Traveling with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), the umbrella diagnosis that includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, can be complicated but it doesn’t have to be with a little planning.
Before you head out on summer vacation, we’ve compiled a tip sheet.
Some of these ideas are pretty obvious and are probably already part of the daily routine for people with IBD.
But a little preparation goes a long way to ensuring both fun and safe travels.
Prepare before you go, which means talking to your doctor. Your healthcare team is going to know you and your symptoms and what specific advice works for you. The Centers for Disease Control recommends travelers make this visit more than six weeks before any long trip.
This gives you and your doctor time to review things like immunization records and ensure you are up to date on the appropriate shots.
§ medication (in the original bottles)
§ OTC antacids and anti-diarrheals
§ Toilet paper and moist wipes
§ Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes
§ Change of clothes
§ Protein or granola bar(s)
§ Bottled water
§ Map of travel route (if traveling by car) to allow for rest-stop planning
§ Insurance card and if possible a letter from your doctor regarding your condition (in case of emergencies).
§ CCFA also has a “I can’t wait card” available to it’s members. Learn more here.
Your doctor will also be able to help you go through the medication, if any, that you are using for your condition and ensure that you have enough to last through your trip. In addition, he or she may also take into consideration where you are going, and how you are getting there, to make suggestions about other medication that you may want to have with you.
You should pack your medications in your carry on luggage and not have it checked in, just in case your baggage is lost. Your doctor may also recommend a contingency plan for a prescription in case your medication is lost or stolen.
Traveling when you have IBD also means you may have to take some matters into your own hands, like reviewing TSA air travel restrictions and making sure that you know what you can and can’t bring with you. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation has put together a TSA FAQ to help you wade through some of that.
Some other helpful resources
Charmin-sponsored bathroom location app that allows visitors to search, view, report, rate, and add bathrooms.
A symptom-logging application for patients with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, which allows patients to easily and accurately log symptoms and provide this data to their doctors for optimal treatment. In addition, patients can see correlations between symptoms, meals and medications.