Don't Let Heartburn Ruin Your Vacation

A sore throat, itchy eyes, the sniffles—all are a threat to a good vacation. The last thing you want on your Caribbean cruise is a fever keeping you from the water. But sometimes you run into problems you can’t control, and even worse are problems intensified by travel. A prime example is heartburn.

One of the worst aspects of having heartburn and taking a vacation is that indulging in heartburn’s causes—food, sleep, alcohol—are what make vacationing so much fun. However, heartburn remedies are possible. Here, with help from the National Heartburn Alliance, are the best ways to avoid heartburn while on vacation:

Food. Fatty foods are a known heartburn trigger. While they can be easy to avoid in the comfort of your own home, they are more tempting in a place where you have—or want—to eat out every meal. Two tricks here are to have your heartburn medication on hand and to compromise by choosing when to indulge in cheese ravioli or a mid-afternoon martini.

Sleep. The two aspects of sleep that bring on heartburn are when you lie own after eating or have your head on the same plane as your abdomen—both the timing and the position make food likely to reflux into the esophagus. Use an extra pillow to elevate the head of your bed, and take a walk (instead of a nap) after dinner.

Stress. For the 58 percent of heartburn sufferers who identify a “hectic lifestyle” as a trigger, imagine how much higher the percentage climbs when travel is factored into their lives. Schedules and itineraries must be followed; missing a train or plane can have a disastrous ripple affect on your stress level and likely symptoms. By planning ahead—or by not planning any activities and therefore not having to worry about missing them—you may just save yourself the hassle and the heartburn.

Smoking and alcohol. Everyone wants to relax with a beachside margarita or cigar. But heartburn remedies only work with compromising. Knowing that a red wine, beer, vodka, whiskey, and nicotine can elevate the acidic levels in the esophagus should be enough to help you pick and choose the times to indulge.