We all poop, go make a number 2, make a doo-doo, etc… But frequently travelers have trouble doing their bathroom business for a variety of reasons. Travel constipation, as its called, is more common than people realize because we don’t sit around with our friends talking about poop. I NEVER, EVER thought I’d talk about poop publicly or cover it here. But like many people, I struggled with travel constipation for years and thought it was normal.
Note: Sorry if this is way more info than you ever wanted to know about me. If it makes you feel better, I also like the color red, sushi, and beach vacations.
What is Travel Constipation?
Travel constipation is a common problem and can start even before you leave home. It can include bloating, stomach pain, and the inability to poop for days. It can be caused by mainly things, including:
- Stress prior to and/or during your trip
- Long periods of sitting in a car or plane
- Being on a different schedule than you are at home
- Being shy about using public restrooms
- Lack of finding a clean restroom
- Jet lag, etc.
To avoid travel constipation, there are a few things you can do to help you go #2. I’ve keep this list short because it’s not rocket science, just biology. So here are a few tips on how to avoid constipation while traveling regardless of how often you travel.
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Tips on How to Avoid Constipation While Traveling
- Take Probiotics before your Trip
Probiotics are good gut bacteria that help support healthy digestive and immune systems.Research suggests probiotics might ease constipation. You can find probiotics in foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kefir. But it can be hard to get enough probiotics from food alone, so you can benefit from taking a supplement with active probiotics.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Can’t stress this one enough. Travel is dehydrating. Lying out on a beach enjoying the warm weather is dehydrating. Being active is dehydrating. You get the idea. It’s easier to become dehydrated when you travel or are outdoors for a number of reasons. But the solution is simple. Drink plenty of liquids with water being the best choice. To help you stay hydrated, carry a reusable water bottle and refill as needed.
- Stay on Your Schedule
We all have an internal schedule that lets us know when its mealtime, bedtime, and even bathroom time. As a parent, one becomes aware, sometimes painfully aware, of our young children’s internal schedule. Miss a nap time and the consequences make you want to pull your hair out. With ourselves, we may not be as aware of it as with our kids, but it’s there. You just have to tune into your body and listen. Many adults find they have a morning bathroom routine. That could look something like morning coffee, a few minutes of mindfulness or, if we are honest, checking email, then the urge hits. So you head into the bathroom, prop your feet on the Squatty Potty, and do your business. Whatever your routine, do your best to stay on that schedule/routine while on vacation.
Note: If you think you need that Squatty Potty, there is a folding travel version called the Porta Squatty. Who knew? Did you know?
- Get Plenty of Soluble Fiber
Your belly loves, loves, loves soluble fiber. It’s what nourishes the good bacteria in your digestive system, makes you feel full, moderates sugar absorption, and aids digestion. You can get soluble fiber from food and/or through a supplement. Many think that you get fiber from grains and you can, but vegetables and legumes are the best sources. The top 5 food high in soluble fiber are beans (especially black and lima), Brussels sprouts, avocados, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.
How much fiber do you need (grams/day)?
Unfortunately, most of us aren’t getting enough fiber into our diets. So a supplement can help. During Expo West, my friend Carolina at MamaInstincts.com introduced me to Regular Girl, a prebiotic fiber & probiotic blend dietary supplement company. Carolina travels as much as I do and recommended Regular Girl because it was non-GMO certified, gluten-free, vegan, and low FODMAP certified (gentle on your intestines).
Note: This isn’t sponsored by Regular Girl, but I am an affiliate for them because I liked their products and use them daily. Little Family Adventure readers get 10% off when you purchase Regular Girl products. Just use the coupon code LITTLEFAMILYADVENTURE10 at checkout.
I like that Regular Girl makes individual servings sleeves/packets that make it easy to travel with. Each serving is tasteless so I can put it in water, coffee, smoothie, yogurt, whatever. Best of all there is no sugar, only 10 calories per serving, and 8 billion probiotics per serving.
- Make Healthy Food Choices
Ever hear that “vacation calories don’t count?” It would be nice if that were true. Yes, part of the fun of traveling is trying new foods and indulging a little bit, but overindulgence and eating too many foods your body isn’t used to can spell disaster.
While on vacation, you can have that Salted Caramel Popcorn Sundae in Gulf Shores or the Dole Whip at Disney World. The rest of time you just want to make better choices and add more fruits, vegetables, and fiber to your diet. Avoid junk food that contains sugar, bad fats, and artificial ingredients. A healthy breakfast is a great way to start each day. Some of our favorite breakfast items are yogurt (probiotics), fresh fruit, eggs (protein), and green smoothies which can have a little of everything you need. Also plan to bring healthy, organic snacks along to munch on throughout the day.
These 5 things are pretty simple to do when you are away from home to prevent travel constipation. Going poop is something we all do and is a topic we should all talk about. No one wants to be stopped up no matter where they are. But it’s especially bad when you are on vacation or traveling for work. That bloating feeling followed my stomach pain is never fun and can ruin a great vacation. I’ve been following these 5 things for the last few months and haven’t had the issues I once did. The next time you are on vacation, give these tips on how to avoid constipation while traveling and enjoy a carefree trip.
If you want to talk about poop with your kids, here are some really fun children’s books on the subject:
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