Traveling abroad is a wonderful way to experience new sights, sounds, and tastes. However, if one has a sensitive stomach, finding foods to eat while traveling abroad can be a challenge. This is not to say the cuisines abroad aren't absolutely delicious, but eating something brand new all day every day can be strenuous on the stomach. Here is what I did to keep myself from getting sick while traveling abroad. These pointers are pretty general because every country's cuisines and environmental factors are different, but this is what helped me!
- Research your destination country's water quality
- In Mexico, the water quality is poor so it was important to remember not to eat raw vegetables served in restaurants that may have been washed with sink water.
- Because of the water quality, we needed to drink out of bottled water and use bottled water to brush our teeth. This kept us from getting sick from the tap water.
- Periodically eat something close to home
- While abroad, I found that occasionally eating something familiar really helped settle my stomach. Even something as simple as a ritz cracker helped act as an anchor in the sea of new foods.
- A little goes a long way
- If you have the chance to try something new, especially spicy, resist the urge to go all in. I would advise to try a little at first and see how your stomach responds, however tempting it may be to have a huge plate of hot peppers!
- When in doubt, ask!
- I was on a faculty-led study abroad trip, so whenever I was in doubt about whether the ice was clean, or what the ingredients are, or whether I should eat something, I would ask my professor. However if you do not have a professor, I would put a little search into google if you're feeling unsure about eating something.
These are just a few tips that helped me settle my stomach and kept me from getting sick while abroad. Everyone is different and every place is different, but being extra careful and intentional with what you eat can save you from a world of hurt! I remember one night I just decided to go to a dominos for a small taste of home, and it made all the difference! If you're like me, when you're abroad it's tempting to have something new and authentic for every meal, but sometimes having something familiar in your stomach can really help. I hope this helps all past and future travelers to make their travels more enjoyable!