Your Guide to Stomach Health While Traveling

A happy gut makes for a happy vacation.

Travel requires meticulous planning. Outfits need to be coordinated and packed. Itineraries need to be written down and crossed out and written down again. Accommodations have to be researched and settled upon. The list goes on and on, but rule of three; I wouldn't want to keep you trapped in opening paragraph purgatory forever. If you're a traveling pro, you already know all this stuff anyway, and if not, as long as you booked a hotel and got a plane ticket, you can intuit a lot of the rest. That said, there is one particularly boring and unsexy facet of travel that people tend to forget, despite the fact that it has the power to make or break your vacation: stomach health. It's fairly conventional wisdom that any sort of illness can ruin a trip but while certain things are unpredictable, there are plenty of tactics available to help you keep your stomach healthy while out on an adventure. Remember, a happy gut makes a happy traveler.

The first step on your journey doesn't begin at the airport. It begins the day before you fly. Food takes about six to eight hours to pass into your large intestine, where it digests further know. The point is, it's important to eat correctly the night before you head out. Don't eat a big Indian dinner or a whole mess of tacos if you know you're going to the airport in the morning, and especially don't try any new exotic cuisines. If you've never had Moroccan food, maybe wait until you get home before trying that new restaurant that opened up by your house. Eat something that'll give you energy for your day of travel, but won't leave your stomach in knots the morning after.

It can be tough, but try to find something

Okay, so you've heeded my advice and made it to the airport. Your stomach feels great, except for a slight rumbling. You're hungry. Now, you may be tempted to buy that family-sized trail mix bag–yes of course the one with the M&Ms–and hose it in the waiting area, but don't. No. Put it back. It's literally a bag of candy. It's going to make you sick. Come on. You're better than this.

You need a game plan. First, calculate not just the time you're in the air, but the amount of travel time to and from each airport, as well as the amount of time it'll take you to get from the hotel to wherever you're eating your first meal. Before your flight, it's recommended that you have something with plenty of fiber in it, like a green smoothie. It may seem counterintuitive, but something easy to digest can help settle your stomach for the entire flight. If you're going long distance, you may want to buy something from one of the airport restaurants like a salad with some sort of healthy protein in it. Odds are, the food the stewardesses are serving isn't going to be very nutritious or tasty. Bonus: if you think you'll be hungry by the time you land, snag a healthy snack, like the unsalted, M&M-less trail mix (I know, what's the point?) to eat on your way to your hotel. Also, remember you don't need to drink before or during your flight, the lack of oxygen will make you drunk faster, and can even lead to a middair hangover.

That airplane food looks...uh...great...I just happened to pack a lunch today

Alright, you've landed in a foreign country, and the plane ride went off without a hitch. This doesn't mean you can stop worrying about your gut. It's important to realize that the restaurants in whatever country you're in might not have the same sanitation requirements as restaurants in the United States. In order to prevent the nightmare of spending your vacation on the toilet, pack or purchase some probiotics. If you tend to suffer from Diarrhea, something that contains Saccharomyces boulardii is a great option. If constipation is more your issue, try something with magnesium citrate. The other issue when abroad is tap water. Certain countries, like Cambodia and India, have notoriously unclean water, but even if you're not spending your vacation in the third world, you're probably better off drinking bottled water for the entirety of your stay. It may cost you a bit more, but it'll help guarantee your stomach remains well-behaved during your trip.

Alright, I've given you all the stomach advice you could possibly need or want. Whether or not you heed it is totally up to you. That said, assuming you're not travelling alone, your health doesn't just affect you, but the people you're travelling with as well. Everyone will have a better time if you're at 100%.

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There are several things about wine that can confuse the average person. If you haven't spent the last few years of your life learning everything there is to know about wine, you can be forgiven for picking up a box of the good stuff every now and then. However, if you want to know a little bit more about how to choose a good bottle, we can help you out. We've created a beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine so you can enjoy yourself a little more.

Know What Type of Wine To Choose

First things first, you're going to need to decide the type of wine that you're looking for in order to narrow your search. Are you looking for a red, white, sparkling, or rosé? The choices may seem overwhelming, but try to focus on what foods you'll be pairing the wine with. Reds go great with heavier meals like red meat, while whites tend to lend themselves towards lighter dishes like fish and cheeses. If you'll be drinking the wine on its own, consider what you've tried in the past and what type you tend to gravitate toward.

Know How Much You're Willing To Spend

It's no secret that a penchant for wine can become an expensive hobby. If you're just getting into the idea, don't waste your time or money with the extremely pricey bottles. A good place to start looking for decent bottles of wine is somewhere between the $10 and $30 price range. This will keep you from buying something too low quality without breaking your bank in the process.

Read the Labels Closely

A good bottle of wine will often give tasting notes right on the bottle. Because everyone's palette is different, you may not get the same notes when you try the wine, but it's a good place to start. Choose something with tasting notes that you already enjoy like berries or cocoa and try to see if you get any hints of that as you drink. The labels may also tell you about the wine's acidity, or how tart it is, and the wine's body, or the way it feels in your mouth.

A beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine can only go so far without being overwhelming. The next part of your wine journey will need to be undertaken on your own. Try various types of wine and see what tastes best to you—that's what wine is really all about.

Distillery tours went on hiatus in 2020, but there are high hopes for 2021. While bourbon leaps immediately to mind when thoughts turn to distillery tours, interest in other spirits and how they're made is increasing. Here are a few of the best tours to thrill tequila lovers.

Tequila Herradura

Ride in style on the Herradura Express, a distillery sponsored train ride that runs from Guadalajara to the town of Amatitán for a distillery tour and tastings, followed by lunch featuring live entertainment. The train then takes visitors back to Guadalajara by evening. Herradura is housed in the last tequila-producing Hacienda in the world, Hacienda San Jose del Refugio. Casa Herradura will be closed for visits and tours until Mexican health officials declare the coronavirus emergency over.

La Rojeña

Producer of Jose Cuervo, La Rojeña has a train of its own called the Jose Cuervo Express (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19) to bring visitors to the oldest distillery in the town of Tequila. Jose Cuervo offers distillery tours, tastings, and tours of the agave fields. Mundo Cuervo (Cuervo world) also has its own hotel, Solar de las Animas. Check for COVID-19 hours and restrictions before booking.

Casa Sauza

Founded in 1873, Casa Sauza offers four levels of tours including a visit to the La Perseverancia distillery, a visit to the Quinta Sauza estate, and for those willing to spend more, barrel tastings and a barbeque or a three-course meal. Casa Sauza is on hiatus until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but should go on the distillery tour bucket list.

La Cofradia

The only tequila distillery with a hotel inside, La Cofradia offers many experiences in addition to distillery tours. Choose a hike through natural trails, biking, or horseback riding through the agave fields. Rooms made of giant tequila barrels sit among the agave plants for a unique stay. Visiting La Cofradia is sure to be a tour that thrills tequila lovers. Contact the hotel directly for information about lockdown closures.

A distillery tour offers education about tequila's history and manufacture. Bone up on your tequila terms and tips for choosing quality tequila before you go, so you'll understand what you're tasting.

We don't know how to feel about winter this year. Sure, nobody likes the cold and dreary months, but there's something special about the Holiday season that just seems to be missing. Maybe the thought of staying inside and cozying up to a nice book isn't very enticing given the last few months. The joyful winter wonderland that we usually associate with winter seems to be missing.

That's why our editors decided to take it upon themselves and spread some delight with seasonal meals, courtesy of HelloFresh. For those who don't know what HelloFresh is, it's a meal-kit delivery service with dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes to choose from. Simply select which meals you want as well as how many servings and a neatly organized cardboard box will arrive at your doorstep within the week. Nobody wants to go out in the Winter anyway, and with HelloFresh, you don't have to!

To celebrate the arrival of the coldest season, we decided to highlight some of our favorite (and heartiest) recipes from HelloFresh that are perfect for the Holiday season. Here are five wholesome and balanced meals that will warm you up in no time.

Veggie Loaded Kale & Risoni Soup

A hearty and warm soup is a Winter staple and this veggie loaded kale and risoni soup from HelloFresh absolutely hits it out of the park. All anybody wants during the colder months is to feel cozy and nurtured--just like the flavorful bowl of nutrients. Warm and creamy risoni compliments the seasonal veggies perfectly and the side of garlic bread is a sure-fire cure for any winter blues. With 22 meals to pick from each week, this one is sure to be a household favorite.

Cheesy Red Pesto Chicken Melts

Everyone is familiar with classic green pesto, but have you ever tried red pesto? Red pesto offers way more complexity and oomph than its green counterpart. It is incredibly bright with rich notes of umami, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and garlic. This rendition also features hits of chargrilled capsicum for a little extra zest. You get the exact amount of each ingredient and seasoning, as well as super detailed recipe cards, that make meal prep a breeze. Spread it over a glistening chicken bread and sprinkle with cheese for delectable chicken melts.

Winter Risotto

Risotto is a great winter warmer. It's packed full of veggies so your body will light up like fire, but it's also silky, sumptuous and a real crowd pleaser. HelloFresh's Winter Risotto features a heart helping of kale that pairs perfectly with nutty Parmesan and crunchy walnuts for a robust taste. Did we mention that it also comes with fennel seeds sprinkled throughout? This unique seasoning adds a distinctive, yet delicious flavor to this classic winter staple. We know these meals are pretty hardy, which is why we love having the option to pause our subscription or cancel a week when need be.

Cheat's Italian Pork & Veggie Bolognese

A bolognese that only takes 30 minutes to make? Sign us up! This one is chock full of all the rich flavors of a classic Italian sauce. In fact, we're getting some serious Italian grandmother vibes with this recipe. Silky baby Spanish and grated carrots melt into a hearty meat sauce, offering a mouth-watering meal for anyone looking for a little zest. It's delivery quality, but much more affordable, plus you get to cook it yourself!

Smokey Mild Chorizo & Bean Chilli

Yet another clever twist on a weekday favorite! The paprika and garlic flavored cured sausage is a staple in our chopping baskets since it goes well with practically anything. Not only is Chorizo loved for its taste, but also for its ability to infuse sauces with its tantalizing flavor. This time around, HelloFresh has decided to spice up a classic bowl of bean chili with Spanish styling of a smokey mild chorizo. The end result? A mix of chorizo, red kidney beans, corn and avocado, and an irresistible flavor that everyone will love. This is just one of dozens of unique HelloFresh recipes you won't find anywhere else!

Gone are the days of trekking through the frigid cold just for a few groceries. Sign-up for HelloFresh today and get your ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. Time to start cozying up the right way, with a delicious meal and a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Update: Our friends at HelloFresh are extending a special Black Friday offer to our readers. Follow this link to get $90 off across 4 boxes including free shipping!