Fortunately, living with Crohn’s disease typically does not mean you can’t travel. It usually means that, instead, you need to plan ahead a bit differently. According to a survey in Frontline Gastroenterology, 62 percent of people with Crohn’s disease or other form of inflammatory bowel disease said their travel was affected by their condition. Although this was a small survey (132 people), it wouldn’t be surprising if numbers were replicated in a bigger one. This doesn’t mean, though, that people with Crohn’s disease must stay home. Instead, according to advice by experts at EverydayHealth.com, what may be most important is how you plan ahead for your trip.
Here are more specifics about what to do before you leave home:
Talk to your doctor about your travel plans. He or she may want to modify your medications, perhaps adding in steroids or antibiotics, or vaccinate you against Hepatitis A if you’re traveling to certain countries. Scheduling this appointment well in advance can give you the time you need to create the best traveling plan for your unique situation.
Check to see what medical options are available where you’re traveling, just in case. Your doctor may be able to recommend a clinic and/or pharmacy, which can give you peace of mind, even if you never need to take advantage of these recommendations.
Pack an emergency kit and, if flying somewhere, keep it in your carry-on bag. This kit should include your prescription drugs, clearly labeled in original bottles, along with any over-the-counter medications. Create a list of what medications you take, including the brand name, generic name, and dosages; and also include your doctor’s contact information. It can help to include flushable cleansing wipes and extra underwear.
More Tips from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation
This site provides a link to help you find a doctor when traveling, one who is experienced with inflammatory bowel disease. If you’re out of the United States, you can pay a donation to get a list of English-speaking doctors in numerous countries through the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers. If you need information about obtaining international medical insurance, you can email the foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-694-8872.
Find a Toilet!
This is good advice for virtually every traveler, and even more so if you are living with Crohn’s disease. Fortunately, there are apps for that, including Charmin’s Sit or Squat app and the Toilet Finder at iTunes. If you’re going to travel internationally, first Google “find a toilet” with the country you’ll be visiting to find information.
Plus, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation suggests that, if traveling internationally, you know exactly how to ask for a restroom in the native language, as well as the words for “urgent,” “emergency,” “pharmacy” and “doctor.” Another thing to know: how to ask “Where is the bathroom?”
Find Good Food
I did this quick video showing my tips for finding healthy food when traveling, especially on business trips!
Healthy Travel Guide
You can also download our healthy travel guide, titled Ten B3 Travel Tips: Body, Brain, Biome. Although it’s not specifically written for people living with Crohn’s disease, it’s a wonderful overall guide to make traveling a healthier, happier experience.
Finally . . . Bon Voyage!