With summer finally here, I thought I’d share a few ideas of how to pack for vacation with IBD. This is the first post in my “Five Fast Tips” series, a collection of easy short-cuts and tricks especially helpful to those with IBD.
Use a pill box!
- use (a) pill container/s that has/have one box for each day and bring 1-2 days more than you need. This helps you emember to take your medicines and provides you with easy access to them without needingto deal with all of the annoying bottles every day. If they are neatly packed in a pill box, you won’t have to worry about spilling them, and I don’t thinkanyone wants to swallow 8-month-old hotel floor lint.
Actually bring them!
- It sounds simple enough, but let me tell you, it happens. And who wants to drive to a random Walgreens, argue with the pharmacist about getting your prescription medicine right there, right then, and waiting 2 hours for the three pills you need, all while thinking about the ones you left sitting on the counter at home, when you could be relaxing on the beach? Even if you are an expert packer, double check that you actually take your medicine with you.
Keep things close.
- Picture this: Let’s say your name is Bob and you have IBD, which you manage with pills that you take 4 times a day. You’re finally on the airplane, ready to sit back and dream about all the fun things you will do on your vacation. You are so proud of yourself for pulling it together and packing all of your medicine neatly in your carry on bag. You lay back and close your eyes; this flight is gonna be a long one. And then, with a jolt, you wake up to your phone buzzing in your pocket. Your 4 o’clock alarm is going off, reminding you to take your afternoon medication. If you don’t take these pills within 30 minutes, your symptoms are going to go out of control. Relax, you tell yourself. They’re right here in the side pocket of the bag. You are so prepared for this! You reach under your seat, only to find that your luggage is nowhere to be found. That’s when you remember that you had to check the bag at the gate. And your neatly packed pill box is now under the plane completely out of reach. Did I mention there are 3 hours left before landing? Oh, and the baggage claim is all the way on the other side of the airport. And this is a holiday weekend, so you can expect 15-30 minute delays. And by the way, you’re not talking about a misplaced Tylenol. The person sitting next to is not going to be able to help out. So, if you think this scenario sucks, lucky for you, there are ways to prevent “fails” like this one. When traveling, always keep your medication in your personal item. Whether it be a purse, or backpack, or briefcase, or whatever, do not let your precious pills go under that plane! Even if you don’t take medication during the hours of the flight/ride, keep them close in case of delays or emergencies. Don’t be a Bob.
Snacks. Lots of them.
- This goes for everyone, IBD or not. Especially if you are going on a long trip. Make sure you food you know is “safe,” too. There’s nothing worse than having to choose between a spicy fried chicken sandwich or a creamy pasta dish on a long flight when you know very well that both of those foods will result in the biggest stomach ache of all time. So bring your own food, and watch everyone else glare at you while you much on granola bars when they’re stuck with some nasty airplane food.
Pack in advance!
- It’s always smart to pack in advance. That way, you have time to get the things you might not have and are ready to go when it’s time to leave. While it’s easy to blow things off until the morning of, when you have to pack a few extra things due to IBD, this isn’t such a good option, and that’s okay. Make sure you have enough medication for the time you will be gone and bring your medical information, medication list, and other “emergency” items should something come up. It is also wise to locate a pharmacy, hospital, and/or doctors office near your destination should you need medical attention while traveling.
Please comment below with any of your own tips or ideas for my next Five Fast Tip topic!