Good evening! Today, we’ll be talking about safety, about maintaining our health during a trip to an exotic place. As we saw of the last post of this blog, there are awesome opportunities to try local foods from street food stands to be able to really experience the destination like the locals, but we also have to be cautious.
When we are trying to experience a destination to the fullest, we need to try what the locals are eating, try foods outside of your hotel buffet. But then, these foods could be dangerous. Although, in many cases, you can’t trust the hotel’s chef either. Today, we’ll learn to be prepared to avoid getting sick and also dealing with it if we end up feeling bad during our trip.
My trip to Egypt, in 2006, was the best and the worst trip I have ever taken. The best, because it is one of the most authentic places I have ever visited, and I collected great memories and experiences there, but I was sick from day 2 until I got back home 9 days later. Even though I was cautious enough not to drink tap water, every time I had something on the cruise buffet, my body would ‘abandon’ me. I felt sick instantly and had to stay in my hotel bathroom for a while. I had to avoid eating anything until I was back to the cruise room, so I could be sick at night, next to my bathroom, instead of being sick while trying to visit temples and museums. So no, not only street food can give you food poisoning, but also the 4/5 starts hotel you are sleeping in.
Stay away from tap water. Under no circumstances, you should drink tap water. Always use bottled water, even to brush your teeth. In many parts of the world, the legislation is not as strict about health standards as what the majority of us traveling are used to. the water from the tap is mostly unprocessed, which can cause us spending the whole trip sick in bed.
You should always purchase a ton of bottled water and request bottled water in local restaurants and hotel food courts. Actually, I would advise you to purchase it yourself to assure that the bottle was sealed, since in some places they offer to open and pour it for you, and it was not sealed, it was refilled with cold tap water. You should avoid ice also, and if the restaurant doesn’t have bottled water, ask for a carbonated drink.
–This happened to me in Egypt, we spend 4 or 5 days in the cruise through the Nile and I was very sick already. Then, we had a short place ride to El Cairo to spend the last 4 days of our trip. On the plane,(I thought I was safe there) I purchased a bottle of water to take a rehydration tablet and when they brought it, they opened it for me. And, let me just say, I am not sure how I made it to the hotel… I had to miss the evening excursion that day and stay in.
Apart from just water, we should be cautious with the food. Two things can harm our health relating food, if it has been cleaned and cooked with tap water, and if it is fresh and well handled, or it has been standing there in the sun for the whole morning.
I know some people would think that avoiding street food at all is the safest, but to experience the destination to the fullest, we really need to eat what the locals are eating. and that, itself, is a good advice. Eat what the locals are eating, if a street food stand has no line, and the next one has 10 people lining up for their food, trust the locals! they know what is best, and they won’t be lining up for something that is going to make them sick.
Always try to buy foods that they are cooked in front of you, eat it straight from the heat. Trust your senses, look around the place, and check how the cook / waiter handles your food.
If they are cooking it in front of you, make sure it looks fresh when they move it from the refrigerator to the grill/oven. looking out for an old meat appearance(or smell), or specially watch out for old fish.
For snacking, it is best to purchase either fresh breads and sweets that I baked on site, at the store oven. Or prepackaged/sealed treats.
It is a good idea to snack on fresh veggies sand fruit, but only those with peels, so you can peel the exterior and the rest will be safe to eat.
Some of us, many of us, can’t handle spicy food, but in some places, it is difficult to find something to eat that doesn’t contain a lot of spices.
If possible, try to order a side dish or cheese, or any kind of fat sauce, or yogurt next to your main spicy fish.
Also, drink milk, and incorporate more carbs to soften the spices. eat more pita bread, more rice, pasta…
And if you are as lucky as I am to be sensitive to spicy food and lactose intolerant..oh well, we came to play! lol
We should always be prepared in case we get sick. Bringing a list of the nearest hospitals, pharmacies, and emergency phone numbers is always a good idea. You should always carry some of these: fever reducers, antibiotics, antihistamines, probiotic capsules and pain-killers.
It is always good to carry hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes to use at all times and specially before eating.
And it is very important to carry tablets to help our stomach like: antidiarrheals, electrolute powder or rehydration tablets like @phizz or @nuun
If traveling to a really exotic location and plan to engage into high levels of adventure, sleeping in the woods, cliff jumping… I also advise to get travel insurance, just in case.
Remember it is normal to feel a little weird, your stomach can feel a little out of place but that’s fine.
If you still can go out and walk around your destination, enjoy your trip!
Hope you liked this post, if you have any comments, questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate in commenting below or contact me.
If you want to collaborate in the blog, with your experiences or your trip’s photos, get in touch!
The great picture of this post was taken by the Instagram user: @lunamontico Check out their page!