Food Poisoning whilst Travelling: How to avoid it, what to do when it happens & real life horror stories.

February 8, 2018

When you’ve been looking forward to a holiday or travel experience for weeks, maybe months it can come as a huge blow to spend a significant chunk of your break confined to the bathroom with a serious case of food poisoning. Sadly it happens. It happens a lot. The combination of unsanitary preparation and storage techniques can wreak havoc on our delicate tummies.

I’ve put together a few simple tips that you can follow to avoid becoming ill on your next trip, what to do if you DO get sick…plus some personal tales from fellow bloggers about what can happen when the proverbial hits the fan!

Tips to Avoid Food Poisoning

  1. Wash your own hands. Your own hands can very easily be your downfall. Make sure you wash them well before eating or take a good sanitiser with you for your day trips.
  2. Look for foods that are hot and steaming. Try to avoid hot foods that look like they may have been sat on display for long periods of time. This is especially important if you choose to stay in an all-inclusive type resort where foods can be left under heat lamps for hours at a time.
  3. Look for obvious signs of hygiene. Are the staff wearing gloves? Hair nets? Utensils? Do a bit of simple detective work before deciding whether to dine at a venue by looking for a few signs that they take hygiene seriously.
  4. Drink bottled water. Unclean water is a common source of illness for travellers so stick to bottled water and avoid ice cubes in drinks.
  5. Check your meat. Does it looked cooked inside? It needs to be cooked through. How has it been stored? Look for signs that the meat has been covered and ideally refrigerated. How has it been cooked? Look for signs that the food will have been cooked thoroughly and is piping hot.

How to Treat Food Poisoning

  1. Drink plenty of water. You will also need to replace electrolytes by drinking juice, fizzy drinks or rehydration salts.
  2. Rest. Give the sunbathing a break and stay in bed. Keep cool and lay off any alcohol.
  3. Stick to plain foods and avoid dairy if you can.
  4. Seek medical help if you have blood in your stools, vomiting / diarrhoea continues for a number of days, you have signs of dehydration or if a child /elderly person becomes ill.
  5. Seek guidance on claiming compensation if you feel your holiday company may be at fault in causing your illness.

I’m sure nearly everyone has experienced some aspect of a dodgy tummy whilst travelling, it’s certainly not unusual. I’ve caught up with a few fellow travel bloggers to hear their experiences:

Katy, who writes travel blog Otis and Us suffered food poisoning during a visit to Ibiza says, I won’t lie. It was absolutely horrendous. I made it home after a week in hospital and over a stone lighter…. I learned a lot that holiday. Do your research and choose where you eat wisely…and holiday insurance is an absolute must.

Alana who writes Baby Holiday had a bad experience in Fiji, My husband had horrific food poisoning in Fiji. I ended up following a random man on a horse to find the nearest shop to stiock up on Powerade because he was so dehydrated. It’s the only time I’ve watched the Oscars from start to finish!

Kate from Ever After with Kids suffered on her honeymoon in Thailand, Big mistake to book the romantic suite with see through doors! We ended up watching each other poop the whole time. The least romantic honeymoon in history!

Finally Frances from Whinge Whinge Wine shares her experience of a really challenging holiday with her young children which was ruined by a catalogue of disasters, including food poisoning.

Being aware of what you eat and drink on holiday can make the difference between the trip of a lifetime and an experience you’d simply rather forget. Keep your wits about you and most food poisoning can be avoided leaving you free to kick back and enjoy your travels.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written in conjunction with Accident Advice Helpline.



  • Katy

    February 19, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Thanks so much for including Otis and Us in this fab article. Some great advice here Zoe, after my experience I tend to stay away from food that can be easily reheated, and I was so grateful for my travel insurance, they definitely helped in a stressful situation xx

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