5 Simple, Packable Remedies to Soothe Your Upset Gut While Traveling

warm tea

Few things are more uncomfortable or inconvenient than tummy troubles while traveling. To keep your travel plans smooth and your stomach at ease, here are a few preventive measures and handy items you probably have in your kitchen right now that are easily packable for your journey.

Avoiding Traveler's Tummy

Upsets can occur when travel takes you to places your microbiome has never been. Microbes that are very common in those areas and well-tolerated by those that live there may be uncommon to your microbiome as a foreigner. And it can be rather unpleasant. A few guidelines can help.

Consider Intermittent Fasting 

With some preparation, intermittent fasting on travel days with ‌connections lend themselves can keep your health on track. Intermittent fasting cycles between fasting and eating and is known to promote gut health by allowing gut bacteria to diversify and optimally repopulate.11 However, it can be challenging due to abundant food temptations.  Remember to plan ahead to break your fast with a gentle meal to help keep your health and energy up while on the road.

Watch What You Eat

Stick to freshly cooked foods rather than foods that appear to have been prepared earlier that day (or maybe even the day before), and try to avoid street food or raw dishes like salads or sushi where possible. 

Bottled Water is Best

Drink only bottled water and other bottled beverages, and avoid ice in your drinks unless you're sure it's made from purified water. Keep a supply of bottled water in your bathroom for brushing your teeth.

Be Wary of Buffets

This is a big one. Buffets may have food sitting out for extended periods, increasing the risk of foodborne illness. Try to avoid buffets where possible unless you observe the food being replenished frequently, with suitable working steam trays underneath keeping everything at a safe temperature.

Pay Attention to Hand Hygiene

Always wash your hands with soap and warm water before eating and after a day of being out and around town. If soap and water aren't available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Be Careful with Dairy

In areas where milk isn't pasteurized, avoid dairy products, as they can be a source of bacteria your system is not accustomed to.

Fruits and Vegetables

Eat only those you can peel yourself, like bananas or oranges. Avoid fruits like grapes or berries that could have been washed in contaminated water. You should be good to go if vegetables are cooked or steamed.

Take Along Home Remedies for Soothing Digestive Upset


Ginger has natural calming properties for digestion and can help to relieve nausea, ease occasional bloating, and encourage better, more efficient motility*.1,2,3 Try carrying some ginger tea bags, natural ginger chews, or crystalized ginger (preferably low sugar). If you can find raw ginger at a market, wash, slice, and steep in boiling water to create a tea. 

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint has been found in studies to relax stomach muscles, relieve occasional gastrointestinal discomfort and bloating, and aid digestion*.4,5,6 A warm cup of peppermint tea can be soothing for a troubled tummy. Peppermint oil capsules are also an alternative to the fresh leaves. Take the capsules according to the directions with plenty of water.

Stay on Your Probiotics Regimen

Your (hopefully personalized) probiotics will have strains that can help restore balance to your gut flora. It's important to maintain consistency with your probiotics to support microbiome richness and diversity and optimize digestion. In addition, a recent meta-analysis showed the statistical effectiveness of probiotics in helping prevent traveler’s gut issues.10  

Heat Pad or Warm Compress

Using a simple external remedy can also be helpful during times of digestive upset. Applying a heat pad or warm compress to your stomach area can help reduce discomfort. The warmth naturally relaxes your outer stomach muscles and helps with motility in the digestive tract.7 Lie down and relax with the compress on your stomach for about  20 minutes. 

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is widely touted for its calming properties and helping improve sleep. But it also has digestive benefits and can help soothe occasional bloating and indigestion, as well as help calm nausea*.8,9 Pack a few chamomile teabags in with your peppermint and ginger tea for a complete selection of warm, herbal, calming comforts.

Stay Hydrated

If you get sick, staying hydrated is essential. Oral rehydration solutions or sports drinks can help replace lost electrolytes when in a pinch, but also look to options without added sugars, such as bottled coconut water. Tuck some salt and potassium tablets in with your other supplements–they can work well with bottled water to help rehydrate your system.


Don't underestimate the power of rest. It can be hard to think about taking breaks when you have scheduled outings or planned activities. But your body needs energy to fight off whatever is causing the upset. This is even more important when travel throws off your regular eating and sleep schedule. Give your body time to recover and reset. Take a nap if needed.

It's not uncommon to experience a bout of traveler's tummy while away from home. But taking these precautions can significantly reduce your risk. And if you do find yourself feeling unwell, the easily packable remedies mentioned can offer some relief. Remember, if symptoms persist, seek medical attention. And safe travels to you.


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3 (n.d.). Blog, Health > Wellness & Prevention > Ginger, Johns Hopkins Medicine. Online

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7 Nagashima Y, Igaki M, Suzuki A, Tsuchiya S, Yamazaki Y, Hishinuma M, Oh-Ishi S, Majima M. (2011). Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:965095. doi: 10.1155/2011/965095. Epub 2011 Apr 26. PMID: 21584198; PMCID: PMC3092738.

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9 Sebai H, Jabri MA, Souli A, Rtibi K, Selmi S, Tebourbi O, El-Benna J, Sakly M. (2014). J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Mar 14;152(2):327-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2014.01.015. Epub 2014 Jan 22. PMID: 24463157.

10 Bae JM. (2018). Epidemiol Health. 2018;40:e2018043. doi: 10.4178/epih.e2018043. Epub 2018 Aug 29. PMID: 30189723; PMCID: PMC6232657.

11 Daas MC, de Roos NM. (2021). Benef Microbes. 2021 Apr 12;12(2):147-161. doi: 10.3920/BM2020.0149. Epub 2021 Feb 3. PMID: 33530881.