The major problem with traveling when you have Ulcerative Colitis is access to a restroom, and the possibility of a flare-up when you are on the road, leaving you unable to function and, at times, unsure of what you can do to alleviate the problem.
My family and I travel to Wisconsin Dells most summers. It has been a favorite spot for my sons ever since they were young. The trip takes about five hours. What I have always done is to note the number of towns on the route not to mention the number of state rest areas that are on the way. I have found that taking plenty of water along and sipping it helps. Additionally I usually coat my stomach with an antacid before leaving.
On the trip there will typically be three stops for food and fuel. I don’t eat on the way. It is not wise to put a lot of food in one’s gastrointestinal system while traveling so that cramps can be avoided.
One factor that I have found that is a major assist is sharing (or if possible completely delegating) driving duties. Driving is a stressful function and can cause acid to be released. This can irritate your gastrointestinal tract and cause spasms.
If a person is on medication then it is important to know what the potential side effects are and determine if it is “doable” to live with them while traveling. If a person is on steroids which can cause mood swings, that is just another reason to consider leaving the driving to someone else.
Typically, someone who has Ulcerative Colitis is aware of what they will need to do if they have a flare-up. The medication needed to start a medical regimen will usually be packed. However, there may be a situation arise where the “flare” is atypical at which time the patient will need to seek medical attention. I have always worked with my gastroenterologist to identify a counterpart where I’m going to be available or, at least make sure that there is an adequate medical facility in the city I’ll be visiting. Of course, in the situation regarding Wisconsin Dells, I have visited there enough to know the circumstances intimately.
To travel with Ulcerative Colitis effectively, it is necessary to know the availability of restroom stops; it is necessary to have medication that you are able to self-administer in the event of a flare; it is necessary to keep one’s emotions under control, and, finally, in the event of an unexpected major problem, it is necessary to know where one can get major medical treatment.
As a final addendum, I don’t think it is wise to travel alone for long distances if you have Ulcerative Colitis; it is an unnecessary risk.