maintaining life while traveling

when you are traveling the LAST thing you want to be thinking about is stomach pains, when and where you are going to be working out to ease your anxiety, whether you can eat anything on the menus of the places you are going to be visiting, how bloated you’re going to be and will any notice, if you’re going to have symptoms of IBS-D or C, how you’re going to maintain your normal routine at home, and really any other fear or stress that could cause your body to tense up, preventing you from FULLY enjoying yourself on your trip, and completely change your personality to the point that you would rather stay home.

These fears, frustrations, thoughts, can surface for any trip; you don’t even have to go abroad or some luxurious trip but it could be a road trip with your friends, just a few hours to another state or simply spending the night away. BUT, if you have digestive issues (leaky gut, SIBO, IBS, food intolerances, constant bloating) or anxiety, any shake in your normal routine can set you back and take what feels like weeks to recover. For me personally, even going back and forth between my apartment and home town (1 hour drive) for a couple of days, changes my whole system for the days to follow!

However, maintaining a routine while traveling can be simple and possible with tricks that I’ll share that I always do, a little bit of planning ahead, understanding your body and listening to its’ needs, and most importantly keeping a positive attitude the entire time. It sounds cliche, ridiculous, and maybe you want to roll your eyes, but sulking in negativity will only esbverate your pain. You know the saying, out of sight, out of mind? Sometimes, the more that I focus on stomach issues that I may be facing while I am traveling, it is all I can think about; it completely controls my mind and then everything seems to bother me; the foods that I am eating, I can’t sleep, I am more irritable, I am more anxious, headache prone, yet when I focus on the people around me, the “right now,” the actual trip itself, that is truly all I can think about and then I am happy; living in the moment. 

You can’t relive any of these moments, so pick and choose as to how you want to remember the times spent traveling and the people you are around. 

First, remember, that if you are taking a vacation, that this is a vacation. You are so lucky to be able to travel, take time away, experience a new place, people, culture, try new foods, and really a time let your stress melt away with the people you are with. If you are traveling for work, treat it no differently, but understand you will have different responsibilities but can still incorporate these tips/suggestions for a more easier going travel. 

BEFORE:

Before traveling; I make sure that I am plenty stocked on my favorite snacks, book/magazine/iPad reads, vitamins, essential oils, face masks, and any other items that are part of my every day routine at home that will bring me comfort at the place I am staying. I also pack, (obviously according to the weather) but loose fitting clothing and clothing that makes me feel my best. So, if I am having an off day and my digestive system is out of whack or feeling extremely bloating, wearing anything tight is only going to cause more pain and inflammation to my body. Having options with clothing can be key. I also travel in comfortable clothing as well and bring something to change into the minute I reach my destination so I can feel refreshed, clean and just "new" once I get off the plane. It makes me feel 100x better and totally changes my mood after a long flight or long car ride!

  1. Snacks: Make your own! I make a big batch of my favorite energy bites (all recipes can be found on my feed/blog), freeze them the night before, and then take them with me on the plane/car. When I am traveling I will fill them with really nourishing ingredients like, turmeric, cacao, cinnamon, almond butter, coconut oil, almonds, etc to keep me satisfied/full and will opt out of adding sugar into the bites to keep bloating down. 
    1. Find what snacks work for you & pack them in your carry on to avoid eating airport/airplane/gas station food. 
      1. almonds, make your own trail mix w/ DF chocolate + nuts, fruits if you can tolerate, nut butter packets, packets of chia seeds to sprinkle on anything!, roast a sweet potato the night before, chia puddings, almond butter sandwiches, or even a container of your favorite roasted veggies with your favorite dip, etc!
    2. I always pack lemons so I can squeeze them into my water! This helps regulate my digestive system throughout the fight or the car ride and keeps my skin hydrated! (Ps. you can bring lemons on the plane!). Then when you reach your destination, I am sure you can find a market/grocery store that sells apple cider vinegar, buy some, then you have it for the rest of the trip! Drink it every single morning or throughout the day to keep bloating down, your digestive system regular, and your skin hydrated. 
    3. Essential oils + self care packing:
      1. Lavender oils; help reduce stress, anxiety, calm nerves, helps with sleep, relaxation.
      2. Peppermint oils; I have found that this helps with my headaches tremendously! 
        1. Find what oils you love, see if you can get them in the smallest size or buy travel size containers! 
      3. Face mask, face scrubs, epsom salts. 
        1. I have travel sizes for all of my night time routine skin care and usually just put the salt baths in a little bag. This way, I can still keep my night time routine before bed the same as if I were at home. I may not be able to do it every single night, but I might be able to do it a few times OR I know that I have the option to take an epsom salt bath, which helps with inflammation, eliminating toxins, detoxing your body, relaxes your body, helps with sleep, if I needed to and felt extremely on edge. Sometimes just knowing, that I have this option for self care is there, is all that it takes to have a calm mind. 
          1. The face masks & scrubs that I love are by Franklin & Whitman (code balancewithb for 20% off)
      4. Probiotics & Enzymes & Vitamins 
        1. Pack them! 
        2. I take magnesium pills every single day to help with headaches and to keep me regular
        3. Find a digestive enzyme that works for you and take it with your meals while you are traveling, same with probiotics! I am still looking into a good one that I love and will report back!!
        4. I also love packing packets of collagen peptides with me. They are great for the gut and restoring your gut lining. Traveling can take a beating on your gut, so you can simply add this into your water or tea if you drink it and you will not taste a thing!
      5. Research/Plan
        1. Without planning too much, as this is vacation or traveling for work and things may come up unexpected, look up things to do, restaurants to eat, places to visit, hikes; things that you want to do and try out while you are there! Keep an open mind as well and understand the art of flexibility. I always like to target a few places to see while I am traveling, a few restaurants, and leave the rest up in the air. It always seems that the unplanned is the best adventure. BUT, if reducing your anxiety means planning out a few days before hand, then schedule a few days before you leave so you aren’t wasting time! In terms of restaurants I like to:
          1. I like to find a few places that I know I will be able to fully enjoy without worrying if it will cause digestive pain OR there will be a few items on the menu that I can order. Most places today, can cater to most digestive needs so, really don’t be afraid to speak up! I always say exactly what I want even if nothing is on the menu I can eat, no excuses. For example, if I’ve found a healthy smoothie place on vacation, I might go there for breakfast every morning even if everyone else grabs something else at another location. It is better to eat something that will make you feel your best for the day, rather than causing you discomfort all day. Choose what will make you do that, since most others will have a hard time understanding the place you are coming from when in pain. 
          2. If I am staying at a place with a kitchen, visit the local market or the grocery store and stock up on my favorite foods and cook in the kitchen a few times- even if it’s just smoothies, water, homemade snacks, salads, certain breads, nut butters, etc. 
          3. Don’t be afraid to try new foods! You are on vacation and you should keep an open mind to trying the local foods! You may never be able to travel back to this place again. Once again having a positive attitude goes a long way in how you feel! The whole point in going on vacation is to enjoy it! 
      6. Pace yourself 
        1. Don’t try to pack everything in on the first day! If your body is telling you to rest, just rest! 
        2. If you are traveling in a group, confide in 1 person. Whenever I am traveling with a group of people, I tend to tell 1 person how I am always feeling, tired, bloated, in pain, anxious, happy etc. This person I can trust and know will bring me at ease. The rest of the group doesn't have to know how you are feeling and this prevents any attention being placed on you! Often times, that person is feeling the same way too so you can help each other keep positive attitudes and shift your perspectives, or just be there if needed. 
      7. Sleep
        1. Try to stick to somewhat of your normal sleeping schedule. Obviously, this will be hard since you are on vacation and will be out later than usual, there might be a time difference, you’ll be feeling more tired etc, but if you can try to at least wake up around the same time. This will also make it easier to adjust when you return home.
        2. Keep the same night time routine that you have at home, while you are traveling: reading, light yoga moves (my post on yoga moves for anxiety to help you sleep), face masks, snacks, journal, hot decaf tea or warm lemon water, essential oils, anything that will help calm your mind and body down after a really long day, knowing you have another one ahead of you. 
        3. Stretch in the mornings and the evenings! This will help calm you down at night and then wake you up in the morning! (my post on yoga moves for digestion + gut healthy foods) 
        4. Download meditation apps on your phone: I've heard great things about the following ones:
          1. The Mindfulness app
          2. Headspace
          3. Buddhify
          4. Calm  
          5. Insight Timer
          6. Smiling Mind
          7. Stop, Think & Breathe 
      8. Walk everywhere!
        1. Whenever I am on vacation I love being able to walk around the city or wherever I am because it is the best way to see it! It makes you feel super energized, active, helps keep your system regular, and if you are someone that “has” to work out everyday, you won’t necessarily miss it because you will be walking so much! 
        2. If you are traveling for work or some place that you can’t walk, check to see if there is a local yoga studio, a place to go hiking, a near by beach for walks, or a gym right where you are staying to move for just 30 minutes! 
        3. Download workout apps on your phone! I have "moves" on my phone, it isn't a workout app, but it tracks the number of steps I take each day and the minutes I walk. You can then do these workouts in your room, hotel room, outside, or at the gym! 
        4. I also like to wake up early and go for walks on my own! This allows me to clear my mind, re-group, wake up my digestive system, move my body, and just be alone with my thoughts in the place I am in! 

*Also! Before traveling, I like to eat a big meal full of vegetables, protein and drink lots of water with lemon and apple cider vinegar the days leading up to my trip. I do this because I am usually unsure of where my next meal is coming from, but it is nice knowing that I had a nourishing meal the night before my trip. The water, lemon, & ACV helps keep my skin hydrated and keeps my digestive system regular, therefore, I hopefully will feel amazing going into the trip! I continue on with my same workouts, my same eating patterns, and routine. I don’t change anything else leading up to my vacation. Changing your body before you leave, will only make it harder for you to adjust to a new location on vacation. 

*While I am on the plane or even in the car traveling, I tend to stick to lighter snacks and try my best to wait and eat any meal until I’ve reached my destination. I normally tend to feel bloated, uncomfortable and tired if I eat a large meal on the plane so I’ve found that drinking tons of water with lemon and a few snacks here and there is better for me. Usually it is because I am then just sitting for the next few hours on the plane or car and I can't get up and really move around after eating. Obviously, if the fight is super long and I am starving then I will eat, but will eat slowly and try to be mindful about it. It makes a huge difference in your system when you actually pay attention to what you are eating instead of eating, talking, reading, and doing 10 other things at once! 

*To keep my skin hydrated during travel time (whether it be by car, train, or plane) I usually do not wear any make up and usually stick to face serums. Then, when I’ve reached my destination, I can quickly wash my face and put on a little make up and I am good to go! 

*I have the worst time sleeping on planes; meaning I can NEVER sleep on planes. I am more of a head bobber or wide eyed and trying to fight my neighbor for leg room type of person, so normally I catch up on work, read, or just listen to music. Movies would be great too, to download on your iPad, really anything to pass the time and make it more enjoyable for you!

  1. Last but not least, BREATHE!
    1. Remember you are on VACATION. Enjoy it. Relax. Soak it all in. I’ve realized that the more positive I am, the more I go with the flow, ease up on myself before going into any situation, the better the turn out- both mentally and physically. No matter what I am facing- food, new surroundings, social events, anything that you might dread or have second thoughts about. Think about where you hold tension? Stomach or head? So, if you are stressed or thinking negatively immediately those two areas are going to cause you pain. If you can change your mindset, then you can certainly change the way you will feel throughout the trip! 

The last two Tuesdays, I wrote about Digestion, Gut Healthy foods & Yoga Poses and the other post focused on Anxiety, yoga poses to help you sleep as well as foods too! Take a look at these as they might be helpful when you travel too!