4 Steps to Planning a Vacation with IBD.
I love to travel. If I had unlimited funds, I would spend my time traveling all over the world, experiencing new things, viewing new sights and tasting new foods. But when you have an inflammatory bowel disease, sometimes leaving the house is a big ordeal; so going on a trip may seem overwhelming. With a little careful planning, having IBD shouldn’t hold you back from taking the vacation you want.
1. Choose the right travel partner.
Especially if traveling is outside of your comfort zone, the person you decide to hit the road with is extremely important. You’ll want to make sure it’s someone who will understand your concerns and be willing to do what it takes to make sure you’re comfortable. Go with someone who won’t get frustrated if you have to make a couple of extra stops along the way or won’t mind spending an evening at the hotel if you’re not feeling up to going out somewhere. A good travel buddy can make all of the difference in whether or not you enjoy your vacation.
2. Take your particular symptoms into account.
We all deal with different issues with our diseases, so make sure you consider that when you make your plans. If you deal with fatigue, perhaps consider a resort where you may not even need to leave the resort grounds and you can spend your time by the pool. If you take frequent bathroom trips, make sure you’ll be somewhere that public bathrooms are accessible, since there are countries where this is not common. If you deal with joint issues, consider going somewhere with public transportation or renting a vehicle, so you don’t have to worry about spending too much time walking.
3. Research what kind of foods will be available.
Look into the foods that will be available beforehand to ensure there will be things that will not only be digestible, but will also not cause issues if you are feeling nauseas. Years ago, I went on a study-abroad semester in China where I had been dealing with active disease beforehand. Once I got there, I began losing weight quickly because the food was so different from what I was used to that I couldn’t get most of it down and I ended up having to return home early. If I had done a little more research beforehand, I may have been better suited to find appropriate places to eat and what foods would be easier to get down.
4. Find a place you can relax.
It’s all about your comfort level. For me, it usually means a trip to the beach where I can spend the most of time relaxing out by the water. I know others like to stay busy on their vacations, so in this case, I would recommend factoring in some down time. Make sure you find some time to recharge, so you can more fully enjoy the other things you have scheduled. If you’re new to traveling with IBD, you might consider taking a short vacation close to home until you become more comfortable with traveling.
As with most things with IBD, I believe you can still take the vacation you want with just a little extra planning and a few adjustments. I hope a diagnosis doesn’t hold you back from the vacation you deserve!
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