Ep 88. Thyroid-Friendly Travel: Navigating travel with a thyroid condition

Apr 27, 2023 | Podcast Episode

Thyroid-friendly travel considerations

What does ‘thyroid-friendly travel’ mean? I’ve just come home from 2 weeks in Japan on a family holiday. I love to travel. It felt so good to be getting back out into the world after the last few years of being in Australia. Are there any special considerations for those of us with a thyroid condition when it comes to travel?

Feel well, travel well

You’ll have a better holiday if you feel well, so don’t throw everything you’ve been doing out the window. Thyroid-friendly travel will include as much of your thyroid-friendly diet & lifestyle as you choose!

Medication

  • Levothyroxine (Eutroxsig & Oroxine) in Australia – the most common thyroid medication in Australia (& most other places overseas) – 1 blister pack can be kept out of the fridge safely for 14 days below 25degC (I do say 21 days on the podcast but after double checking my box says 14 days).
  • NOTE: please check your specific medication refrigeration/temperature requirements.
  • If travelling for less than this, just travel with it without concern. If longer, it’s still ok out of the fridge whilst travelling then keep in the fridge of places you stay. Ask to use fridge on plane, hotels etc if don’t have personal access and you’re worried about it – then set an alarm so you don’t forget it!!
  • Eltroxin doesn’t need to be refrigerated just kept below 25 deg.
  • Other medications eg compounded, NDT, Graves/hyper medication etc – find out how long it can be kept out of the fridge (eg ask pharmacist)- can travel with a small refrigerated pack. Keep in the fridge where you are staying.
  • Always take a bit more with you than you need in case of emergency.
  • Always travel with it in carry-on luggage (with spares in checked luggage – or different bag).
  • If not sure about medication requirement of the country you are travelling to – take a copy of your script or the box with your name on the label.
  • Remember to take it!!
  • Stick with the same routine with taking it – ie empty stomach, not with coffee, away from food – at least 1 hour and other meds – at least 2 hours.

thyroid-friendly travel: Food

Pick your battles: Decide ahead of time what you’re non-negotiables are to feel good and have a fun holiday.

For me it’s gluten free. As long as it’s gluten free, I’ll be fine for a holiday. I will eat more dairy, more grains and more sugar on a holiday than I would at home (& usually more alcohol). This is my thyroid-friendly travel bottom line.

With this trip to Japan I knew even maintaining gluten free was going to be hard and I didn’t want it to impact too much on the rest of the family. Internally I decided I wouldn’t make too much fuss about food. Food wasn’t going to be the ‘highlight’ or focus for this holiday as it has been on other holidays (eg Vietnam -food was all GF and amazing).

If you don’t know what the food is like where you are going, do some research. I knew Japan was going to be difficult being gluten free (and it was) so I’d some some research into how to navigate Japan gluten free. I had an image I saved on my phone in Japanese that says (I think)… I can’t eat gluten eg wheat, bread, soy sauce etc. I knew what dishes were typically gluten free and which ones never were. I ate a lot of ramen without the noodles and got some protein from the supermarket where I could!

Cook if you can

Depending on where you’re travelling, you might be able to cook.

Stay in a place with a kitchen (we weren’t looking for this in Japan but probably would have made things easier!)

Visiting supermarkets in other countries is one of my favourite things to do! I love seeing all the different foods. I also love food markets.

Have fun exploring different foods or just cooking on a holiday.

Favourite travel snacks

  • Jerky (unless travelling overseas – still take & eat on the plane)
  • Protein bars
  • Protein shake packs – emergency
  • Nuts
  • This trip I took coconut aminos in a dripper bottle to flavour food.
  • Water bottle – important to stay hydrated – esp if prone to constipation

Pack light

I’m getting better at this! This last trip we all did 2 weeks with carry on luggage. It was much less stressful than taking a large bag. Less clothes choices makes it easier! Easier to navigate public transport and even hotel rooms. Less washing when you get home! Lighter bag to lift and take up and down stairs …. Less injury!!

thyroid-friendly travel Essential oils

I have a few travel ‘essential’ essential oils & supplements. I used to take a lot more than these but these are the ones I know I’ll actually use (& can’t live without!).

Non-negotiable oils:

  • Digestzen – essential oil blend that supports digestion. Always good for helping with eating unusual foods, ‘extra’ food or food you don’t normally eat or after a few extra holiday wines. I prefer to take the softgels.
  • Frankincense – it’s so versatile.
  • On Guard – I usually take the softgels to guard against different bugs or if feeling something coming on but you could take the oil or beadlets
  • Aromatouch – massage blend – helps my twitchy legs – also nice to add to a bath after a big day of walking.
  • Ice Blue – this time I took the stick but also the rub sachets are good for travel. For sore body parts when travelling.
  • Peppermint – usually take the beadlets – great for on the plane to help clear airways, freshen breath or for a burst of energy.
  • Correct X – little ointment for all things skin. Doubles as a lip balm. Great for any scratch, cut, bites sun burn etc.
  • 1 calming oil in a roller – to ease the stressors of travel – eg lavender, Neroli, Balance. Doubles as a perfume.
  • OnGuard Hand sanitiser – perfect for keeping hands clean, doubles as a surface cleaner and also a cutlery cleaner!

Non-negotiable Supplements:

  • Lifelong Vitality – base level support – travel can be stressful so you want to be at the top of your game. Supports digestion, immunity, mood, energy etc.
  • Terrazyme – digestive enzyme supplement. In Japan as it was hard to get GF I took 1 digestzen and 1 terrazyme with pretty much any food I ate.
  • Softgels – Digestzen, On Guard
  • Serenity sleep aid – helps wind down at the end of the day. I take it at night before bed with my melatonin.
  • Then I look at the regular other supplements I’m taking and decide what to take away – usually a liver support & iron and then I have a little break from some of the others. This is something to discuss with your practitioners.

Tips:

  • If travelling internationally and in your carry-on luggage they count towards your liquid allowance.
  • If taking quite a few and using checked luggage, pack what you don’t think you’ll use on the plane in the checked luggage. Make sure the lids are done up extra tight.
  • I have in the past had them questioned by security but haven’t never had any taken off me. I have heard of this happening though.
  • If you have smaller bottles of oils eg 5ml over 15ml take that.
  • You can take a small USB travel diffuser which can be good for hotel rooms that stink! I don’t always travel with mine.

Other thyroid-friendly travel tips & considerations

  •  I take my travel pillow – saves a sore neck when sleeping with different pillows and beds.
  • Enjoy the benefits of walking more! (Comfy shoes are a must – as is taking a spikey ball and doing a few back exercises)
  • If you’re not in a great place with your thyroid health you’ll need to pace yourself in terms of what you can fit in a day – and even what sort of trip you go on (travel v holiday) and manage expectations (your own and travel buddies) as to your daily capacity.
  • Take breaks and rest when needed: Travel can be tiring, especially if you have a thyroid condition. Don’t be afraid to take breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge. Plan your activities and sightseeing accordingly, and try to avoid overexerting yourself.
  •  Be aware of changes in time zones: If you are traveling across multiple time zones, it can disrupt your sleep schedule and impact your thyroid function. Try to gradually adjust your sleep schedule in the days leading up to your trip, and consider taking a nap during the day if you arrive at your destination feeling tired.
  • Weather conditions. Plan for temperature changes: Thyroid conditions can make you more sensitive to temperature changes. If you’re traveling to a destination with a very different climate than you’re used to, make sure to pack appropriate clothing and consider how you will adapt to the temperature changes.
  • Have fun!

KISS THYROID COACHING QUESTIONS

  1. What are you going to do to make your next holiday more thyroid-friendly?
  2. What is in your essential oil travel kit? (If don’t yet use essential oils and you’d like help putting one together send me an email and I’d love to help you. annabel@annabelbateman.com)

 

related podcast episodes

If you enjoyed this episode and are looking for similar discussions, check out these episodes:

Ep 17 Living a thyroid-friendly lifestyle

Ep 27 Surviving Christmas

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