The Ultimate Packing List for Post-WLS Travel

Article By: Rachel Ignomirello, MS, RDN, CSOWM, LDN

Rachel Ignomirello is a Bariatric Dietitian and Board-Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management.

We are in the heat of summer, which means travel and vacation time is here for many patients. An important part of being successful in your WLS journey is sticking as closely to your new routine as possible. Being on vacation doesn’t mean taking a break from caring for yourself and maintaining healthy habits.

The first post-bariatric surgery trip can be scary and challenging, but it doesn’t have to be if you go into the experience prepared. There are many things you can do to get ready for your trip. You can find lodging with a kitchen or mini fridge, locate nearby grocery stores or healthy restaurants, and focus on trips with active options like hiking, biking, kayaking, etc. When preparing for a trip, you cannot forget your important bariatric items. So, here is the ultimate summer packing guide for bariatric patients!

1) Reusable water bottle.

  • Fluids are a major priority during summer to prevent dehydration. If you are traveling by plane, just make sure the bottle is empty when going through airport security.
  • Sugar-free drink mixes are also easy to pack, and electrolyte mixes may help maintain fluid balance.

2) Personal items and travel documents.

  • Purse or wallet with ID, keys, passport copy, emergency contacts, insurance and banking information, etc.
  • If you go out of the country, make sure to tell your bank and cell phone providers.

3) Entertainment.

  • Don’t forget to pack chargers for phones, tablets, smart watches, or fitness trackers.
  • Look into bariatric books and podcasts about nutrition, bariatric mindset, interpersonal dynamics, and/or emotional eating.

4) Specific outfits or items for the trip: pajamas, shirts, shorts, light jacket or cardigan, pants, formal outfit, workout gear, underwear, socks, bras, face masks, plug adapter, umbrella, etc.

  • Consider packing breathable materials like linen that can handle the heat.
  • Be cautious packing jewelry and items of special value.

5) Shoes: walking shoes, hiking boots, water shoes, sneakers, and/or sandals.

6) Water and sun gear: swimsuits, coverups, hats, sunglasses.

  • Find comfortable swimsuits that inspire confidence (read this article for more).

7) Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, moisturizer, sunscreen, post-sun lotion, and hairbrush.

  • Other common packable items include makeup, eye care, shaving razor, moisture-wicking powder, feminine hygiene products, small first aid kit, sanitizing wipes, etc.
  • If traveling by plane, exercise caution with bottle sizes in carry-on luggage. Passengers are limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels, and aerosols in 3.4-ounce travel-size containers.

8) Medications.

  • If traveling by plane, prescription medications should be in carry-on luggage and in their original, labeled bottles. You can also pack a copy of your medication list.
  • Beyond prescriptions, plan to bring acetaminophen (no NSAIDs), stool softeners (traveler’s constipation is no joke), anti-diarrheal, and allergy medications.

9) Vitamins.

  • Just as you would not travel without important medications, do not leave for your trip without your bariatric supplements.
  • Pack your multivitamins in a travel holder and set reminders if you might forget.
BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.

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