Travelling with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Posted on June 10, 2015 by Guest Writer
Champagne on a cruise ship

Being diagnosed with IBS shouldn’t prevent you from going on holiday. Provided your doctor gives you the green light to travel, you should enjoy a break away without any more discomfort than if you are at home. We’ve put together the following tips to help you get organised for your trip:


  • Tell your doctor about your travel plans before you book and ask about any health concerns you may have regarding your irritable bowel disease.
  • lf you are travelling to a foreign country, learn the lingo for ‘where is the toilet?’ Alternatively, apply for the ‘Can’t Wait Card’ from the IBS Network here. This translates the phrase into several languages and may help you get access to toilets quicker.
  • Check if there are IBS support groups in the place you are visiting. A good start is to speak to the UK IBS Network on 0114 272 32 53 who may be able to put you in touch.
  • Take enough medicine for the length of your trip, plus extra just in case you are delayed or lose some.
  • Write down the names and doses of any medicines you are taking and keep a list somewhere safe with you at all times. That way, if you lose any you can replace them quickly. Staysure’s Comprehensive travel insurance will help you locate and replace any lost or stolen prescription medications, and will even deliver them to where you are staying if needs be.

While you’re away

  • If you are flying, try to get an aisle seat near the toilet for your convenience.
  • Just like at home, remember to have regular meals and take your time when eating.
  • For eating tips to help manage your IBS, visit the NHS website – try to adopt these recommendations, even when enjoying the delights of foreign cuisine.
  • It is important to keep up your fluid intake, especially in a hot climate. Don’t forget to drink at least eight cups of non-alcoholic fluids a day, especially water and non-caffeinated drinks. Keep to a limit of three cups of tea or coffee a day and try to reduce the amount of fizzy drinks and alcohol you drink.
  • Reducing stress levels helps lower the frequency and severity of IBS, so make sure you relax on holiday and don’t pack in too many things to do which could simply make you tired.
  • Try some stress reducing activities on holiday – perhaps yoga, pilates or tai chi. Alternatively, walking, running or swimming may also help.

For more on travelling with this broad condition, take a look at our IBS cover options.

Travelling with IBS