How To Eat And Drink Safely When Travelling

Everyone enjoys road trips and some travelling but nobody wants to be sick on such endeavors. In this short brief, we explore some safety rules to abide by when it comes to eating and drinking safely while travelling.

By Cookist

Travelling can be fun but it can become hell if there is contaminated food or drinks on board. These foods or drinks may cause travelers’ diarrhea and other diseases, which can disrupt your travel.

Keep reading to learn how to incorporate safer eating and drinking habits to lessen your chances of getting sick when you travel.

One universal rule is to always wash your hands with soap and water before eating or prepping food. If soap and water are not readily available, substitute with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Things To Consider When Travelling

  • Avoid lukewarm food: if you’re selecting food from a buffet or salad bar, ensure the hot food is steaming hot and the cold food is chilled. Germs that cause food poisoning grow quickly when food is between 40°F and 140°F.
  • Dry or packaged foods: Most pathogens need a damp environment to grow, so foods that are dry, such as potato chips, are usually safe. Also, food in factory-sealed containers, such as canned tuna or packaged crackers, are usually safe if they were not opened or handled by another person.
  • Baby formula: should you prepare some, make sure to use a safe source of water.
  • Raw foods: Avoid eating raw foods. Fruits or vegetables are better options if you can peel them yourself or wash them in bottled or disinfected water.
  • Tap water: Avoid the tap water in countries where the tap water might be contaminated. Do not swallow water when showering and remember to brush your teeth with bottled or disinfected water.
  • Ice: Do not use ice in places with limited access to clean water or where there is a concern about contaminated drinking water because it was likely made with tap water.
  • Bottled or canned drinks: Drinks from unopened, factory-sealed bottles or cans are safer options than tap water; however, be cautious as vendors in some countries may replace bottled water with untreated water. Sometimes, a drop of glue can be used to mimic the factory seal. Carbonated drinks in bottles or cans, such as sodas or sparkling water, are typically safe because the bubbles are proof that the bottle was sealed at the factory and not tampered with. Do not take drinks that have ice.
  • Hot drinks: Hot coffee or tea should be served steaming hot or it should be avoided. It’s fine to let it cool before you drink but it should not be cold upon serving. Also avoid coffee or tea that is served warm or at room temperature.

How to ensure your water is safe to drink 


To ensure water is safe to drink, there are several water treatment methods available for those on the road. Some of these methods include boiling, using chemical disinfectants, portable water filtration devices or ultraviolet light.

Below are the best ways to purify your water.

  • Boiling

Boiling water is the best way to make water safe to drink. The water should be brought to a rolling boil for 1 minute.

  • Chemical disinfectants

Chlorine and iodine chemical disinfectants come in many forms that can be easily carried. The chemical disinfectant should be purchased in Canada, if possible.

They may not remove all parasites so the water should also be filtered or boiled to ensure safety.

Iodine containing disinfectants should not be used by children, pregnant women, persons with thyroid problems.

  • Ultraviolet (UV) light

UV light devices are effective when it comes to disinfecting small quantities of clear water. Glit is not so effective in cloudy water because the germs can be shielded from the light by small particles.

  • Bottled water

Bottled water from a trusted source is a convenient alternative to water purification. Prior to drinking bottled water, ensure the seal has not been tampered and you should be good.

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