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Beginner’s Guide: What to Pack For A Weekend Away

When I was first diagnosed, I had no idea how to pack a bag for a vacation or week away without overpacking, much less for even one night away. I feel like I can give some helpful advice, seeing as though I’ve been trying to perfect it myself for the last 15 years.

Pack the most important things first

Try not to overpack, but pack the most important things first. Make a list and write how much clothing you’ll need on a piece of paper, along with a minimal number of other items that are essential. When you pack, take only the number you wrote on the paper. When it comes to deciding pants and underwear, it’s obviously a different story for those of us with IBD. I usually put in at least one spare set of pants & bottoms. Since you’ll likely be lounging, eating a little bit more differently or more often snacking, do yourself a favor and bring bigger size pants or sweat pants to lounge in if you begin to feel distended or bloated after eating something that you weren’t sure might affect you. Go to the travel section as well and it will greatly improve room in your bags.

Products to pack in case of a flare

Pack as many pairs of underwear you darn want! Pink, blue, thong or high-waisted. Be comfortable! Do yourself a favor and think about the one outfit a day you want to unwind in – to feel comfortable and cozy in. Grab your good wipes. Remember to bring the products you may need in case of a flare – wipes, mini packets of calmoseptine, etc. No need for a painful bum when you should be having fun!

Be prepared for a crash towards the end of the trip and after you get back home. It’s going to happen. It’s an awful, painful crash especially if you are traveling by plane because the pressure that affects your joints makes you want to scream. Try to eat as normal as you would if you were home. If you need to park snacks, pack them! Maybe bringing a few packets of Vitamin C will be helpful in warding off germs. And as always, a special side note about hand-washing: DO IT. Often. If you know you get dehydrated easily when traveling, take a refillable water jug with you and drink it religiously. Thankfully, I end most of my trips with a B12 shot, which provides me some energy. (I don’t absorb B12 properly, so I self inject it weekly prescribed by my GI). I know many people who take it for extra energy during stressful events!

Comfort items and things to remember when returning home

I’ll never not pack a heating pad. If you have a longer heating pad, it’s a perfect tool for any travel aches and pains in addition to having it for awful stomach pain. If you have room, pack a blanket (but know that this blanket will immediately go in the wash when you get home).

  • Ideas for a small “to go bag”: Water bottle, Clorox wet wipes, Purell, Vitamin C packets, Multivitamins, hand lotion, chapstick, travel size Tylenol, wet wipes, calmoseptine, Clorox travel wipes

Oh and folks? Remember to not even enter your house wearing the shoes you wore all over the streets and in the airport and travel. Leave them outside and bleach wipe the bottom of those bad boys. For good measure, throw those in with the clothes you wore traveling when you do wash – immediately when you get into the house. Germs are everywhere. Including in our hair. I jump in the shower as fast as I can to get fewer germs transferred to the things at home I don’t want “contaminated”.

What are things that you forgot your first couple times traveling with IBD/chronic illness? What are things that you can’t leave home without when you travel now?

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.


  • Julie Marie Palumbo moderator
    5 months ago

    This is a great post! I have been keeping an Excel sheet for a packing list since 2013. While the “outfits” column changes, the “toiletries” and “essentials” columns typically stay the same, making sure I never forget anything important!

    Great tips, Kelly! Thanks for sharing with us all.

    –Julie (Team Member)

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