Traveler’s Tips

The best advice you can get where water is concerned in any foreign country is not to drink it, unless you are staying in a four or five star hotel. While water and food is relatively safe in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, the rural areas of these countries still have a problem.

When in small hotels it is recommended not to brush your teeth or eat any raw food that has been washed in the water. If you need water, then bring along an immersion heater to boil a small amount of water or use water purification tablets or a personal water filter.

If necessary, Tincture of iodine can be used, three drops per quart if the water is cloudy, six drops if the water is clear, then allow the water to stand for 30 minutes.

Safe beverages are tea and coffees, providing you are sure that the water has been boiled first. Bottled wine, beer and canned soft drinks are usually safe. Locally bottled waters are sometimes no safer than tap water. Never drink from a bottle or can, always use a straw or wrapped plastic cup.

Raw vegetables may be contaminated with a number of pesticides. Only eat cooked vegetables and do not eat any fruit even after washing if there are any breaks in the skin. Rinse all fruit with boiling water and if possible, skin them before eating.

Meat and fish should be thoroughly cooked and eaten when it is hot to avoid bacterial contamination. Fish should be cooked within two hours of being caught unless it is kept under refrigeration. Shellfish worldwide may carry hepatitis and should be cooked, never eaten raw.

Milk and dairy products have been known to cause many travelers a serious problem. If you have any doubts, do not eat them.

Never eat custards, whipped cream filled pastries, sliced meat salads or other perishables unless they are sold from a refrigerated case.

Frozen water in tests performed by the University of Texas, School of Medicine, showed that water, containing bacteria even after being frozen at -20 degrees for one week, still contained 10 percent of the active bacteria that could cause a disease. In fact, even after the ice cubes were placed into 86 proof tequila, one organism still survived that would cause diarrhea.

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