.

  • Face the direction you’re traveling. In a car, try to sit in the front seat, if possible.
  • Avoid reading, scrolling through your smartphone or watching videos.
  • Find a source of fresh air, or air in general. Roll down the windows, turn up the AC or open your seat vent.
  • Try not to overeat or consume alcohol before traveling if you are prone to motion sickness.
  • Talk to your doctor about over the counter or prescription medication to help with nausea and other symptoms of motion sickness.


Known as “travelers’ diarrhea,” this version of the upset stomach is common for international travelers, especially in Mexico and South America. While most cases of travelers’ diarrhea are caused by drinking unsafe water, some travelers experience diarrhea simply because they’re trying new foods or experiencing stress. Here’s how you can prevent travelers’ diarrhea.

  • If you’re visiting an area where it’s not recommended to drink the water, be vigilant. Use bottled water for brushing your teeth, don’t add ice to your drinks and avoid eating foods like salads that might have been washed in contaminated water.
  • Don’t be too adventurous. If you’re known for a sensitive stomach, take things slow. When trying new-to-you foods, consider having a small amount and waiting to see how your stomach handles it.
  • Eat balanced meals. It’s easy to use vacation as an excuse to splurge, but you don’t want to shock your system with too much unhealthy food. Make sure you’re still eating balanced meals and getting in your fruits and vegetables.


The stress of travel and being in a new place can sometimes put your digestive system on strike. To lessen your discomfort and get things moving, follow these tips.

  • Drink lots of water. Dehydration contributes to constipation, so bring a refillable water bottle to carry with you or buy bottled water frequently.
  • Exercise. Physical activity can help prevent or treat constipation, so add some movement into your vacation plans.
  • Watch your fiber intake. High fiber snacks are very portable, so have some on hand to fight constipation on vacation. Fruit, nuts or high fiber cereals are all great options.

Want more tips on taking care of your body this summer? Download our free Summer Survival Guide.

            North Ohio Heart's Summer Safety Guide