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The Mixed Emotions of Traveling

I know there have been other articles about traveling when you have a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) from other contributors so I wanted to make this one strictly about how I feel about traveling. There is a great article about traveling tips on our website so be sure to check it out if this is an area that hits home with you.

I have a trip planned in three days and I am always so nervous about every aspect of being away. I will be going to the Advances in IBD conference in Orlando, Florida and given I am from the New York area, it is a plane ride away. Thankfully, not a hugely long one but still a few hours.

I am not afraid of the act of flying but here is what stresses me out about the traveling aspect alone…


I have such difficult time in this area. Because I am always a completely different size, I have various types and sizes of clothing all over the place. My body temperature is also so irregular that I do rely on tank tops in the winter sometimes so there is never any formal transition for me when the seasons change.

I need to try every single thing on before packing it since who knows if my body has changed between the time I wore it last and now. For example, have I gained/lost weight? Do I now have an ostomy? Do I find myself getting distended/bloated more often?

Also, given there are many things I take for granted that I have at home, like my medications, ostomy supplies {and even my nutribullet for smoothies} that I just assume are with me and cannot get anywhere else. It sucks being someone who needs very specialized things that cannot just be foregone for the trip or purchased at a local place.


I am such a “eat pretty much the same thing everyday” kind of person that this throws me off. It also makes me nervous since more often than not, I won’t have my usual foods/drinks so I end up not eating until I can get back into the hotel room very late at night. This of course leads me to feel even worse but so would choosing the wrong foods– just in a different way. Even late at night, I still don’t have my “safe foods” in the same way I do when I am home.

How I Will Be Feeling While There.

I get scared that I won’t have the energy to handle the day or do what is expected of me. Or most importantly, what I WANT to be doing. I want to be participating in everything, learning, socializing, and just being present. It stinks when things are so unpredictable with your health that you have no idea if you will be okay or not. Long days are also not my norm, along with needing to be “on” for an entire day, so it definitely is an adjustment. I tend to be on autopilot once I am in these situations but lately, I wonder if I even have the ability to do that. At least for the length of time required. The build up leading up to it creates a lot of anxiety for me.

Being Of My Routine.

I am such a routine oriented person that it is difficult for me to be wearing nice clothes for days in a row since I am usually at home in sweats or pajama pants. Heck, I don’t even own that many since I rarely need them. Unfortunately, my eating and ability to do certain things that help my mental health (like sleeping or laying in bed until later in the day) are thrown off.

Being Dependent on Others.

If my boyfriend wasn’t going with me on this trip, I would not be able to handle it. Between the flight itself (I would never eat before,) lugging bags around, and all the other things that I would be required to do, I just wouldn’t have it in me. Not to mention, given I currently have another abscess that does all sorts of weird things to my body, I wouldn’t want to be all alone should I need medical attention. It is an awful feeling to have to be so dependent on others. Just positively awful.

If any of you are going anywhere this holiday season or just in general and can relate to any of the things I mentioned, I hope you know you are not alone. Those of us who suffer from Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis (IBD) have a lot of extra things to contend with while traveling that can sometimes take the magic and relaxation part right out of it. Either way, when we are able to, we should LIVE as best we can. I am always so happy, despite needing so much time to recover, when I have pushed myself to do things I know I get a lot of enjoyment from. Even if it is after the fact. 🙂

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    1 year ago

    Agreed! Traveling can be so stressful, especially the packing aspect. I find it to be so draining when in the middle of a flare. But! Like you say, when you push yourself to go, you end up creating the best memories and it ends up being all worth it.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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