10 Simple Ways To Prepare Your Stomach For Travel

This article has links to products and services we recommend, which we may make a commission from.

Eating the local food is by far one of the greatest pleasures of traveling. 

Yet, despite the appetizing foods and aromas of regional specialties, lurking in the background is the desire to avoid an upset stomach when traveling.

At Authentic Food Quest, we travel through food with the goal of showcasing local and authentic dishes. At times, this means eating on the streets, at local markets, and trying unusual foods.

Over the last eight years of traveling through local food experiences, we’ve learned how to keep our stomachs happy. 

So far, we’ve been fortunate not to experience any major stomach problems after traveling or while on the road. 

As you think about eating local specialties at your next destination, put any trepidation aside. 

Here are our 10 simple, tried, and true tips to prepare you stomach for travel and prevent an upset stomach.

Have fun and eat local!

Authentic Food Quest Page_Break

1. Get Travel Insurance

Learn how to prepare your stomach for travel and enjoy the Food Stalls in Malaysia by Authentic Food Quest
Enjoy street food in Malaysia worry-free

As you consider your travel plans, one thing you cannot leave home without is travel insurance. 

Travel insurance is important for protecting you from unknown circumstances, including trip delays, accidental injury, and of course, gastrointestinal problems. 

We have always used travel insurance on our travels, and it saved us on more than a few occasions. 

From a chipped tooth to emergency root canal surgery, our travel insurance has been very useful when needed.

And when we don’t have to use it, it provides peace of mind knowing we are covered. 

We have used several travel insurance plans and are currently recommending HeyMondo and SafetyWing.

READ MORE: Check out our comprehensive travel insurance review including a detail comparison of HeyMondo and Safetywing.

2. Avoid Stomach Problems While Traveling with Activated Charcoal

Activated Charcoal Packing Culinary Travel by Authentic Food Quest
Activated Charcoal to use before and after meals

Ever since we discovered Activated Charcoal, these pills have become an essential part of our packing gear.

Used all over the world, activated charcoal is a natural treatment used as an antidote for hundreds of poisons.

 It works by absorbing poisons and toxins in the digestive tract, binding them together, and reducing their potency.

In South America, Southeast Asia, and Mexico, these “magical pills” have helped calm our upset stomachs while traveling. 

We use activated charcoal preventatively before and after meals. 

Every time we haven’t felt quite right after eating street food, popping two pills of Activated Charcoal calms things down.

These natural pills quickly neutralize poisons. They offer peace of mind and are essential for any food traveler.

RELATED: 74 Street Food Quotes To Inspire The Adventurous Eater in You

3. Filter Water With Grayl

Grayl How To Prepare Stomach For Travel by Authentic Food Quest
A useful travel companion for clean water anywhere in the world

Accessibility to clean and potable water while traveling cannot always be guaranteed. In many parts of the world, enjoying clean drinking water is a luxury.

As you book your flights and accommodations, don’t forget to do some research about the drinking water situation. 

You want to enjoy your trip, and the last thing you want is an upset stomach while traveling.

In Southeast Asia, Mexico, and Turkey, drinking tap water is not recommended. 

To enjoy clean drinking water and keep us safe from any stomach problems, we use Grayl water bottles.

These ultralight purifier bottles allow you to easily make clean and purified drinking water. With one press and in under 15 seconds, water from virtually any source is easily made potable. 

According to Grayl’s website, the water is purified against all types of viruses, chemicals, and heavy metals.

We use our Grayl water bottles regularly. From purifying water to cleaning vegetables, making coffee, or simply quenching our thirst, they are indispensable.

What we really like about them is that they are light and not fragile and don’t need to be hooked up to batteries to work. 

Furthermore, you can enjoy clean drinking water without the waste of plastic bottles. 

4. Prevent Stomach Problem with Colostrum

10 Simple Ways To Prepare Your Stomach For Travel 110 Simple Ways To Prepare Your Stomach For Travel 2

Stomach problems while traveling send shivers down our spines. We are culinary explorers, and our job is to find the best local food wherever we travel. 

So as you can imagine, we can’t afford to get sick on the road. One of our greatest fears is succumbing to the dreaded traveler’s diarrhea from eating at local markets or street stalls. 

Digestive problems and an attack on the GI system is no fun for any traveler. 

Fortunately, we heard about Travelan and its alternative Colostrum from fellow travelers and were intrigued. 

Colostrum can help with digestive health by promoting gut health and supporting digestion.

By keeping the gut healthy and reducing uncomfortable symptoms in the digestive tract, you can enjoy eating worry-free.

There’s no prescription needed for Colostrum or Travelan and you can buy it easily from Amazon

RELATED: Read our full review about Preventing Traveler’s Diarrhea

5. Drink Lots of Water

Claire Drinking Water using SIGG Bottle a great tip to Avoid Stomach Problems After Traveling by Authentic Food Quest
Claire always with her SIGG water bottle

Drinking lots of water regularly is sound advice to stay hydrated. It is also applicable to your overall health, including keeping your stomach healthy and helping the digestive system. 

When the stomach lacks water, it makes the digestive function more difficult and less effective.

With good hydration and water intake, the stomach digests and absorbs nutrients more efficiently. This helps you stay regular and decreases the chances of getting an upset stomach.

We personally drink a LOT of water and always carry our refillable bottles with us. We like SIGG bottles which are aluminum, meaning light to carry and BPA-free.

For an easy test to know if you are drinking enough water, go to the bathroom. If your pee is clear or pale yellow, that’s good enough. If not, it’s time to drink more water.

RELATED: Food Travel Near And Far: 10 Tips To Become A Great Food Traveler

6. Sip Using Reusable Bamboo Straws

Drinking with bamboo straws to avoid stomach problems after traveling by Authentic Food Quest
Bamboo straws are practical and green

Bamboo straws are our newest addition to our “keeping our stomachs safe” culinary kit. 

In Thailand and Vietnam, we were astonished by the amount of waste caused by plastic straws.

Further, in Vietnam in particular, we were shocked by the way cups for water were shared amongst strangers.

If you are unsure about the cleanliness of a cup or glass, using straws becomes necessary. 

Instead of using plastic straws, carrying your own reusable straws is an ecological way to go.

Your personal reusable bamboo straws will help avoid any stomach problems while traveling.  The straws are easy to pack and come in a convenient carrying bag with a cleaning straw. 

If you consider how much water you drink at every meal, carrying reusable bamboo straws makes perfect sense. 

Not to mention, you’ll be drinking safely while taking care of the environment.

RELATED: Your Guide to Vietnamese Street Food: 20 Local Foods Worth Trying

7. Use Sporks and Chopsticks to Prevent Upset Stomach While Traveling

How to Pack for your Culinary travel and packing essentials by Authentic Food Quest
Sporks, our culinary packing essential

You already know germs easily spread through food, but have you thought about the utensils used?

When traveling and enjoying local food, one can never be too certain about the level of hygiene.  

Even though you may be ordering a hot dish, which kills the bacteria, the utensils provided may not be clean. And if you’re not prepared, you may be tempted to use the questionable cutlery. 

Not knowing where we’ll eat and to prevent having an upset stomach while traveling, we always carry Sporks with us. 

These handy fork and spoon combos with a serrated knife edge are easy to pack and convenient for traveling.

In addition to the sporks, we also carry bamboo chopsticks in our culinary tool kit. Depending on the dish, reusable bamboo chopsticks can work better than sporks.

These eating utensils have come in handy in unexpected ways. You’ll probably find the same too.

8. Take Probiotics

Bulgarian Yogurt upset stomach while traveling by Authentic Food Quest
Bulgarian yogurt pairs perfectly with cherries or other fruits

Probiotics are known to help with digestive health and overall gut health. Our stomachs contain trillions of friendly” bacteria that participate in maintaining healthy gut flora. 

We seek out natural probiotics wherever we are traveling to. For instance, while in Bulgaria, we discovered Bulgarian yogurt, which is famous worldwide for its health and digestive properties.

In Turkey, Salgam is a fermented turnip juice known for its probiotic benefits. It’s an acquired taste and one we learned to appreciate for gut health.

If you cannot find probiotics in the local food on your travels, then probiotic supplements are a great alternative. 

Probiotics to Avoid Stomach Problems After Traveling How to prepare stomach for international travel
by Authentic Food Quest
Probiotics supplement as an alternative

You can travel with probiotics tablets and use them as needed. One thing to pay attention to is the expiration date. Past the date, the supplements might not be effective anymore.

Probiotics are particularly effective in maintaining a healthy digestive system.

9. Wash Your Hands Frequently

Wash station in Singapore upset stomach when traveling by AuthenticFoodQuest
Wash station in the food courts of Singapore

One of the most important tips we have on how to prepare the stomach for travel is simple – hand washing. 

It might sound like an obvious tip but, it’s not always something that we think about and do systematically. 

Gastroenteritis, also called stomach flu is typically transmitted by hands and spreads quickly.

And the best way to stop and avoid this common stomach problem is to wash your hands thoroughly. 

It is a simple gesture and should be top of mind when traveling for food at any destination. 

At local eateries and street food vendors around the world, we now see vendors providing hand washing stations.

From Singapore to Mexico, you can safely enjoy your meal by washing your hands before and after eating. 

10. Carry Hand Sanitizer

Hand Sanitizer eat local street safely by Authentic Food Quest
Clean your hands on the go with hand sanitizers

When there are no bathrooms and no washing stations, what do you do to keep your hands clean?

One of the best and easiest solutions is to use travel-size hand sanitizer.

If we learned anything from the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s that hand sanitizer is a new staple in our carry-ons. 

It’s super useful to keep our hands clean when eating, taking public transportation, or shopping at a local store.

Easy to slide in a bag or pocket, this sanitizing solution can prevent tummy troubles.

Authentic Food Quest Page_Break

In Summary

To get to know the destination or the place you’re visiting, eating the local food is part of the experience. 

Learning how to prepare your stomach for travel is important to allow you to fully enjoy the journey.

For us, food is about discovery. The flavors and local food experiences reveal unforgettable things about a destination. 

Done safely, local food experiences will enrich your travel experiences. Use these tips and eat boldly on your next trip.

What are your tips for avoiding an upset stomach while traveling? Please let us know In the comments below.

Savor the Adventure!

Love These Tips on How to Protect Your Stomach? Pin It!

How To Prepare Stomach For Travel by Authentic Food Quest

Disclosure: Please note, these tips are from our experience of traveling through food and should not be construed as medical advice. These tips are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with all matters regarding your health.

28 Comments on “10 Simple Ways To Prepare Your Stomach For Travel”

  1. Great post guys! Never heard of that charcoal pill…going to add that to our quiver. And for water purification we use a SteriPen (haven’t had a single-use bottle of water since Feb 2012, woot woot). Also being vegan keeps us clear of any meat borne viruses and other tummy attackers!

    • Happy to have introduced you to activated charcoal. Definitely worth adding to your travel arsenal. Sounds like you take great precautions on your travels already. It’s always best to be safe so that you can enjoy your trip. Cheers.

  2. All solid tips! I hadn’t heard of active charcoal tablets, but will check it out. For anything beyond basic travel, we visit a travel clinic in advance, too. They are full of healthy living and eating suggestions for anywhere in the world.

  3. These are great travel tips. I’ve had terrible food poisoning several times in my travels and had salmonella typhoid in Guatemala so I know first hand how seriously we need to take precautions. I was in a restaurant in Mexico once when I saw them dipping dirty plates and cutlery into a pail of water, then wiping it dry with a cloth. Turns out they had no running water.

  4. Oh my, I have such an issue with this when I travel. I make sure I bring my probiotics and really have to watch what I eat while out. I’m just not used to eating out all the time.

  5. I’ll keep these in mind. I always worry about stomach problems when I travel. I don’t want to waste any time feeling ill when I’m traveling!


Leave a Comment

Post a Comment

We love to hear from you, so tell us what you think.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.