I love to travel! LOVE it! There is something about discovering and experiencing other cultures that I can’t get enough of. Every summer around my birthday, I take a girl’s trip to places like Europe, the Caribbean, or South America. Anywhere. Just some place different!
Well, this can be challenging for anyone with a medical condition, and downright miserable if you are a Crohnie! I do get asked- -A LOT- -how I manage on a long trip.
The answer is: it depends on how well I’m doing. Obviously, if I am in an uncontrolled flare (meds not working yet, 4+ bathroom sprints a day, active bleeding) then a 10-day overseas trip is NOT a good idea at all. We have to use common sense! But I have traveled while sick. I remember going to Greece while under a lingering flare. I was on a low dose of steroids still, to control the inflammation and bleeding. I wasn’t eating very much in terms of solids, yet enough to get me through the day. Only you know what you can manage when it comes to your pain level and energy. The biggest issue for many of you is having to visit the restroom a million times a day. What are you to do on the road?!
Again, anything more than 4+ times a day, I would not commit to a long flight or sightseeing. In Europe, there are restrooms everywhere. They are primarily “pay toilets” (and reasonably clean) so carry some loose change for the occasion.
Pack in your carry-on:
- Enough medication and supplements to cover the length of your trip, plus 2 days. If you are not due for a refill, speak to your pharmacy. Most insurance plans do allow for a vacation supply.
- Prednisone. Even if you are not on meds, take some with you IN CASE YOU FLARE while away! I do this even if I am traveling domestically. Call your doctor if this happens but at least you already have the pills with you.
- Snacks you can tolerate.
In your checked luggage:
- A mini blender. Try the nutri-bullet, it packs nicely. If you are having trouble eating regular food, this will come in handy along with individual packets of protein powder. Those of you who aren’t picky about the consistency of your drink can just use a shaker cup (see Blender cup at GNC for $8.99).
- Your favorite protein bars or trail bars. Should dining options be limited, these will carry you until you find something suitable. I’m happy to say though, that more places are serving gluten free food and soup, including the airports 🙂
Above are a few of the places I’ve ventured over recent years. Don’t let Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis keep you from enjoying life! Be patient when symptoms are severe. But when things calm down, go for it!