Food and Travel: Ten Food Safety Tips When Traveling Abroad 

One of the most exciting aspects of travel is trying foreign and exotic food. 

Indeed, tasting foreign flavors and sampling various cuisines so different from the one you are used to can be a thrilling activity to look forward to. As enthusiastic as you are about eating food abroad, however, you cannot throw caution to the wind and fearlessly go on a food trip. Sure, you may call yourself an intrepid eater with a penchant for street food, but you may be unaware of what is lurking in your meals. Unfortunately, it can be easy to mindlessly eat when traveling, which is why food safety is paramount. 

So, whether you wish to take your daring tastebuds on an adventure by going on a Cebu Food Trip or try out the local cuisine of a foreign country, below are some recommended tips you should keep in mind: 

1.) Plan Ahead 

Planning ahead means that you need to research your destination prior to your trip. Find out what you can about the place and include pertinent things such as food safety issues or anything else that can potentially arise during your trip. That said, you also need to know whether your destination has a drinkable water supply or if medical care is immediately available should anything untoward occur or if you fall ill. 

2.) Visit Your Healthcare Provider Before You Go 

Prior to your departure, be sure to pay your healthcare provider a visit and find out what vaccines you would need for your trip. Depending on your destination, you may need new or updated vaccinates. Also, take time to stock up on your prescription medicines before your trip, as your destination may not have them. Lastly, do not forget to purchase over-the-counter medications as well. Do not simply rely on what you can buy at pharmacies abroad, as you may need it sooner than you do. In this way, you can easily have something to drink to alleviate any gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas, diarrhea, or heartburn should they arise. 

3.) Pack the Essentials 

In this time and age, it is imperative to have hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes that can be used to keep your hands and surfaces clean. It is also a good idea to stock up on nonperishable food items in your carry-on bag. However, make sure that these are not liquids, as you may not be allowed to bring them to the plane. Airports may have food options, but they are likely expensive. So, pack nonperishable snacks in your luggage which you can eat during the long flight. 

Similarly, it is a good idea to bring a travel health kit and have your insurance card in your wallet. Be sure to stash your prescription and over-the-counter medicines here. 

4.) Be cautious

It is nice to be a little adventurous but always keep your guard up. Do not be fooled by appearances of cleanliness in well-traveled areas, and if you are in doubt, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Also, avoid drinking tap or well water. You are always better off drinking from sealed and bottled beverages.

5.) Curb your curiosity 

Intrepid and curious travelers may be tempted to try food from roadside and unknown roadside vendors. However, avoiding these can keep you from getting sick. Also, it is a good idea to avoid exotic dishes such as prepared monkey brains or unusual wild game and bushmeat regardless of how curious and adventurous your tastebuds are. 

6.) Avoid raw meat, fish, shellfish, and eggs 

It is always better to err on the side of caution. With that in mind, it is best to avoid dishes that contain any raw meat, fish, shellfish, and eggs. Keep in mind that microorganisms travel fast, and it is easy to get sick from raw, undercooked, and contaminated food. 

7.) Keep away from food that has been sitting at room temperature 

Food sitting at room temperature tends to harbor bacteria. In any case, room temperature falls within the temperature where bacteria thrive. All that considered, you may want to avoid eating from buffet-style restaurants as the food served may not always be at safe temperatures. More importantly, buffets tend to attract a lot of people, which means that food can easily become mishandled or contaminated. That said, it is best to stick to hot or cold food served fresh instead. 

8.) If you have to ask, do not drink 

If you find yourself asking a restaurant whether it is safe to drink their water, you are better off ordering a bottled or sealed beverage. Avoid tap water at all costs, which means that you should avoid ingesting cocktails, ice, and water as much as possible. Also, keep in mind that undrinkable tap water may be contaminated with parasites, amoebas, and other viruses such as hepatitis. 

9.) Always wash your hands 

The golden rule of hygiene is to always wash your hands often. This may have escaped your notice, but there is a likely chance you are not washing your hands enough. So, whether you are at home or abroad, always practice proper hand-washing as it is the vital key to preventing foodborne illnesses. Also, be sure to use soap when you wash your hands, as water alone would not kill the bacteria residing in our hands. Should soap and water be unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead. 

10.) Take care of yourself if you get sick 

Whether you are abroad or at home, it is imperative to stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of water with you always and take small sips every now and then. Should you experience symptoms and fall ill, be sure to seek medical treatment immediately!

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