There is almost nothing more exhausting than traveling with IC - or any food allergy, I can imagine. From packing food, looking up where to eat or shopping for food, planning how you're going to cook things and store them, and talking to the chef at every restaurant you go it can be enough to deter you from wanting to travel. Not to mention, making sure you know where bathrooms are and dealing with flights, driving, etc. All of the above can make vacation a lot less relaxing, in all honesty. I have to admit I stress big time when I travel. And I especially did during this trip because I was just coming off of a lovely flare and was cruising the crimson wave, to quote one of my favorite movies. ;) There were definitely some rough moments and times I felt anxious about how I was feeling IC wise, but I powered through the best I could. I know if I could learn to relax a little more it would help. But the mind is a strong beast and fear creeps in before you even know it. Overall, I had a good time and stuck to the diet the best I could. My family is very understanding of my potty breaks, fears, and weird food habits so that helps a lot! Anyway, I thought I would share some of my travel tips/tricks in case they helped someone. And if anyone has anything (positive/useful) to add in the comments section below, please do!
IC Travel Tips - Disneyland Style:
While I didn't do this, I know it can help - call your airline ahead of time and ask to be seated by the bathrooms on the plane or at least in the aisle. This isn't always possible, but it can help alleviate the stress of worrying about getting up and bugging other passengers. I was mainly just really tense during the flight, but ended up being fine. My back hurt more than anything after the flight.
Take a TENS unit. I had no problem getting mine on the plane. I called the airport ahead of time and they assured me I wouldn't and it was true. I never used it, but knowing I had it helped.
Bring a heating pad or hand warmers. Just stick 'em down your pants and voila! This help can help relax tight belly muscles and warm you up.
Take your own bottled water. Yes - you can take it on the plane. TSA just has to run a special test on it first. Do make sure it is unopened, however. Also, I always pack a couple of bottles in case I can't get to the store that night after we arrive. Most stores sell either Evian, Fiji, Eternal Water, etc. There are also PH drops you can buy to add to any type of water if you are sure you won't be able to find proper water. Also, Starbucks typically sells Fiji bottled water. So if you can find one (which isn't too hard, usually) they may have Fiji.
Look up a local grocery store that you can take a taxi to or drive to (if you get a rental car - which I recommend). Then stock up on IC safe drinks/foods.
Book a room with at least a mini fridge - and a microwave if you can.
Pack enough snacks and water. You can bring any food/drink into Disneyland - except alcohol. So do!
Call restaurants you plan to eat at ahead of time and ask about ingredients and if they can work with you. I didn't do this, but did check out the menus ahead of time and talked to the chefs at a few restaurants we ate. Most were very accommodating.
Take Prelief with all restaurant meals. And stick the IC diet the best you can. Especially, the few days before you leave. Get your body in its best shape to start the trip and it will help in case you accidentally eat something bad or have a cheat day.
Take meds regularly and don't forget to eat and drink water! The less hungry you are the less likely you will be to make a rush decision and eat something bad!
Supposedly, at Disneyland you can get a disability pass for people who have trouble waiting in lines and they cannot ask for medical proof, as it's illegal - I got that info directly from Disney's website. However, when I went to customer relations they told me they had nothing to offer me and I would just have to utilize fast passes or have my party wait in line and join them later. I was embarrassed to fight, since there were people in wheelchairs with obvious disabilities waiting in line, so I just walked away feeling defeated. But I know I was within my rights to ask for this and was only turned away because I look healthy on the outside. I also know Disney is trying to cut down on abuse of this pass and I'm pretty sure the man thought I was a sheister. I may write a letter because I was very hurt that they would not help me at all. I was not willing to argue in front of those with obvious disabilities and was embarrassed by that point so I (probably wrongly) walked away. Everything worked out fine and I was able to use the bathrooms and wait in line okay, but it would have just been added peace of mind to have the pass. So if you go to Disneyland fight for it or call ahead to make sure you do everything right to get it!
That being said - Don't be afraid to get out of line to use the bathroom! Just be polite and forget the rude people who may seem irritated as you walk by. You won't ever see them again and if they want to fight they will end up looking like a fool by being rude to someone with a medical condition. Also, millions of kids have to go potty and are in and out of line so it's totally acceptable at Disney.
There are lots of bathrooms at Disney, but it may help to locate them before you go. Also, there are employees (aka cast members) all over who can point you in the right direction, if need be.
Get meds refilled, instillations, physical therapy treatments, etc. done a week or two before going.
Get a comfortable backpack to wear. They hold more (food, water, meds) and are easier on the body.
Wear and bring your most comfortable clothing. For me, that meant packing warm clothing, even though it was like 70 degrees. I get cold very easily so I wore leggings under my loosest jeans and sweaters every day. I'm sure I looked like the biggest dork in Cali!
Try to relax and have fun. My biggest struggle is with worry. I worry about all of the above. Maybe I don't trust myself to take care of myself well enough or my body to behave or my surroundings to accommodate my needs. But I know when I relax and am assertive about what I need it helps tremendously! I'm still learning to be that way. I'm very shy and internalize things a lot so IC has been quite the struggle and embarrassment for me. But I'm growing and changing because of it.
What do you do to cope when traveling? How many of you feel limited when traveling? I would LOVE to travel internationally, but it definitely makes me nervous with language barriers and foods in South American or Asian type cultures. I hope you find some of these tips helpful! Please feel free to share your tips/tricks in the comments below. We're in this together!