I recently drove across the Yucatan peninsula from Cancun to Campeche, then up the coast from Tulum to Isla Mujeres. I explored Mayan ruins, swam in caves, and floated in the Caribbean. All pictures were taken with a broken iPhone, so please excuse the poor quality and excessive use of filters!
Traveling while on the SCD can be difficult, but I'm happy to report that I remained symptom-free on this trip. Not only that, but I ate quite well — the quality of the fruits, vegetables, and seafood was incredible. And all of the restaurants I visited kindly accommodated my needs.
Below are some travel tips that I've picked up over the years. I hope you find them helpful!
- SNACKS! So many snacks. My suitcase is always half-full of Larabars, nuts, nut butters, canned fish, beef jerky, and dried fruit.
- Cook when you can. Many hostels and Airbnb's have kitchens, and shopping at the local market is a lovely way to get to know your destination.
- Take breaks. This is a tough one — it's disappointing to miss out on activities, or cancel plans. But listen to your body and rest when you need to.
- Download Yelp or Foursquare. They can help you find SCD-friendly restaurants, and review menus ahead of time.
- Drink (bottled) water. Research water potability ahead of time. Always carry a water bottle, and stay hydrated.
- Download Google Translate if you're traveling internationally. It's helpful for deciphering menus.
- Keep your doctor in the loop. Let your doctor(s) know that you're traveling, and bring along their emergency contact information.
- Research hospitals in the area. You likely will never use this information, but knowing what facilities are available may provide peace of mind.
- Pack medication in your carry on, in case your luggage is lost.
- Bring enough medication for your trip duration + a few days. Leave room for spontaneity and missed flights.
- Ask your gastroenterologist about additional medications you can bring along, just in case. For example, you may want to bring medications for food poisoning, traveler's diarrhea, or an unexpected flair up.
- Immodium works well if I'm really in a tough spot — for example, getting hit with food poisoning before a 5-hour bus ride. That said, everyone's system is different, so please be careful with this one.