Getting sick while travelling can easily ruin your holiday. Many illnesses you may encounter while travelling are related to the food and drink you consume. Thankfully many of these can be avoided.
We may take for granted the food we eat has been properly prepared but this may not always be the case, especially when travelling internationally. Follow these helpful tips so as to avoid food related illnesses and enjoy a healthy holiday.
The Dreaded Gastro Bug or Traveller’s Diarrhoea
Nothing can ruin a holiday more than getting sick. Airplanes, trains, and cruise ships have the potential to spread illness quite easily and quickly. It is wise to always wash your hands or use sanitiser before handling or eating food.
Avoid buffets or any food that may have been exposed to or handled by many hands. You may even want to carry your own set of cutlery that you know will be clean.
Even the most cautious traveller can still be hit with a nasty travel bug so it is wise to protect yourself with travel insurance which will cover international medical care should you need it. It is quick and easy to obtain online travel insurance.
Drinking Tap Water
We often take for granted that the water coming out of our tap is safe to drink, but in many countries this is not the case. While travelling abroad it is wise to always stick to bottled water. You can purchase bottled water in bulk at the local grocery store to cut down on food and drink costs while travelling.
When ordering beverages besides water, be sure to request no ice as this is most certainly sourced from tap water which could contaminate your drink.
If trekking, be sure to boil water, make use of water purifiers, or chemically disinfect water with iodine tablets.
Street Food Vendors
Street food can be delicious and is a big part of the travel experience. However, be aware that street vendors may not have the same hygiene standards that well known restaurants have. They may not have adequate facilities to wash their hands or utensils and refrigeration could be an issue.
Street food is often more exposed to the elements such as the heat and insects which can spoil or contaminate food.
We take our allergies with us when we travel so we must take steps to assure we don’t consume food which could harm us while travelling. It is a good idea if travelling internationally to carry with you a card written in your chosen destination’s language which states which allergies you have. You can present this to restaurants so they can serve you an adequate meal.
The best way to avoid food allergy contaminations is to cook for yourself. You can easily find self catering accommodation and shop at the local grocery store. This will not only avoid possible miscommunication between you and a waiter but will also save money of food costs while travelling.
When grocery shopping internationally, carry a guide or download a helpful app which can translate ingredients you are allergic to such as lactose or gluten so you can read product labels easily.
Consuming alcohol can cause a whole range of problems. Apart from impacting your health, if you drink while on holidays, your travel insurance claim might be denied
In addition to the usual impacts alcohol can have on your health, many travel destinations have been known to have cases of alcoholic drink contamination or spiking. The best option is always to enjoy your holidays sober.
Raw or Undercooked Food
It is best to avoid raw foods especially when it comes to meats. Order your steak or other meat medium-well to well-done to be safe. Raw seafood and fish meals such as oysters or sashimi should be avoided.
Any products which contain raw eggs should be avoided as should unpasteurised dairy products. Not all countries pasteurise their milk and cheese.
Fruits and Vegetables
Some countries may not have as high of quality standards when it comes to the production and cleaning of produce. Only select fruits that can be peeled as you don’t know how they were washed. Fruits may have simply been cleaned in contaminated water. Same goes for vegetables where it may be wiser to simply stick to cooked varieties.
Be sure to peel fruits yourself and avoid ones that have been pre-cut for you.