Food poisoning is a vacation ruiner. My sister, Kelly, has taught me lots of tricks to ensure that we don’t get sick in far away places like the jungles of Costa Rica or the Sahara Desert. Here are our tips for not getting food poisoning while traveling.
Firstly, you should check the CDC and State Department websites and get any necessary vaccines. It also doesn’t hurt to pack some Pepto.
Drink bottled water and do not have ice. This applies in countries where the tap water is not safe for tourists to drink. (Places like Indonesia, Morocco, Costa Rica, etc – I have never had a problem drinking tap water in Europe). Sometimes you will be told that the water is ok for brushing your teeth but not for drinking. In this case, I like to be on the safe side and I use bottled water to brush my teeth. It’s not worth risking it. The first thing I do when I check into my room is to put a bottle of water right in the sink to help me remember not to use tap water.
If cans of soda (or beer) are kept in ice water, quickly rinse the top of the can off with bottled water.
Be thoughtful about the fruits and vegetables you eat. Cooked vegetables are better than raw. Fruits with a peel or rind – like oranges and melon are safer than strawberries or tomatoes.
As always, you want hot food to be hot and cold food to be cold. Food that is not served at the proper temperature is dangerous.
Sure try new food – but don’t go nuts. I wouldn’t recommend trying new foods that you could potentially be allergic to. If you have never had shellfish or a type of nut before, maybe don’t try it for the first time in a foreign country.
Sometimes glass bottles of soda get refilled. The bottles will be sealed shut but will look weathered. Avoid drinking these if you want to be really cautious.
Be extremely cautious about eating street food. Asking hotels for recommendations or going on a food tour are pretty good methods of vetting. Checking TripAdvisor is good too – just be sure to read the most recent comments.
Do you have any tips? Share them in the comments!