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Travel Constipation: Why It Happens & How to Fix It

14 Jan, 2021

Women walking along train station platform with luggage

Why is it So Hard to Enjoy Pooping and Traveling at the Same Time?

Traveling broadens our horizons, but it also tightens our b-holes. Behind pretty much every Insta-worthy travel adventure is a globe-trot-ter with low-grade constipation. While we appreciate the value of jet-setting, we have to ask: why does your hard-earned vacay inevitably harden your poos? 

Simply put, our bodies are creatures of habit, and traveling can disrupt pretty much all of our major routines. When you change up patterns like what you eat and drink, and when and how you sleep, your poop takes this as a cue -- to stay cozied up at home in your colon.

Vacation constipation is 100% a real thing, and it can disrupt the many joys of travel. If you’re asking why does travel cause constipation, or you simply want to keep your BMs regular on the road, this blog is a journey especially for you!

Long Flights and Car Rides Limit Physical Movement

Whether you’re flying or driving, a long trip mixes up your routines. Your body is crammed into a smaller-than-usual space, with limited access to water or restrooms. 

Even if you’re not normally super active throughout an average non-travel day, you generally have the ability to stretch or refill your water bottle. These simple acts of self care are constrained on the road. Dehydration can def contribute to constipation, and so can cooping up your bod. All together, it’s a recipe for roadblock.

Changes in Routine and/or Time Zone

Your body is used to living in your time zone. All your physical routines and intakes, from sleep to sun to food, are tethered to your timeline. Traveling outside your normal time zone shifts everything, which can take some adjusting for your internal clock. You know that feeling when you have to wake up 3 hours early? That’s kinda the vibe your poo is going through.

Travelers Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are ground zero for constipation. Every worry from your packing list to making your flight to traffic is sending stress cues to your bod. And on top of that, add the anxiety of pooping in public (which is already a low-key no go). Switching up your routine really switches on your stress. 

Overindulging in Different Food and Drinks

This may be the most fun cause of vacation constipation: all the new tastes of travel. Bear with us, we won’t be talking about food and poo together for very long!

Perhaps you’re indulging in new types of cuisine. Or you may be visiting a couple chic cafes a day, while doubling up your normal caffeine intake. The oh-so-delicious treats that are so different than your normal diet? They’re making your body work overtime, which pushes out your normal poop deadlines.

There’s So Much to See, So You Hold it In

No one’s in a hurry to wait in line for a bathroom in Paris. There’s so much more to see! Travelers end up asking themselves questions like… can we fit in one more wing of the museum before we find the WC? And do we have to make another road trip pit stop, or can you hold it till we get there? The traveler’s desire to soak up the sights and/or minimizing travel disruptions can jostle our pooping routines abroad. And routines are the essence of regular #2s.

Be Prepared for Your Next Trip and Prevent Travel Constipation

Whether you’re visiting family or Machu Picchu, you want to enjoy your vacations and trips. Nothing disrupts pleasures of travel more than that annoying voice echoing from your gut. You know the one! It has a whole routine about how much you hate your life because you haven’t pooped in 3 days

It is possible to travel and poop, we promise. Just make these few preparations:

Vacation Constipation Checklist:

  • Keep water on hand at all times, and drink it!
  • Probiotics to take daily before and during a trip
  • Pack a gentle laxative like Miralax or Colace (just in case)
  • Keep fiber snacks like fruits, granola bars, and nuts on hand to snack on
  • Try to eat at your usual times (set alarms in your time zone as a reminder)

Stay Hydrated Before, During and After A Trip

To stay hydrated during your next trip, start the day before travel. Make sure you get enough water and electrolytes, which invariably means bringing water with you. Sure, you can’t take a milk jug of H2O through airport security, but you can take an empty reusable bottle and fill it up on the other side. 

And when it comes to road trips, drinking enough water means you will need to make pit stops. Set aside your family’s old road trip rules (e.g. no stops!) and allow your bladder to dictate some of the terms of your trip. 

During Transit, Move as Often as Possible

We know that airplanes aren’t ideal for movement, and lugging around a heavy carry-on makes it tough to feel light on your feet. But do what you can, where you can. So we’re not telling you to start a flash mob, full-out dance routine at the airport. Just reminding you to move as much as possible. Try exercising before you hit the road or once you arrive, and keep stretching your legs on the regular. Your gut will thank you.

Start Taking Probiotics to Help Maintain Your Gut Health

Probiotics are a gut-health go-to. They can help keep the bacteria in your tummy balanced, which offers only upside for road-weary travelers. 

Don’t Overindulge the Entire Time

This is the toughest tip of them all. It can be hard when you’re surrounded by new and delicious treats, and who wouldn’t want to partake in comfort food after all the stress of travel? But it’s worth making an effort not to indulge in exotic foods and drinks for every meal of your travel days. Mix it up with a simple salad here and there to keep your poos traveling on schedule.

Pack Fiber Snacks and Stool Softeners Just to Be Safe

It’s a good idea to bring a little stool support on the road. In your luggage or backpack, bring along fiber-filled snacks like fruit, whole grain crackers and veggies. And keep a gentle laxative on hand just in case. What goes in must come out, and fiber is poop’s friend.

You Can Enjoy Your Vacation with Minimal Travel Constipation

You have our promise that these tips will keep you, well, less constipated. Anyone who tells you they don’t get a little backed up when they travel is, how do you say… lying. With a little preparation and patience however, you can still have somewhat regular bowel movements while on vacation. Simply keep hydrated, move your bod, and stay kind to your b-hole with a TUSHY Travel Portable Bidet

Do you have questions for the TUSHY team? You can check out our FAQs, email us at hello@hellotushy.com or just fill out the form below!