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How to Survive Travel in the City with IBS

I’ve never really been a city-break kind of person, mostly because I find them quite overwhelming and it sets off my anxiety. I’ve usually gone to the beach and nature kind of holidays – to me, they’re much more relaxing!

I decided to go against the grain at the start of this year and challenge myself a bit more and booked a city break for a long weekend. Spoiler – I survived and also had a great time!

Tips to survive travel in a large city with IBS

I’m passing on some tips that I learned along the way, that can hopefully help some of you out if you’re planning a similar trip.

Carry spare change for bathrooms

I find in the UK there can be some places you’re caught out, as there’s a charge to use the toilets. So, to avoid this happening on my vacation in Europe, I made sure I carried change in the local currency at all times. I’m so glad I did this as I did need to use this now and again and I think there’s much less anxiety when you know you have the money to hand!

Go with someone understanding

There’s absolutely no point in going on a trip with someone who has little understanding for your IBS, it’s probably only going make the trip more stressful. Since having IBS, I’ve only ever really planned trips with people who know and understand me and my condition. And if I’m feeling really overwhelmed before the trip, I tell them. That way, if detours need to be made and more stops are required then at least they know the reason why. I’ve always found explaining everything helps the person you’re with understand it more and I even tend to find they also usually have similar worries.

Drop pins on locations that are suitable to dine at

Planning ahead puts my little anxious head at ease before a trip. I like to do lots of research on places where I can eat during my stay. I’ve recently started using my google maps app on my phone to drop pins for restaurants and cafes that are suitable for me. That way, if I’m out and about, I can see what’s available to me nearby. Or if I want to do it the other way around, I can plan to visit the tourist attractions around where I know there is a place I can eat nearby.

Carry supplies with you

I can’t really go anywhere without carrying supplies in my handbag, from tissues to hand sanitizer and medication. It puts my mind at ease knowing these supplies are with me and I know that if a public toilet doesn’t have toilet roll in it, at least I have it in my handbag.

Apps with public toilets listed

I’ve tried a few apps that list public toilets by location. Some I’ve found useful, some not so useful. It’s not something I’ve referred to much, but I know it’s there on my phone if I really need to try and find a bathroom.

Get a ‘Can’t Wait’ card

There are cards you can purchase online that show you have a medical issue and require urgent access to a toilet. They don’t guarantee access to toilets but they may help you out. I carry mine in my wallet and you can purchase an international one that has the descriptions in different languages.

My biggest bit of advice would be to try your best to just enjoy yourself, you’re just as entitled to a holiday as much as anyone else! Although it can be stressful being out of your comfort zone, once you’ve achieved the trip, you can look back and be super proud of yourself for doing so. I know I was so glad I booked mine, I can’t wait for my next one.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • tmholland moderator
    5 months ago


    I apologize if the link was misleading. The links in the articles usually serve the purpose of directing the reader to more information about the given subject. I hope this provides some explanation. I hope you are well today. -Todd, Team

  • staycmarieb
    5 months ago

    Am I missing something? You said to get a card and included a link, but you can’t actually get a card except from your doc?

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