10 Tips for Traveling With Crohn's Disease

Patient Expert
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Managing Crohn’s disease on a normal day is a chore in and of itself, so adding travel into the mix can often feel overwhelming. Based on my own experience, I’ve compiled a list of tips to help ensure your Crohn’s disease doesn’t get in the way of your travel, whether it be a two-day work trip or a 10-day vacation.


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Pack an essentials kit

What are your go-tos when your Crohn’s acts up? Pull together a kit of essentials so you have everything you need in one place. This might include medicines, a heating pad, nausea remedies, wipes, fresh underwear, ostomy supplies, hydration, and other supplies.


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Pack a self-care kit

In addition to an essentials kit, don’t forget a self-care kit as well. Travel can be stressful and having items on hand to help you easily relax will be invaluable. Kit components might include essential oils, tea, a meditation book, eye mask, positive imagery, and a calming playlist.


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Scope out the food scene

Those of us living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) often have dietary restrictions — and this is certainly not something you want to experiment with when you’re away from home. When you’re traveling to a new location, scope out restaurants and grocery stores in advance. It might even be helpful to call restaurants ahead of time to ask about their ability to accommodate dietary restrictions.

Also consider staying somewhere with a kitchen so that you can always do your own cooking if the food scene is not Crohn’s-friendly.


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Build in time for rest

Fatigue is a common symptom of IBD. Build in time for rest during your trip. Don’t be afraid to skip out on a few activities to get some shut-eye and ensure you don’t push yourself into a Crohn’s flare by overdoing it.


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Keep your medicines on hand

Never be too far from your medication. If you are getting to your destination via air travel, don’t put your medicines in a checked bag. You never know what could happen! If possible, bring a small supply of your medication with you wherever you go in case of an emergency.


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Map out key locations

Where is the nearest pharmacy? Grocery store? Hospital? Bathrooms? Map out key locations you may need to access and be sure to share with any travel companions for peace of mind.


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Bring your own snacks

Go shopping ahead of your trip and pick up your favorite snacks. Often airports and small convenience stores off highways don’t have a comprehensive snack selection. You don’t want to find yourself feeling “hangry” or without food to take meds with if needed.


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Notify your doctor of travel

Give the physician who oversees your care a heads up that you will be traveling. Depending on where you are going, they’ll want to make sure you are up to date on vaccinations and have all the resources you need for a safe trip. Letting them know in advance will also help the process go more smoothly if you do need to get in contact with them in case of an emergency.


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Dress comfortably

Who are you trying to impress in the airport? During the 10-hour car ride? Don’t stress about looking your best. Dress comfortably. It will help you more easily relax and maybe even get a nap in while you travel.


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Keep your travel companions in the loop

If you are traveling with anyone, keep them in the loop on how you’re feeling and be sure to debrief them on what to do in case of an emergency (e.g., who should they call? What is your list of medications? Where is your doctor’s number?). Don’t be afraid to speak up if you need a little extra help or support!