In all your glamorous vacation planning I’m reasonably sure that you didn’t include taking a multitude of sudden, inconvenient bathroom breaks, right? No one does. Even when we plan contingencies for nuisances like getting sick, most of us picture an allergy attack or a head cold. Hardly anyone is planning for those times when you are desperately seeking a bathroom with no line and crossing your fingers there is an isolated end stall available.
When you feel like you may have a contagious stomach bug like Gastroenteritis, it is easier to count yourself out and stay at the resort. Depressing, yes, but in the interest of protecting our family and surrounding park guests from catching the same bug, it is an easier decision to make. When it isn’t so simple is when it is a case that only really affects you. Maybe a food intolerance that has gone awry or something you’ve eaten that didn’t agree with you; even food poisoning. In these situations, where no one else can be infected, we are much more inclined to push on and claim back our vacation from the evil forces of stomach discomfort.
Pack the essentials
If you are not feeling stable in the stomach, there are a few things you should make sure you always have on hand starting with a water bottle. If you don’t want to carry the weight of it when filled, then leave it empty for now and just throw it in the bag. Pack a travel size of wet wipes; I’m not even going to explain that one. You can be creative and figure out the multitude of uses for yourself.
My backpack always has some emergency Imodium and Pepto-Bismol for those untoward moments of internal discontent for anyone I am traveling with.
Know where your emergency exits are
I’m not just talking about the front gate with this one. When you start to feel that preemptive rumble, have a look at where the nearest bathrooms are located. Even if you don’t need one at that moment, when you do, you’ll be glad you aren’t wasting time looking for a map.
Eat better food
When things are not functioning correctly south of the border, it is crucial to fuel your body with the right food to help correct the problem. So put down that ice cream sandwich and avoid the churros because foods that are fried or high in sugar may only make things worse. Also avoid dairy, spicy, or acidic foods like citrus. While you are at it, keep away from alcohol, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners too. Try to stick to basic and plain foods like bananas, rice, toast, etc.
If you thought drinking the water was important before, you are going to need twice as much as you are losing fluids for different reasons. Even if you are sweating more than usual, those fluids need to be replaced to avoid the risk of passing out.
Keep water with you at all times; and as tempting as it may be, avoid cold water as that can slow your hydration. Room temperature water is best.
Avoid long attraction lines
If you have ever had a stomach issue and needed to leave the comfort of your own home, and bathroom, you are already aware that there are a handful of uncontrollable outcomes. Give yourself a break and don’t commit to that 3-hour Flight of Passage line as nothing good is likely to come from that. Stick to the shorter lines or sit out any of the popular attractions that have long waits or potentially unsettling ride motion; which brings me to my next point…
Stay off of the intense rides
It shouldn’t have to be said, but somehow, it always does need to be mentioned anyway. If things are not copacetic down below, making use of that Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster FastPass or taking advantage of an uncharacteristically short wait for Space Mountain won’t make for a good long game. Sure it might be okay at first, but if you want to be a part of the day and not miss out on those family moments, don’t end up rushing back to the room because you misjudged your body’s tolerance for the backward motion of Expedition Everest.
If you have a few park days up your sleeve, consider that one day of rest at the resort might be what you need to improve rather than drawing it out over five days of barely surviving the parks. Choose quality, not quantity.
Hopefully you will not need to utilize any of these suggestions, but, if you are just like me and not so lucky, I wish you the best in overcoming your rumbly tumbly in time to enjoy your vacation.
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.