How to stay healthy while traveling – Let your gut guide you

Stay healthy while traveling whether you venture to the Middle East or across town

New foods can challenge your goal to stay healthy while traveling

Across from me in the one room shack, huge tureens of curries and meat broths bubbled over a  rough fire. The aroma had my tummy growling, then I looked up. A rat ran along the rafters of the beach side hut where I was waiting for lunch. I considered leaving but two other tables were filled with happy diners and alternatives were limited. The cook then took a battered aluminum pan, splashed it into a pot and spilled juices over a scoop of rice. As drips flowed down his arms, he smiled set the bowl in front of me and wiped his hand across his face. I smiled weakly back and ravenous, took my chances and dug in. That day I decided that it was time to think about how to stay healthy while traveling. It’s been a process and I’ve found some strategies but there’s more to the story…

Strategies to stay healthy change with the times

I survived my curry confrontation to continue my budget-conscious, backpacking adventure around Sri Lanka without indigestion or sickness. It wasn’t until years later, while working on stories, dining at elegant restaurants and traipsing in and out of four and five star hotels, that my gut started protesting. At one stop on a Tequila Tour in Guadalajara, I discovered a half-eaten worm on my plate. My tummy did flip flops even after our host explained that it was part of the dish and getting the worm was good luck!

Eating fried crickets inside Mercado Hildalgo

One adventurous bite! I tried fried crickets – salty, crunchy, and delicious!

I didn’t feel lucky even though I’m no stranger to eating bugs. I’ve crunched into spicey grasshoppers or fried ants and knew about the tradition of adding worms to some Mezcal bottles (Tequila’s smokier cousin.) I just wasn’t prepared for the encounter and more importantly, after late nights, poor sleep, eating and drinking new foods, my immune system was already struggling. Stomach problems hit and had me down for the next 24 hours.

Don’t lose precious vacation time to being sick

It’s so disappointing to lose precious vacation time, to miss events or work because you’ve picked up a stomach bug, are uncomfortably bloated or suddenly feel exhausted. When I returned home I was determined to stop that from happening and started using a live Probiotic which helped but traveling with a supplement that had to be chilled consistently wasn’t going to work.

I work to travel light and packing a bunch of pill bottles adds weight. So I was excited to try the light-weight Gusto To Go, a beverage enhanced with fiber, enzymes, probiotics and herbs. It comes in one-dose packets to mix with water or juice. Simple and mildly tasty, I now keep a baggie full of the packets with me on every trip and it’s helped me to stay healthy while traveling.gusto to go is part of how to stay healthy while traveling

Where did Gusto come from ?

The founders of the company are world travelers who’ve run into some of the same tummy and immunity problems I’ve had. They found that over-the-counter herbs and medications weren’t fully helpful and enlisted several scientists to create a supplement that helped to bring balance and relief. During development, they asked for safe ingredients that were natural and dissovable in water.  It also needed to be Non-GMO, Gluten-free, have no sugar, fats, salt, calories or carbs. Then it also needed to be easy to use and not a demanding 20 or 30 tablets a day. Tall order!

Elliott Flick, the Founder, says that Gusto is a:

“Full-featured” formula. Probiotics are a major ingredient, but the further addition of prebioticsfibersmineralsherbs,digestive enzymes and amino acids just make Gusto so much more than merely probiotics.”

Decades of studies have shown that more than half of all travelers get sick while on the road. Many factors are involved. Sleep patterns can be upended by even a three hour time zone change. Getting enough, or even clean water, can be a chore. Add in the the glory of all trying out new spices, dishes and cooking styles.

It’s easier to take care of your health at home. Having a regular schedule, eating around the same time day in and out, shopping for local foods and cooking for yourself help. To stay healthy while traveling is more of a challenge. I’ve tried several Probiotics but not all work well. Gusto researach found that many probiotics die prematurely in your harsh stomach environment. They guarantee that these reach your intestines alive where they get to work immediately. The products are also endorsed by Dr. Oz and Dr. Andrew Weil.

Gusto to Go from Gusto to Go on Vimeo.

Here are a couple of Affiliate links to order the products. With the link for Gusto to Go I have negotiated for you a 12% savings compared to the price others pay on Amazon but I receive a very small commission which helps to keep this blog going.With the links you receive the same price as anyone on Amazon but I receive a very small commission which helps to keep this blog going.

Order Gusto To Go Here


Tummy ache? Quick fix

If I’ve eaten something and need a quick fix, I chew a couple of Pepto Bismal caplets. The active ingredient, Bismuth, has helped to relieve symptoms when I’m traveling and are easy to carry in a purse or pocket. You can order the tablets here:

Pepto-Bismol Original Chewables 5 Symptom Relief, Including Upset Stomach & Diarrhea 48 Count, 48.000 Count (Pack of 3)


Drink plenty of water to stay healthy while traveling

I carry a BPA free, reusable water bottle to reduce my reliance on throw away plastics. Here are a couple of options:

A Safe Plastic Personal Water Bottle: Swig Savvy 18 Oz Tritan Water Bottle Eco Friendly & BPA-Free Plastic ,Leak Free One-Click Flip Top open Ideal For Sports Yoga, Camping, Biking, & Jogging Pink

Or a Glass Water BottleSHOKE Glass Water Bottle with Leakproof Cap and Silicone Sleeve, BPA Free, Dishwasher Safe, 24oz

Drinking pure water is another part of gut health and here’s another post about using Go Pure purifying water capsules.

I hope that these tips help you to stay healthy while traveling and I’m always open to new ideas. What have you found that works? Leave a comment!

Take Care of Your Tummy While Traveling Pin 1

Travel Notes & Beyond


  • These are some exceptional tips which I desperately needed as a long-term traveler, Elaine! Being sick while traveling is the worst thing that can happen to anyone. So, prevention is the key. Thanks!

  • Cool! And I pinned this. I at least drink plenty of water. 🙂 So far, so good.

  • A half eaten worm?!! No way, I would’ve freaked out! I agree, its not worth falling sick while travelling honestly and drinking water, staying hydrated at all times is great advice, which is valid almost anywhere, anytime! Pretty handy tips, all of them.

  • Thankfully, I’ve always had a strong stomach, but know very well not everyone does. Trying to stay healthy at home definitely carries over while traveling. It probably helps that I’m largely vegetarian while traveling. Nonetheless, good to learn about Gusto – will have to give that a try! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard and #WeekendWanderlust!

  • I like to sample local foods when I travel but I don’t think I’m as adventurous as you. Bugs are out! I started taking probiotics a couple of years and found that reduced incidences of stomach upset. Gusto to Go sounds like a good product.

  • Ugh, stomach problems are the worst when you are traveling! That’s such a bummer you got sick in Guadalajara! I think the worm would have made me sick too-I can eat most anything, but bugs are always something I’ll pass on, haha! Gusto sounds like a really interesting product-will have to check that out. Could be super useful! Thanks for the recommendations and health tips!

  • As I have started traveling more, I realize my gut has become sensitive as well the sole decider of food. I often throw off if it is too oily or unhealthy. And getting sick while traveling is just hell! Gutso looks like a great carry along. I too would like to add consuming yogurt to balance down the infections in the tummy.

  • Oh lordy have we had some stomach troubles during our travels! It is terrible to miss out on exploring and instead be stuck running to the bathroom all day. We still haven’t mastered staying healthy all the time on the road, but your tips are definitely good advice. Pepto tablets when any food looks dodgy is very effective, and of course drinking plenty of water. The Gusto product sounds very interesting. Probiotics aren’t something I’ve gotten into, but they sound worth checking out for better gut health while traveling.

    • Sorry to hear that you’ve had some tummy challenges on the road. It’s the worst! I’ve found that Probiotics have also helped my immune system. All good with the challenges of travel. Stay well out there.

  • Haha! Good luck or not, I wouldn’t have wanted to see a worm in my food :-). I remember in boarding school, my morning duty was to clean one of the classrooms and my friends used to beg me to save the crickets that fell from the fluorescent lights. Tried them, they’re okay, but l like food. Thanks for tips on this post. My husband always has tummy problems, so l carry our stash.

    • That’s funny about the crickets. We have snails here and with the right preparation, cleaning and cooking, they’re delicious. Sorry to hear that your husband has a sensitive tummy. When I travel with my guy we react so differently to foods, so we carry different stashes. Happy travels, Kemkem.

  • Oh crumbs this post is bringing back all sorts of terrible memories ha ha! I had the unfortunate pleasure of terrible food poisoning mixed with heatstroke in India. Ended up in hospital on my return to NZ. When we lived in Fiji, my poor husband succumbed to food poisoning half a dozen times within 8 months. The worst case was eating at one of the resort restaurants. So sometimes the street food is a safer option than fancy restaurants!

  • These are really nice recommendations and i didn’t know about the Gusto. Must be very beneficial as you said. Keeping hygiene is so important and when travelling o unknown places it becomes more important. Agree with having lots of water to drink.

  • Thanks that you share Here’s how we stay healthy and avoid stomach bugs on the road while sampling local street food fare and hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Don’t let your guard down on organized tours. Likewise, you can follow every healthy travel eating guideline and spend more than your fair share of time in the toilet.

  • As I’ve gotten older my gut has started protesting to difficult foods more and more. Totally agree that it’s not worth losing precious vacation time for risking sickness. Gusto To Go sounds like great packets to have – and I love that they’re gluten free too, so my husband can utilize them too. Drinking plenty of water is a big one – I’m on a cruise at the moment and any hint of sickness they quarantine you to your room – I’ve been drinking water over alcohol the whole time to stay hydrated and I’m so proud!

  • That’s a super useful tip! I think it’s a good idea to carry around some nutritional products like above mentioned. Easy to consume and really good to the body! Exercise will be a plus too!

  • I always travel with good probiotics but the ones I have need a refrigerator. Not always easy to find. I had not heard of GustoToGo before. I may give it a try. The other thing I use is garlic pills and oregano oil caplets to help me fight off infection.

  • Probiotics can do wonders for helping your travelling tummy. My mom, being a PhD poultry scientist, encourages eating local eggs to pick up antigens for the area. We were served eggs in Sri Lanka on our first day at our ayurvedic retreat and I always wondered if that was ancient wisdom matching mom’s modern science. We were also encouraged to eat a lot of yogurt, which does wonders to balance your chemistry, especially if you dip into the travel Cipro we usually carry.

  • Oh, tummy troubles….. I have been there. It feels like I am always there! I’m a bit of a queasy, sensitive stomach person at the best of times and when I’m on the road I’m always a bit worried about what the next bite might do.

  • Very important to follow this. Some of the Asian countries including India have cuisines that can cause uneasiness to delicate stomachs. Probiotics in diet always helps. I am glad Gusto is well thought and made product for travelers.

  • Thanks for the sharing and dietary difference is really tricky because you need to eat and sometimes you won’t know if it suits you before you actually eat it. Sometimes time difference, weather changes, or even altitude and exhaustion would cause your tummy flip. It’s important to understand your body, and always be prepared. I hope everyone would be able to enjoy the amazing local cuisine and stay healthy during their travels!

  • Oh, Elaine, how horrible! Your culinary experiences will make me think three times before putting anything into my mouth when I travel. I almost died once in New York after eating at one of the most expensive restaurants in Manhattan. Food poisoning. Hahaha, exactly your point. I knew about Pepto Bismol, but never heard of Gusto. I should try it next time I travel. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Thanks for sharing! Husband and I are on the road since 3 months ago, and I got food poising once that only lasted two days. As soon as I got it, I drank tons of water and electrolytes. Also, have had two minor and quick colds. It’s definitely hard to stay healthy in Asia and I think our bodies are only adjusting still to the different germs. Great tips here! My favorite is simply drinking water, which I forget sometimes!

  • It is so important to take care of your body while traveling my brother got really sick in Ethiopia but luckily I had packed meds from the travel clinic to help him. I am always looking into new ways to help keep tummy troubles at bay and this looks like a great option.

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