Travel Tips > Holiday Health > Foreign food and drink - eating and drinking safely

Foreign food and drink - eating and drinking safely abroad

If you like being adventurous with food then you probably love experiencing new cuisine when you are on holiday. Sampling local produce as fresh as it comes and trying new dishes all adds to the adventure of travel.

Some foreign food can cause a stomach upset if it's been hanging around or it hasn't been properly prepared. Tap water also causes problems as water filtration abroad isn't always as good as it is at home. Take care when eating and drinking abroad and you are less likely to fall ill.

Foreign food

  • Avoid meals that have been hanging around and kept warm
  • Avoid meals that aren't piping hot throughout
  • Steer clear of food that has flies buzzing around it
  • Only eat raw fruit and vegetables that you have peeled yourself
  • Shellfish or undercooked fish can harbour bacteria
  • Reef fish can result in ciguatera fish poisoning so it's best avoided
  • Don't eat unpasteurised dairy products - even tempting ice creams
  • Be wary of food from street vendors that may have been prepared in an unhygienic environment
  • Use sachets instead of bottled condiments that have been open for a while
  • Make sure meat is well cooked
  • Avoid food that contains raw eggs
  • Eat a well balanced diet to keep your energy levels high
  • Be specific if you are a vegetarian - some countries may serve 'vegetarian' food that contains meat!
  • If you are allergic to any food, learn the translation in the local language

Drinking abroad

  • Drink bottled water and make sure the lid is properly sealed
  • Use bottled water when you are brushing your teeth
  • Don't have ice cubes in drinks - they were probably made from tap water
  • Don't drink too much alcohol. Alcohol and hot weather can lead to dehydration, and hangovers can spoil a holiday
  • Take iodine or water purification tablets if you need to drink tap water. Boiling water for a few minutes will also kill any germs
  • Don't accept drinks from strangers
  • Drink plenty of water in hot climates to counteract the effects of dehydration
  • Hot tea or coffee is usually safe to drink

Eating and drinking abroad should be part of the enjoyment of your holiday. If you are sensible with food and you adopt good hygiene practices when you are eating, then you are less likely to fall ill.

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