Travelling to New York City!
The Husband and I are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary this year, and decided to treat ourselves to our first trip to NYC. As always, I’m nervous about travelling with IBS, but I’m determined to not let it hold me hostage (see Manifesto #3; I will be free ). Travelling to New York City was The Husbands idea, but I was pretty confident that I could make it work, now that I have a few travel strategies in place.
Packing and preparing for our trip was a bit of an ordeal…. What clothes should I bring? What will we want to see and do? Our friends and family jumped in with many helpful suggestions – unfortunately MOST of these suggestions centered around restaurants. At first I didn’t mind, but after being told of the millionth pastry shop that we simply ‘must try’, I had a little snit and mild panic attack. My wonderful, supportive, patient husband sat me down – and helped me see that we were going to NYC to:
A) celebrate our anniversary, and
B) SEE (not eat) New York City.
So with my priorities straightened out, I packed my negligee and supplies for ‘camping’ in a hotel. My hotel kitchen kit holds granola bars (FODMAP Free), an empty lunch kit, plastic cutlery, a few Ziploc baggies, napkins, some dish soap, and for my first few hours in a new city, some rice cakes, organic peanut butter, travel sized almond milk and tea bags. OK here’s the thing: I know we are staying in a nice hotel in the middle of civilization, but I never assume that I can quickly get my hands on the basics. And I’m not a good person if I can’t have a cup of tea (with milk) and a small breakfast FIRST THING in the morning.
WE had a fabulous time! Our hotel was new and bright, we were located close to Times Square and found the city to be overwhelmingly awesome – so much to see and do and the people we met were very friendly (thanks to the complete stranger that helped us figure out the subway!).
Our first morning we were able to find a well-stocked grocery store – The Food Emporium – where I could load up on peanuts, rice crackers, safe deli meat, fruit and more. We stocked our little hotel room fridge and I was good to go!
My breakfasts were peanut butter on rice cakes with a strong cup of tea. Lunches were mostly granola bars, bananas, nuts – but I did order a lovely salad with grilled chicken (just olive oil for dressing) at Le Pain Quotidien in Central Park one afternoon. I had planned on being a bit more daring for dinners, but honestly, we were so exhausted from hiking around Manhattan all day that we both enjoyed a coffee-table picnic in the hotel room, catching whatever movie was on in the evening. Munching on sliced turkey, sharing grapes and sipping a bottle of wine was a surprisingly romantic dinner!
We did try out an Irish Pub for dinner once (we stopped in earlier that day, asking if they had baked potatoes available on the menu – only later did I realize the humour of doubting an Irish Pub would serve potatoes). I brought a (pop-top) tin of tuna, ordered a baked potatoe, green salad and olive oil on the side – no, it’s not fancy, but it keeps my tummy happy!
Thanks to my cautious eating, I felt awesome the entire trip – we did so much sightseeing and covered a lot of territory. When I asked The Husband if he really was ok with not eating out at fancy New York restaurants he looked at me like I was daft: “Do you know how much money we’re saving?!”.
So, travelling to New York City can be done if you have IBS! Here’s what worked for me:
- Bringing my emergency kit purse with a change of clothes – this is especially comforting on the flight. I didn’t need it, but feeling in control keeps the tummy calm.
- Making sure our hotel had a bar fridge
- Bringing my ‘hotel kitchen’ kit
- finding a grocery store close to the hotel
- I did try to google ‘NYC FODMAP friendly restaurants’ but didn’t get much that was helpful
- Maintaining the perspective that I’m travelling to see and do. Not eat.
- Having a plan for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, and not relying on spur of the moment choices.
It was a wonderful way to celebrate our anniversary and a big treat for us to see this magnificent city. I couldn’t have asked for a better anniversary gift….