When we travel for work, we are exposed to new cultures, peoples, and surroundings. This can be a great joy to our eyes and a pain to our stomachs. No one wants to deal with indigestion from an exotic dish on top of presenting to a group of strangers. Here are tried and true remedies from travelers on how they preserved their stomachs and kept themselves healthy during trips:
Ginger is known for its anti-nausea benefits, but traveling with a hunk of raw ginger is not feasible for most of us, so we turn to ginger-infused drinks. Before you order a ginger-flavored drink to help your queasy stomach, though, look up the ginger percentage in the nutrient contents. Ginger ale soda has not been found to be helpful because the high sugar content may actually inflame your stomach more.
I am a big fan of keeping “super-strength” gin-gin candies on hand in my purse when I am traveling. Portable and tasty, they contain up to 30% ginger in their portable forms and are a favorite indigestion cure for celebrities like Janet Mock. I first learned about this ginger candy from professional food writer Ariel Kanter, who calls them her “trade secret for overindulgence, whether it be from a fancy multi-course meal or a morning of hungover fried-food feasting.”
Pack a first aid kit
You do not want to be hunting for help in a foreign pharmacy when your stomach is heaving. Before you head off on your trip, pack for worst-case scenarios with a first aid kit.
Writing for the New York Times, travel writer Shivani Vora recommends keeping:
- A motion sickness remedy
- Anti-itch cream
- Medicine for allergic reactions
- Stomach ache medicine
- Cold and flu relief medication
- Rehydration tablets in case of diarrhea
When your stomach is away from its unfamiliar routine, indigestion can be an inevitable side effect.
Use your common sense on what foods and drinks you are willing to sample at the work conference. You may not be able to handle the water that a local drinks. If they are drinking bottled water, you probably ought to be too.
If there are no safe drinking methods, you may have to create your own. Journalist and world traveler Jada Yuan recommends packing a water purifier pen and “Imodium, Cipro and oral rehydration salts for the inevitable G-I issues. And Travelan, which you take before meals to prevent the inevitable.”
Accept your fate
But even the most prepared traveler gets sick. You can find comfort in this miserable fact.
Writing “A Kielbasa Too Far” for Outside magazine, reporter Ian Frazier details the common traveler’s ailments that has united travelers throughout history. “Illness is a passage, and when it happens on a journey a passage within a passage it leaves you doubly transformed,” he writes. “When you get better, you feel doubly recovered and strong. Getting sick while traveling is one of those tricky accomplishments you simultaneously want to have done and don’t ever want to do.”
Getting sick on a work trip is a fate that many business travelers face even if they do not share all the details that befell them afterward. Even if your journey towards sickness is an inevitable fruit too far, you can help prevent the worst of your sick journey with preparation and common sense.