AGA - American Gastroenterological Association
AGA - American Gastroenterological Association

Planning your IBD life

Planning your IBD life

Vacations and travel

Icon of plane flying past globe of earth to signify travel
Vacations are a great way to relax, reset and take a break from the everyday hustle and bustle, as long as you factor your inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) into your plans. A little research and preparation will help ensure that you make the most of your trip while staying on top of your Crohn’s disease or colitis symptoms.
Icon of plane flying past globe of earth to signify travel

Getting ready for your trip

  • Research your destination.
    • Make sure there is an urgent care/hospital close to where you are staying in case of emergency.
    • Find the nearest pharmacy in advance and locate a back-up just in case.
  • Bring all documentation you may need for medications (particularly injectables), ostomy supplies or anything that may get flagged by TSA before your flight.
  • If you’re traveling outside of the U.S., consider your options for medical insurance to ensure you have all the coverage you need while away from home.
  • Clear travel with your provider and discuss managing your IBD while away, including:
    • Which medications to bring.
    • What foods to avoid.
    • What to do in the event of a flare-up.
  • Explore food options ahead of time.
    • Look up menus to see what restaurants will work well with your diet.
    • Plan ahead. Decide to indulge at the beginning or end of the day, depending on what activities you have planned.
When I go on trips with friends, I usually connect with the planner of the trip and share my needs with them, so I don’t need to burden the whole group with requests. This way, the person booking restaurants or excursions keeps my needs in mind.”
Joshua Denton,
patient living with ulcerative colitis

While you’re away

  • Pack a bag for emergencies that includes:
    • Extra clothes.
    • Medication.
    • Protective underwear.
    • Wipes.
    • Ostomy supplies, if applicable.
    • Hydration solutions.
  • Consider telling your travel companion(s) about your IBD.
    • Communicate your needs and sensitivities with the group and work together to pick activities everyone can enjoy.
  • If you aren’t feeling your best, be sure to:
    • Bring your emergency bag.
    • Pack a to-go container of plain/bland foods that will help you avoid any further symptoms.
    • Drink plenty of fluids.
    • Choose comfy clothes that give you a little more breathing room if you are feeling bloated or experiencing symptoms.
  • Identify bathroom locations.
    • Be mindful of your environment, when and where you can stop, and schedule bathroom breaks, even if you may not have to go right away.
    • Consider downloading the We Can’t Wait app, which offers app users a simple way to locate publicly accessible restrooms and helps identify sympathetic establishments.
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