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How to Avoid Food Poisoning When Traveling

Almost nothing ruins a trip quicker than an ugly bout of food poisoning. Eating or drinking something wrong could easily confine you to a toilet seat for the remainder of your vacation, but it has happened to the best of us.

Do you live for exotic food and street side concoctions? Then, chances are you’re not a stranger to an upset stomach. It doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s what you can do to avoid food poisoning while traveling:


1. Spend on water

Drink plenty of water

Ordering bottled water for every meal could very quickly rack up your expenses. But if you have a sensitive stomach, then risking it with “service water” is not worth it. Better yet, fill up a jug with drinking water before you leave.

2. Eat it hot

Steamed bun

Ordering freshly cooked food doesn’t only taste better, it’s actually safer to eat as well. You don’t want to consume something that’s been sitting there for hours.

When in doubt, have them refry it, any germ or bug will die if exposed to really high heat — better oily than dirty!

3. Go where locals dine

Locals dining
Editorial Credit: David Bokuchava /

It’s hard to go wrong with a well-loved local find, so go where the crowds are. Unlike tourist traps, local restaurants have repeat customers, which means they have higher standards to keep.

A restaurant or food stall with lines probably means they’ll have to keep churning out freshly cooked food.

4. Be (slightly) judgmental


Is the person preparing your food wearing a hairnet? Does he handle your food with gloves? Check for some signs of hygiene, because if you don’t care about those things, then you aren’t entirely blameless.

Of course, buying anything from the street will mean you have to lower your standards a bit. At the very least, the prep area should appear sanitary — you be the judge.

5. Peel it yourself

Fruit stand

Eyeing the local fruit? If you want to be safe about it, opt for the unpeeled ones. While this is more of a hassle on your end, at least you can wash it yourself and the edible layer is still protected.

6. Skip the ice

Glass ice cube

If you can do without the ice cubes, then your drink is safer without. If you really want to make sure, check the shape — is it uniformed? Restaurants usually get iced delivered from a reliable source with filtered ice, which typically comes in a recognizable commercial standard.

7. Wash your hands


We’re all adults here, so we shouldn’t even have to remind you, but always always keep your hands clean. You don’t even know it, but your own lack of hygiene could get you bed ridden for days.

8. Do your research

Do reserach

Before visiting a foreign country, find out the best places to eat. The internet is your oyster (get it?)!

While there’s a certain joy in stumbling upon places on your own, you really can’t risk it with food. If you’re unsure, don’t eat it, especially if it involves seafood or dairy.

This is not to say that being adventurous is a bad thing. If you have a stomach of steel, then go ahead!

All set for your Manila travel? Check out these recommmended street food in the Philippines