Tips on how to avoid food poisoning & diarrhea when travelling

Trying new, ethic, cultural or different types of food when I travel is a must, no matter the consequence.  

The key to trying new foods and eating locally abroad is to practice safe eating habits when you’re travelling.  Here are some great tips from to help you prevent nights on the toilet clutching your stomach so that you can enjoying all the interesting and cultural dishes that your destination has to offer.

More great travel tips from  Read up on How to Avoid Bed Bugs When Travelling so you can sleep tight; Safety Tips for Women Travelling Alone; or Backpacking 101: Essential Tips & Resources.

Tips on how to avoid food poisoning and traveller’s diarrhea

  • Consult your family doctor before you go on vacationGet exercise, rest, drink water, and eat lots of fruits, vegetables and yogurt before your trip to help boost your immune system – yogurt helps to build “good bacteria” in your system to fight off any bacteria that comes into your system from food when travelling abroad
  • Consult your family doctor or a travel clinic to make sure you have the proper shots or immunizations, and are aware of any specific medical/health threats in your travel destinations, what to avoid, and etc.
  • Before you leave, be sure to check the Center for Disease and Control website ( for the latest news and upates on your destination’s possible threats or dangers
  • Make sure you have food poisoning/diarrhea medication that contains antibiotics to fight the bacteria in your system (get a prescription from your family doctor or travel clinic)
  • Don’t just take medication that stops diarrhea, which are only to be used when on flights and situations where you can’t reach a comfortable bathroom right away – you want to get it out and not keep it in
  • Continually wash your hands and use anti-bacterial liberally before and after eating, dealing with money, going to the bathroom, and etc.
  • Eat hot fresh food, not food warmed by a lampEat food that’s fresh and hot, not food that’s being kept warm or that has been left out (even if it’s under heat lamps!)
  • Go to restaurants, stalls or vendors that are busy with lots of customers and where you can find a lot of locals eating
  • Dine at restaurants that have a high turnover in produce and get fresh deliveries of, i.e. fresh seafood, every day
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your servers questions about where their ingredients are sourced from and stay as local and in-season as possible (i.e. seafood dishes at in-land restaurants aren’t as fresh as seafood dishes on the coast)
  • Stay away from anything that comes in contact with non-bottled water, including washed vegetables/fruit, cutlery or dishware that might come into contact
  • Try to avoid fried foodBe wary of fried food, even if it’s freshly made in front of you – the oil used may be old and will not do good things for your stomach
  • Dairy products and pasteurization regulations for dairy changes from country to country, so if possible, stay away from dairy (milk, cheese) when travelling if it’s not from a trusted source
  • Don’t stray too far from your regular diet – going from healthy meals to a diet of super-spicy curries or rich creamy dishes will give you an upset stomach, no matter the destination
  • Be careful when it comes to meat, fish, and shellfish since proper storage and cooking practices is not always regulated – improperly stored and cooked food are the biggest causes of food poisoning when travelling
  • Be sure to get travel insurance for your trip, especially for health or medical emergencies when you’re visiting destinations known to have food poisoning – it’s the easiest way to deal with hospitals, avoid medical fees and get you home as soon as possible, if necessary

Happy travelling!

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