Top 10 Tips
Staying Healthy During Your Travels
- Wash your hands before putting anything in your mouth. Soap and water are best but not always available. Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer on you and a larger bottle in your suitcase to refill the miniature one.
- Try to avoid touching your face. Eyes, nose and mouth in particular.
- Drink only water that has been boiled or bottled water.
It’s not uncommon in some cities for vendors to refill water bottles and resell them to unsuspecting travelers. Make sure that you have to crack the seal open.
- If possible wash or wipe down the outside of the bottle if you are going to drink directly out of it. Stan got infected with leptospirosis, commonly known as ‘rat fever’. It could have been contracted from not washing his hands adequately before eating – or perhaps from a water bottle that a rat had run over in the store, depositing traces of urine on it.
- Dairy products can bring on bad bouts of diarrhea and throwing up.
- If you find yourself in areas where milk is scarce or refrigeration is sketchy, avoid drinking milk unless it is boiled.
- My golden rule: Don’t eat the butter. Even reputable hotels and restaurants leave butter standing out for too long before refrigerating it. Then they take it out and serve it again at the next meal.
- Be careful with yogurt, cheese, creamy ice cream, and mayonnaise. All these can make you sick if they have been standing unrefrigerated for too long.
- If you are not used to a regular diet of highly spiced food, I recommend that you go easy on it. Your stomach may rebel if you over indulge.
- Unless you are at a good restaurant or high-end hotel, don’t eat the lettuce. It has generally not been washed with purified water.
- Eat only vegetables that have been cooked. No salads and again avoid mayonnaise.
- Eat fruits that you can peel yourself unless you are eating at a reputable hotel or restaurant.
- Check if you will be visiting a place where the altitude is high. Example: Parts of South America, Tibet, Nepal etc.Altitude sickness is very unpleasant and can be avoided with natural remedies and prescription medication.
- Check if you will be visiting an area where malaria or dengue are prevalent. Medication can be taken to prevent malaria, but not at this time to prevent dengue. The best prevention is to use ointment or sprays and keep yourself covered in the early mornings and from the late afternoons onwards.
Note: The above are all general guidelines. We have stayed at wonderful inns, home-stays, and small hotels, many of which are family-run, where their standards are more trustworthy and even superior to a five-star hotel.
These guidelines also apply to the more off the beaten path and more remote destinations.