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Hygiene When Travelling

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 17 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Travelling; Food Hygiene; Water; Sun

There are many considerations to be aware of when travelling; hygiene is one of them. Different countries have differing ways of managing hygiene whether it is because of facilities, cultural differences or simply the water that is available.

The Water

The water in the UK is fine for consumption, but the water in other countries has a different composition that can affect our systems and make us ill. Always use bottled water for drinking when abroad, even for making hot drinks just to be extra cautious. Along with this, be careful about using ice in drinks, washed fruit and vegetables and it may be worth using bottled water for cleaning teeth.

Always use bottled water for making baby’s bottles up as infants can become ill very quickly.After bathing and washing hands, ensure all areas are dried properly, including the floor to avoid accidents occurring.If there is no bottled water available, make sure that the water used is boiled sufficiently for at least one minute of continuous boiling.

Cleansing Products

It is worthwhile buying new, or transferring existing products to travel sized bottles, especially if flying. This allows you to take your favourite products away with you but does not take up as much of the weight allowance on the flight.

It is worth remembering that recent changes in safety laws mean fluids and solution should be packed in the main luggage, not in hand baggage. If you are worried about being delayed, take a packet of baby wipes, tissues and a tooth brush in your hand luggage to allow for freshening up if delayed for long periods.

Food Hygiene

Avoid shellfish that has been included in a buffet as it may have been left out all day; shellfish can cause food poisoning very easily.

Always ask for meats to be cooked ‘well done’ as sometimes storage of meats can differ greatly from the standards we are used to in Britain, and our systems may struggle to digest it efficiently.


  • Always ensure you have condoms available if intercourse is expected.

  • Take a plentiful supply of appropriate sun creams and moisturiser if visiting a country with a hot climate. Skin can burn or dry out very quickly if exposed to the sun.

  • If vaccines are required, always make sure they are up to date and your GP is satisfied that sufficient cover is provided.The provision of comprehensive health insurance is vital to avoid huge bills for any medical advice or healthcare provision needed whilst away. Be honest with your insurance provider and tell them of any existing medical conditions or medications used, this will ensure appropriate insurance is given for your individual needs.

  • If camping or trekking, make sure you are aware of the location of sanitary facilities and medical centres in case they are needed.

  • It is advisable to have a dental check-up before travelling, especially if over a long period of time, to decrease the risk of needing treatment abroad. Not only will this spoil your holiday and be expensive, it can be difficult to arrange appropriate treatment.

  • Take spare glasses and contact lenses in case of loss of the existing ones.

  • Take mosquito repellents and treatments for bites if you are visiting a country that is known to have mosquitoes.

  • Do not lower standards of hygiene and cleanliness just because you are away from home.

Personal hygiene is very important to maintain whilst on holiday. It is important to take adequate provisions with you, especially if travelling out of Europe where similar products may be difficult to find.

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