Gut health while traveling the world is not one of those things that sits at the top of the travel to-do list. While preparing for a trip, the checklist often misses out on optimizing gut health and it’s worrying. Not only is a healthy gut a great thing to have on your side, but the gut is connected to emotional and mental well-being. In other words, gut health can truly have gigantic influence on many aspects of your travels.

Whether you’re looking for long-term travel tips or a quick getaway, there are many ways to prioritize your digestive health. The good news is, it can be as easy as a few simple changes to your travel routine. From first stepping on the plane to late-night snacking, there is much to consider (or quit altogether). Here are some of the easiest ways to maintain incredible gut health while traveling the world.

1. Traveling with probiotics

Ask any long-term traveler or nomad, probiotics are the game-changer in this travel game that deserves more props. Seriously, making a probiotic regularly is a surefire way to protect your gut. An alternative could be eating probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt and ghee, or drinking kombucha.

2. Listen to your body

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This is at the top end of the list for a reason. Listening to your body after eating meals or drinking will allow you to figure out what works and what needs to be avoided.  While in a new country you’re naturally going to want to try new foods. Food is the best entry point into a culture, how else will you truly get a feel without tasting it? 

For many, eating out is the best part of the trip but doing so without a body check-in is the opposite of good gut-health practice. ‘Paying attention’ could look like seeing if you have developed/managed better with gluten tolerance in this new country or if a certain breakfast gives you more energy than another. It can even be about the restaurant itself, if you constantly leave feeling slightly sick then maybe it’s time to accept that the tasty food comes at a greater cost… The best advice for learning how your body reacts to this new cuisine is to take note of yourself, as a regular routine. 

3. Intermittent fasting

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This is useful practice for long-term travelers who have experienced stomach bugs after traveling far from home (hi hello Mexico, Vietnam, etc). Often it takes the body time to adjust to the style of cooking or the water/food itself. Breaking your fast slightly later in the day is practiced when recovering from a stomach bug before reintegrating your favourite foods back into your life.

Of course, we recommend you do your research before starting any long or short fasting period. 

4. Minimise street food

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Speaking of recovering from stomach bugs and food poisoning, let’s start from the beginning: How can you even avoid them in the first place? A wise and tried-and-tested approach is avoiding street food. We know it is usually the tastiest, but sometimes it exposes the gut to bacteria that will put you out for the rest of the trip. 

5. Traveling with activated charcoal

This is a staple for travelers prone to stomach bugs. Activated charcoal is known for drawing out toxins. Traveling with charcoal tablets or powder is always a good idea. 

6. Nutritious meals = immune system support

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A nutritious meal is key to ensuring that your gut health is maintained. Ensuring that your plate is balanced is something we focus on while at home. While traveling it should remain a priority. Why? Because there is nothing worse than a compromised immune system, constant mood dips, and extreme fatigue because you’re not well nourished. In essence, your plate dictates how much of your vitality you’ll be able to tap into for the rest of the trip and perhaps beyond. 

7. Watch out for the water!

Your stomach will thank you for it. Several countries around the world advise against drinking tap water. This means being extra careful when consuming drinks with ice, brushing your teeth, or even showering.

8. Indulge in tropical/fresh fruit, daily!

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You can’t go wrong with a healthy dose of fresh fruit while on holiday. The vibe is: starting your day in a tropical environment with a dizzying selection of fresh fruit and juices beyond anything you’d find at home. The sun is out, your food is digesting well and you’re energized enough to go exploring all day. 

There are several benefits to eating fruit. There is even more motivation when it is fresh, organic, and local, which is usually pretty accessible while traveling in Africa, Latin America, or Asia. Being abroad during mango season? Eating a juicy dragonfruit on the beach? The freshest guava juice you’ve ever put to your lips for your breakfast? This sounds like a divine way to care for the stomach. 

Related: This Cali Native’s Pescatarian Cookbook Features Coastal Recipes From Around The Globe