How to avoid food poisoning when travelling abroad

Levante Beach at sun set

Is anyone else lamenting the loss of our ever so average summer? I know I am. We decided to stay at home this year, staycation they said, it will be fun, they said! But with the number of hours we spent indoors due to rain seriously outweighing the amazingly fun ‘organic summer’ I had planned it put a bit of a downer on the entire summer holidays. The moment the kids went back to school I started planning our getaway for next year and this time it will involve getting on a plane and jetting off somewhere hot.

The more holidays I’ve planned over the years, the wiser I’ve become, however, a few years ago when Lewis and Holly were only toddlers I decided to take them on a last minute trip to Greece. I chose a quiet all-inclusive family resort and was so looking forward to long balmy nights on the sun terrace, cocktail in one hand and a good book in the other as the children slept soundly after spending their days having fun in the sun.

That was what I had in mind, sadly, the reality was very, very different…

All-inclusive was like a dream come true for me; no cooking and no washing up for an entire week makes for one happy mama. But I was soon to discover that beneath an innocent looking buffet spread can lurk some serious nasties: yep, you guessed it the dreaded holiday food poisoning.

Our entire week was ruined and the all-you-can-eat food and drink was definitely the culprit.

I can’t be 100% clear whether it was the buffet food that Lewis and Holly had eaten that had made them so sick or if it was that we had ice in our drinks but what I do know is that two vomiting toddlers with the worst diarrhoea I’ve ever had to deal with contributed to one of the worst weeks of my life. I will never look back fondly at that holiday: having poorly little ones at home is one thing, but when you’re couped up in a hotel room getting through the bed linen and towels at an alarming rate it is the worst. It was a dire situation that could have been avoided if the hotel had taken the proper precautions and if I’d known about all the risks when it comes to eating and drinking safely when abroad.

Holiday illnesses are often caused by one or more of the following causes:

  • Eating contaminated food
  • Eating undercooked food
  • Drinking contaminated water

What can you do to avoid food poisoning on holiday?

I’ve put together a useful infographic with a few tips to remind you how to avoid food or contaminated water poisoning.

How to avoid food poisoning when travelling abroad

If you start to feel unwell:

  • Firstly,  alert the hotel manager and ask for the hotel accident book to record your illness.
  • Secondly, speak to your holiday rep or contact their offices to also let them know.

Take photos – and record the date and time the photographs were taken.

Take a sample – try to also get a sample taken at the local hospital or as soon as you return to the UK, which can identify the exact bacteria that caused your illness. It is important you try to get this done as quickly as possible as bacteria may only survive for a few days.

Take details of any witnesses – keep a note of names, addresses and email addresses so you can contact them should you need their help.

Keep a diary of your symptoms – to ensure that nothing is forgotten or not correctly remembered when recalling events with a medical expert/solicitor.

No one wants to have their holiday ruined by food poisoning but if the worst happens then Your Legal Friend has 30 years’ experience in the legal industry and know that when you need a law firm, you want knowledge and reliability. They are specialists that deal with illnesses abroad and are there to help should you need it.

Claiming for illness on holiday is covered by The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations Act. If you or someone in your party gets ill and you paid for an all-inclusive holiday where you ate only in the hotel then you can make a claim.

I wish I’d known the proper action to take, our holiday was completely ruined by food poisoning, we didn’t even leave the hotel room. It’s nice to know that Your Legal Friend is there to help should it ever happen again, although I’d be very wary of any buffet in the future especially when travelling with children.

*This is a collaborative post

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