Not everywhere you travel will have clean water or the same standards for food safety as you enjoy at home. But food is one of the most important ways to experience local culture and customs. You want to eat safe but you don’t want to be limited to your hotel, resort, or the tourist area restaurants. Here are a few tips for safe eating while traveling to a second or third world country.
Do Your Homework
Head online to see the most common food safety concerns in the country you are traveling to, paying particular attention to whether or not you can drink the water. Don’t forget, it’s not just plain water that you have to be concerned with as coffee, tea, drinks with ice, and many restaurant beverages may be made with local tap water. So, learn how to request purified water in the language of the country you are traveling to. Keep things as green as possible by bringing a reusable water bottle with you and arrange to buy refillable bottles of purified water in your hotel or Airbnb.
Take A Top Rated Food Tour
Food tours are places that cater to travelers with less sensitive immune and digestive systems. Look for a top-rated tour on sites like TripAdvisor or Google Reviews as you can rest assured that they go to quality regional restaurants. Go on the first day or two of your trip so that you can return to the restaurants you enjoyed most, and ask your tour guide for additional restaurant recommendations.
Check Online Reviews
Check online reviews but keep in mind that many restaurants may only have a Facebook page and not a website—or they may not have any online presence. Pay attention to traveler reviews as locals have an immunity to the local bacteria. None of these tips are foolproof but they can minimize your risk. Come prepared with pumpkin seeds, activated charcoal and maybe even antibiotics just incase you or a loved one gets sick.
Last but not least, ask your hotel for some great off the beaten path food stands and locally owned restaurants!