We all want to stay well and healthy while travelling and still be able to experience all that the local culture has to offer. Here are few things you can do to help you along the way.

A woman in a brown skirt, t-shirt and black backpack standing in the airport in front of the departure boards, shown from behind.

I was chatting with a friend (and travel buddy) the other day as she was planning for a trip and she asked “Is maintaining digestive health compatible with travel?” Of course it is! It just takes a little planning.

For many years I didn’t really think about staying healthy while travelling – I thought a little digestive upset was just the way it was because I almost always got sick when I travelled. Yearly family trips to Trinidad? Sick for a few days. A trip to India? Constipated (the opposite of everyone else in the group!). El Salvador, Cuba, Spain….there was always some digestive distress. Not enough to have me worried, but enough to make me uncomfortable for a few days. Somewhere along the way I realized that it didn’t need to be that way but I wasn’t sure how to fix it. A year in nutrition school gave me some answers.

On a recent trip to Trinidad & Tobago I put my knowledge to the test. Here’s the thing: I love to eat the local cuisine when I travel and I always indulge – street food, things I haven’t tried before, just give it all to me. Food and travel just go together! On this trip I knew I needed to make some changes, small changes that would keep my tummy happy but still allow me the flexibility to eat the good food that I knew I would find.

Chaguanas Market in Trinidad shot from above showing many vendors with produce and shoppers.Chaguanas Market, Trinidad

Tips for staying healthy while travelling. Here’s what I did:

  1. Snacks for the flight. There isn’t a lot of choice for healthy food in most airports or on the plane, so for my 4.5 hour flight I packed an apple, a small bag of mixed nuts & seeds, a couple of herbal tea bags (and asked for hot water on the plane) and an empty water bottle that I filled up at the water fountain after passing through security.
  2. Vitamins & Supplements. I never want to be that person who carries around bottles and bottles of pills everywhere I go, but sometimes a few are necessary. Probiotics & digestive enzymes are two must haves for me. They both help keep my stomach from revolting when I eat things that I’m not used to and also help to reduce risk of upset from foreign bacteria in the water or food.
  3. Food. I like to have a few basics with me, especially for the first day. I didn’t want to weigh myself down with a whole lot of extras but I did pack a couple of things. Greens powder to drink on it’s own or in a smoothie (I was staying with family and had access to a kitchen) and a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Muesli for breakfasts & snacks. Not too much to pack and easy to use.
  4. Local produce. The first thing I did, even before I got to my aunt’s home where I was staying, was stop at the local market for some fruit. I was lucky enough to be walking distance from the market so I stopped in every few days to replenish.

Fresh fruit, a smoothie or muesli for breakfast, digestive enzymes & probiotics and being mindful of what I ate all paid off. (I think the copious amounts of fresh coconut water helped too.) I stayed healthy for the whole trip!

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