Health & Medical

What to do if you get food poisoning on holiday

Reading time: 2 minutes

One of the best parts about travelling the world is getting to taste different cuisines. Pizza in Italy. Enchiladas in Mexico. Pad Thai in Thailand. Delicious as these might sound, however, even the most adventurous stomachs have been known to fall to foreign foods.

Sometimes, your stomach isn’t accustomed to the ingredients used to make the food, but other times sickness is a result of poor cooking conditions. These can lead to conditions like Bali belly, Delhi belly, Montezuma’s revenge, traveller’s diarrhoea or just old fashioned food poisoning. You don’t need too much imagination to figure out what these illnesses will do to you – but they’ll certainly ruin your holiday!

That’s why we want to help you prevent getting food poisoning on holiday so you can enjoy your travels. And just in case you do find yourself wrapped around a toilet bowl (because it does happen), we’ve got some tips to get you on the mend as well!

How to prevent food poisoning when travelling

Avoid the greens

Good news for salad haters, when you’re in places that are known for having unsanitary tap water, like Southeast Asia, you have to be wary about the greens (or any raw produce). Often, they’re washed in the dirty water which could contain diseases like giardia. So while you might think you’re indulging in a healthy meal, in reality you’re putting yourself at risk.

In general, water in many places isn’t as clean as what comes out of Australian taps. So often it’s safer to go for bottled or sparkling – and skip the ice cubes!

Only eat where it’s busy

You don’t have to wait in line to grab some food, but when you’re in a foreign country and you aren’t sure about certain restaurants or markets you want to err on the side of caution. The locals know where the good grub is anyway!

Make sure it’s hot

When you’re visiting countries like Thailand (or even if you’re just attending one of Australia’s noodle markets) you want to make sure the food you’re selecting at the markets is hot. Higher temperatures ensure harmful germs that cause digestive issues are killed off, while cool temperatures only promote growth. Additionally, food that’s been sitting around for too long risks contamination from disease-carrying insects.

Useful (but kind of weird) tips for curing stomach illnesses

Eat some burnt toast

That’s right, burnt toast is actually a great stomach ache cure and one of the easiest remedies to find on your travels. The carbon from the char absorbs toxins and helps them move out of your body faster. Just skip the butter, that might be a little too heavy on an already upset stomach.

Serve up a bowl of yoghurt

Don’t let this freak you out – but the probiotic qualities of yoghurt are really from live bacteria. You’re probably thinking bacteria is the reason you’re in this mess, but these are the good kind! Opt for a plain yoghurt, as sweeter options with added flavours can make your Bali belly worse.

Seek a helping hand

If you’re really struggling to recover from an ailment get in touch with our Emergency Assistance team, they will be able to offer a helping hand and if need be point you to the direction of a reputable doctor nearby.


TID is an Australian online travel insurance company.

Travel Alert: Cover is not available for loss arising from government restrictions including travel bans, border closures and broadly imposed quarantine requirements, or failure to follow government advice. If your travel is affected by government restrictions, we have options available if you no longer need your policy. See our travel alerts.


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