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How to Keep Your Gut Healthy While Traveling

When you’re rushing through airport security, eating plastic-wrapped airplane meals, and grabbing fast food on layovers, it’s easy to forget about staying healthy—and regular—when traveling.

And while staying regular doesn’t sound particularly glamorous, regulating you digestion can really make or break the transit portion of a trip—plus, we’re all for avoiding those germy airport bathrooms as much as possible.

Keeping your gut and digestive system normal and happy means that you will have better travels overall, and won’t have to deal with bloating or discomfort mid-way through a transatlantic flight or cross-country road trip. We spoke with Robyn Youkilis, wellness expert and author of “Go With Your Gut,” to talk travel diet, probiotics, and in-flight hydration.

“Traveling usually means being off of your normal routine, eating different foods, and maybe at different times, which often leads to irregularity or uncomfortable digestive issues,” said Youkilis. “Consuming probiotics can help you stay regular even when the rest of your schedule is way off. Probiotics also help boost your immune system. While traveling, your body will likely be exposed to unfamiliar germs and bacteria (hello, airplane tray tables!). Combine that with the fact that your immune system tends to be compromised while traveling and now you’re working with an increased risk of getting sick on your trip.”

So what’s the best way to keep your immune system strong and digestive system operating smoothly? Here are a few tips for a healthy journey from point A to B.

Keep on-the-go probiotics in your travel bag.

Probiotics are great for keeping digestion regular, especially when you’re on the move. It’s easy for things to get uncomfortable when traveling: You often have limited food options, it can be hard to remember to hydrate enough, sometimes you’re feeling stressed about getting where you’re going.

In order to stay regular, once through security, opt for a drinkable probiotic. Youkiliis reccomends Kombucha (try G&T’s original) or a probiotic fruit drink like Tropicana’s new probiotic juices. If you’d rather something a little more solid, pop a yogurt into your carry-on after going through security.

Practice post-plane yoga.

Be sure to stretch frequently. Staying limber is important for your ligaments and your muscles, but also for the movement within your stomach and gut, too. Consider getting a travel yoga mat to bring wherever you go.

Plan your diet.

When planning your travel diet, keep things simple. Opt for dark leafy greens (like kale chips) and fruits (like dried fruit). Pack a snack bag ahead of time to avoid airport and airplane food: You want to keep your distance from anything processed, sugary, or sodium-heavy.

“I’m known for packing up full meals for me and my hubby for travel days: cooked greens like kale, some leftover roasted veggies, a protein like salmon or tempeh, plus some healthy fat (avocado and raw goat’s cheddar are two favorites of ours),” said Youkilis.

“When you make a healthy meal (or snack) for yourself, you are way less likely to fall into the ‘I’m in an airport so healthy rules don’t apply’ trap. Plus, this way you are also prepared if there are any delays in your travel plans.”

Drink water. Lots and lots and lots of water.

It may seem obvious, but staying hydrated is one of the easiest, simplest ways to stay regular when on the road or in the air. Sometimes it can be easy to forget to hydrate while on the go, so find a water bottle you like and make sure that it fits into your carry on.

“The best thing you can do to combat the super dehydrating effect of being on an airplane is drink up!” said Youkilis. “And no, I’m not talking about that complimentary inflight cocktail (side note: alcohol is dehydrating too, so my suggestion is skip it all together on your travel day). Water, coconut water, and herbal tea are my top picks, but fresh juice or seltzer water are great too.”

Think outside the box.

Many people likely feel limited by what healthy probiotic options, like Kombucha or yogurt, are easy to grab-and-go when prepping for travel meals. Youkilis encourages travelers to get creative with snack and beverage options when heading into the sky.

“Chia seeds, hot water with lemon, lots of water, Chlorophyll tablets, and Magnesium powder are always part of my travel kit,” said Youkilis. “They help keep things moving down there and that ensures that I can feel my best wherever I am.”