Top Health Concerns When Traveling Abroad

Contributor
How to avoid common vacation-wreckers, from unsafe drinking water to foodborne illness

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Read through nearly any travel story on The Daily Meal and you’ll see recommendations for street foods across the globe. In endless stories, we come back practically shouting the names and amazing dishes of otherwise nondescript street vendors. But what we don’t say very often (blame the flowery and clever writing) is that you have to know yourself, and your stomach, well before indulging in exotic and unprounceable street foods. There are countless health issues you can encounter when traveling abroad, not the least of which are foodborne, so preparation and eating with care is key.

Click here to see the Top Health Issues When Traveling Abroad Slideshow.

Buying fresh produce from local farmers markets or freshly grilled fish and meats from street stalls are some of our favorite parts of globe-trotting, but by keeping a few things in mind, many health issues that are easily avoided with some research — because no one wants to spend their holiday in a hotel room with cold sweats and nausea. One of the most basic ways to stave off illness is to find out how safe the drinking water is in your destination. Being aware means more than just buying a bottle of water to drink; you should also brush your teeth with that bottle and be wary of ice cubes added to drinks when you’re out and about.

Skipping unpasteurized and undercooked foods is important in staying healthy on the road. And when you’re perusing fruit and vegetable stalls at local markets, stick to fruits you can peel and maybe skip raw fruit that doesn't have a skin — they may not be as clean as you think. Factors like elevation and climate can change the way certain foods and drink affect you, so keep in mind, for example, that you’ll feel the effects of alcohol much quicker at higher elevations.

And should you come down with something while you’re abroad, there are a number of things you should be sure to do, from skipping caffeine and dairy to rehydrating. When you come home, you should be bursting with great stories of adventure, not complaints like: “Well the inside of my hotel room got old after a while.”