Food Safety Tips for Travel
By A'Dia G
There are two types of people when it comes to food. Some eat to live. Others live to eat. Personally, I like to consider myself a foodie. I genuinely love food. I’m always ready to try the newest things from vegan burgers to the craziest desserts. Regardless of your stance on food, food is essential. It keeps our bodies and minds going. Whether you’re at work or hanging with friends it’s critical to stay hydrated and eat what you consider "your normal”.
When traveling it is also important to keep up with your day-to-day eating and drinking habits, even while consuming those “vacation calories don’t count” calories. From traveling, I have gained insight on a few food nuances that I wish I knew beforehand.
Below are some great tips for eating while traveling internationally….
Let’s begin with the most basic rule. If you’re going to a foreign country, unless you are staying at a resort or hotel, please don’t drink the tap water! Bottled water quickly becomes your best friend when visiting another country. The water at the resorts and hotels are generally safer to drink since they are filtered. However, it’s okay to be extra cautious and only drink from the bottle. You know your body! So, if you have toddler tummy (if you know you know), then stick with the bottled water. Before my first international trip as a kid, my mom told me her experience in Mexico. Her and some friends had an amazing time and didn’t drink any tap water the entire trip. They missed one small important fact… don’t put ice in your drinks. Let’s just say… they were sick when they got back home.
*If you’re like me and try not to drink too much water while out on excursions, hydration packets are good to tie you over until you can drink more water. They can also help with the headaches that you may experience from the lower water intake *
Traveling abroad provides an opportunity to explore a world that is unknown to you. You can learn about culture, history and traditions of the land. You also get to enjoy and try some local cuisine. Since you may not know every little detail, such as the ingredients, it’s critical to communicate beforehand if you have a food allergy. Take it from my personal experience. I developed a nut allergy within the last eight years, which has definitely altered my approach to trying new foods. The severity of the allergic reactions varies by person. Please make sure you are prepared whether you need Benadryl or an EpiPen.
If you’re from the States like myself this next tip is for you. Other countries have stricter regulations for processing foods. In your travels you will notice that the food is fresher overseas. With that being said be prepared for your body to react to non-processed foods. Do not be surprised if you find yourself rushing to the bathroom.
Now I know we all might be feeling adventurous in a new country. During all this excitement you may forget the golden rule for food. If it looks funny to you, don’t try it. I’ve seen people try the craziest things. From roasted or chocolate covered insects to cow tongues to whale. One of the main purposes of traveling is to immerse yourself and try new things. Just know your body and your limits!