Food is a big part of travel. One of the greatest joys of a vacation can be experiencing incredible meals in a new environment. However, if you’re not so lucky, you could wind up spending a lot more time in places that you never intended — like a bathroom or even a hospital bed.
More than 200 known diseases can be transmitted through food. In our daily lives, we know which food-related situations to avoid. But when we’re outside of our comfort zone, we may not have the knowledge or language skills to save ourselves from illness. Even if you’re a seasoned traveler, caution is critical. Here are some essential ways to ensure you’re eating safely while you’re on vacation.
Do Your Research
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a great place to start if you’re going to an unfamiliar destination. They have resources for every country in the world, which will give you a baseline knowledge of how to eat and drink safely once there.
It may also be helpful to learn as much as you can about the local cuisine. Some popular locations cater to visitors with special ‘tourist menus’, which are full of cheap, inauthentic dishes. Being able to spot the dishes that are treasured local specialties will unlock a new world of incredible food.
If you’re not fluent in the native language of your destination, take the time to learn a few food-related phrases before you go. Knowing how to ask for bottled water, or inquire about allergens, will come in very handy. Don’t be shy about asking questions, even if your language skills are lacking. You’d be surprised how far hand gestures or Google Translate will get you!
Bring Easily Packable Snacks
If you’re going to be on the go often, bringing healthy snacks from home will help you bridge the gap between meals. Some of our favorites include:
These non-perishable items can be tucked into a suitcase and taken over any international border.
Be Careful with Produce and Water
If you're cooking your own meals, it's vital to be careful with any fruits and vegetables you plan to eat. Make sure to wash anything you buy — and to make sure the water you're using is clean. Use purified water if necessary.