Excuse my play on words here – hardly as glamorous as ‘Sex and the City’, that’s for sure (how I LOVE that show though!) In this post I’m sharing techniques for an enjoyable city break and a happy gut.
City breaks are wonderful things – the opportunity to escape for a few days, explore new places, see new sights and try new foods (as long as they don’t have onion, garlic and some other FODMAPs – the life of a FODMAPer 😉 ). However, as someone who’s been lucky enough to go on a number of city breaks, I have noticed they don’t always agree with my gut!
Why is this? I put it down to the fact that city breaks tend to be shorter than your standard holidays, so your body doesn’t necessarily have time to adjust in this short space of time – poor body not knowing whether it’s coming or going! I find it doesn’t take much to knock my body out of sync. So having learnt from these I’ve got some tips for a happy trip:
1.Pack IBS-friendly snacks
Always good to have a number of snacks you can turn to if all else fails, especially for the journey. Rice cakes are a great one as they’re light for the hand-luggage. Nuts are another great option. Of course, snacks can only go so far, so it’s a good idea to…
2.Look ahead for places to eat
A little research goes a long way! Well worth looking ahead to find places to eat that will suit you and your body. Usually, city breaks are fairly short, so you only have a limited time to see and do everything. But it’s worth incorporating food stops into the plan. Places like Time Out Market in Lisbon were great for that!
3.Book seats on the plane
Yes, it costs a little extra, but it depends on what value you put on peace of mind. If I’m in a situation where it’s possible for me to choose my own seats, I will. It’s an anxiety thing and for some reason, knowing where I’ll be sitting (preferably near to the loo) eases my mind. Anyone else do this?!
4.Try not to overwork yourself leading up to the trip
No, this isn’t a free pass to do less work (!), but from experience, I’ve found myself working in overdrive to try and get everything done before a trip to the point that by the time I go on the trip my body is knackered and gut isn’t best pleased. For city breaks this is a nightmare because you only have a few days to unwind! Take it in your stride – it’ll be okay 🙂
5.Stick to routine
Fair enough – holidays are about anything but routine, BUT I do find having one helps with my IBS. So I try to continue with as much of my usual routine as possible when away – eating, sleeping – all the factors that if knocked off balance can affect the gut. It might take some accommodating, but it’s worth it. So understanding travel companions are important!
6.Pack well in advance
We’ve all been there – frantically packing the night before a trip. This creates stress which is definitely not the aim of a city break. And guess what stress contributes to? You guessed it – IBS symptoms.
7.Don’t overdo it
It’s all too tempting to try and squeeze as much as possible into a trip, but there has to be balance. Having done this myself and experienced an unhappy gut as a result, I’ve learnt to listen to my body and enjoy the sights I do see. It is a holiday, after all! If you don’t fit it all in (which is unlikely anyway), you can always go back!
8.If an IBS flare-up happens – try not to let it ruin the trip
I’ve definitely been there – on a lovely trip away and feeling crap. But when looking around at the surroundings I’ve learnt to think to myself a) what’s the worst that can happen? b) If the worst does happen, I’ll never see any of these people again, so who cares what they *might* think!! c) I’m here, I’m going to enjoy this (mindful).
What are your tips for keeping the balance on a city break?