What You Should Know Before You Go


Planning to hit the road or fly to a new destination? You may be at risk for becoming sick or having a medical emergency, especially if you’re traveling to developing countries (including most of Asia, Africa, Mexico, Middle East, and Central and South America)! Traveler’s diarrhea is the most common travel-related illness; though it is not life-threatening for most healthy adults, it can cause an unpleasant trip.

You can reduce your risk for traveler’s diarrhea and other related diseases with safe eating and drinking habits. Here’s what you need to know on how to steer clear of travel sickness so you can enjoy your vacation or quick getaway:


Usually safe to eat:

  • Fully cooked, hot food (served steaming hot)
  • Dry or packaged food (unopened and factory-sealed)
  • Fruits and vegetables washed in safe water and peeled yourself
  • Pasteurized dairy products


  • Raw food (includes fruits, vegetables and fresh condiments)
  • Street food
  • Bushmeat (i.e. local wild game – source of animal-origin diseases)
  • Flavored ice or popsicles


Usually safe to drink:  

  • Bottled or canned drinks (carbonated are safer)
  • Hot water, coffee or tea (served steaming hot)
  • Pasteurized and sealed dairy products (e.g. milk, cheese and yogurt)
  • Alcohol (avoid drinks “on the rocks” or with ice)


  • Tap water (includes swallowing water when showering or brushing your teeth) 
  • Fountain drinks
  • Ice (most likely made with tap water)
  • Freshly squeezed juice (unless fruit was properly washed in safe water)



  • Wash hands properly with soap and water* (especially before eating and after using the bathroom)
  • Check to see that utensils and dishes are clean.
  • Keep hands away from your mouth

*If unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer


For more advice, check out this infographic and download the Center for Disease Control’s app  “Can I Eat This?” on making safe food and drink choices during your travel!





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