Why You Feel Bloated While Traveling and How to Fix It

Digestion problems while traveling are extremely uncomfortable, but also surprisingly common, with an estimated 30-70% of international tourists reportedly suffering from traveler’s diarrhea alone. However, the fact that digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea and bloating are very common among tourists doesn’t mean that they’re unavoidable or normal. As a matter of fact, the majority of these issues arise due to almost trivial changes in dietary habits most of us don’t even realize are causing the issue. Let’s look at 5 major reasons for traveler’s bloating in particular and learn to prevent it once and for all.

1. Chewing Gum

traveler's bloating causes and fixes woman unpacking gum
Many people resort to chewing gum when they're on a plane, as it seems like a miracle fix capable of relieving both blocked ears and a dry mouth. And while chewing gum may make you feel better while you're flying, it may also be doing something a lot less beneficial to your system.
Namely, the very act of chewing gum inadvertently also makes you swallow a lot of air, and guess what happens to it after it reaches your stomach? That's right, it is bound to end up in your bowels, causing bloating and excessive wind. To prevent this from happening, avoid gum or reserve it to takeoff and landing when your ears are the most prone to getting blocked up.

2. Ultra Processed Foods

traveler's bloating causes and fixes man eating a chip
While we're on the go and luggage space is strictly limited, packing a salad or any other wholesome meal becomes quite difficult. As a result, we often resort to packaged snacks, such as chips and cookies to keep us full, and that's exactly the main mistake.
Unfortunately, most of these snacks, especially those you can pick up at a convenience store on your way from point A to point B, are highly processed and full of simple carbs and sugars that are bound to cause bloating. Apart from that, these foods are often also very dry, so they can bring about constipation as well, just so you know.
So instead of packing unhealthy snacks, develop the habit of taking nuts, dried fruit, fresh veggies, and fruit with you on your journey. If you insist on packaged goods, sugar-free energy bars are also a good option.

3. Dehydration

traveler's bloating causes and fixes woman drinking water
Speaking of habits that can cause both bloating and constipation, let's discuss your water intake. We're sure that you all know that you should be drinking your 6 glasses of liquids a day, but the thing is, many people seem to leave that knowledge at home when they set off on their travels.
Not drinking enough will affect your health even in the short term, especially if you're traveling by plane where the air is a lot dryer, to begin with. To prevent dehydration, drink as much and as often as you can. You can also pack a water bottle with you to keep better track of your daily water intake.

4. Low Fiber Intake

traveler's bloating causes and fixes bowl of granola with berries and yogurt
Fiber is probably the most underestimated essential part of our diet, but it is necessary for you on the daily, much like water and other nutrients. Sorry for the slightly graphic imagery, but fiber is important because it creates the bulk of your bowel movement and acts as food for your gut microbiome, so it's essential for smooth digestion if you know what we mean.
To make sure you get enough fiber, make sure to include fruit and veggies, as well as nuts and whole grains in your diet on a daily basis.

5. Caffeinated and Carbonated Drinks

traveler's bloating causes and fixes a glass of coke
Another common mistake most of us make while we travel is drinking carbonated and caffeinated beverages, as these are usually very easy to find in the nearest vending machine. Still, we'd advise you to stay away from these drinks while you're traveling, as they can cause bloating as well, despite promising to hydrate you as well as water does.
Caffeinated beverages can be the culprit behind bloating because they overexcite the digestive system and are actually quite dehydrating, whereas carbonated beverages pump your stomach full carbon dioxide, which is also bound to result in a bloated stomach, too. To prevent this from happening, avoid all carbonated drinks, even sparkling water, and don't get crazy with caffeine either. During your travels, tea and water are your two best friends. 
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