Traveling is great fun, but even this amazing activity has its downsides. One of them is the fact that travelers often develop digestive problems. Those are especially prevalent among those who visit countries with a low hygiene level. Conditions like traveler diarrhea might not be particularly dangerous, but they can ruin your trip through sheer discomfort. And there is always the risk of the problem getting so severe, it becomes life-threatening. Planning your meals well and taking a variety of precautions before eating will help you avoid stomach issues. How to avoid stomach problems while traveling.Take a look at my recommendations on Avoid Stomach Problems When Traveling.
How to Prevent Digestive Issues When Traveling
1. Stick to bottled water only
Tap water is a big taboo for travelers who go anywhere but Western Europe, Australia, the US, Iceland, Canada, Greenland, New Zealand, and Japan. That’s what the Traveler’s Guide to Tap Water says. However, that information might not be 100% accurate, so to minimize the risks, you should stick to bottled water only.
If you stay in Airbnb apartments with filtration systems, be sure to research the country’s local tap water standards. Find out of this system is sufficient to make the water safe for drinking. And then boil it anyway, just to be safer.
2. Stick to healthy food choices
Trying new cuisines is one of the greatest joys of traveling. However, if you want to avoid digestive problems, you need to make very sensible decisions about what you eat. This means that all that greasy street food is out of the question, no matter how good it smells.
In order to stay healthy and reduce the risk of indigestion (new cuisine is stress enough) you should plan your every meal meticulously. Research restaurants you plan to visit and do some reading on healthy travel food. When you buy fresh food, stick to reputed markets or shops and check the produce for freshness. Always wash and cook your food thoroughly. Remember the warning about the water. If it’s not safe to drink, eating food washed under the tap is also risky.
Stick to healthy foods as that way you run less risk of getting food poisoning. Be very careful about meat and only buy it from reputed vendors.
3. Follow the locals (but be reasonable)
If the pull of local delicacies that don’t seem 100% safe is too strong, watch the crowd around the shops. Stick to the places where you can see many locals as those are more likely to provide both safe and delicious food.
However, remember that sometimes it’s the cooking method and spices that might cause digestive issues. This doesn’t mean you should avoid local foods completely. But you do need to have stomach medications in your first-aid kit.
4. Buy things you know
When buying snacks or other packaged products, stick to the brands you know or watch what the locals buy. If you have a chance, do some online research of the brands. You definitely should study the list of ingredients. Reputed brands should have it in English as well as the native language of the country. It’s a mandatory requirement for food labeling in the majority of countries.
5. Be prepared
Sometimes no matter what you do, digestive issues will happen. Having meds on you will definitely help. But if the situation gets too serious, you need to know where to seek medical help. Do your research before the trip and check yourself in a hospital if the symptoms are getting worse.