Delayed Travel Plans Due To Sickness

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©Exploramum and Explorason – changing travel plans can be expensive

Our tickets are booked and paid for and we are due to travel to Country Number 68 on our world journey.

We’ve just spent nearly a month in Vietnam and had a really wonderful time, when on the very last night my son proclaims his stomach “doesn’t feel right” and in a short space of time he becomes ill with Gastroenteritis.

I am up all night with a very sick boy !!!

So at 5:00 a.m. the following morning life is quite crazy for this single Mum.

  • I am madly trying to change our travel plans – we were due to leave the hotel at 7:30 a.m. to venture on to our next country.
  • I am running up and down from the hotel reception trying to extend the hotel stay, but also to keep the same room – I don’t want to finish packing plus have to move to another room with him – now he is finally asleep.
  • I am seeking professional medical care (doctor) and a pharmacy for my son.

We can’t pinpoint anything in particular that we know for certain that caused the illness.

But it prompts me to make a list of:

11 ways to avoid the ‘dreaded lurgy’ or ‘gastro’

Travel Insurance

©Exploramum and Explorason – Clean teeth with bottled water

1.  Clean Your Teeth With Bottle Water

Where you are not familiar with the standards of water that come from the tap, it is best to use bottled water when cleaning your teeth overseas.

Pop your toothbrush away in the hotel so it is not exposed to spray chemicals from the cleaning staff.

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2.  Beware of Meat, Fish, Dairy etc

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©Exploramum and Explorason – Meats, fish, and dairy foods are often unrefrigerated

Often refrigeration is lacking, or foods are not shipped and stored at the right temperature.

Seafood is best-ordered fresh near the sea.  River fish obviously – near to the place of marine-life catchment.

Yoghurts, cheeses and ‘other’ dairy can turn very quickly if left unrefrigerated or served past the use by date.

If something tastes or smells ‘odd’ then don’t eat it.

Salmonella can kill – and needs to be taken very seriously.

Only two times my son ate pizza overseas have resulted in him being ill within several hours. This was the case after eating pizza this time in Vietnam – he became ill.

He has eaten it many times in the past five years and in many countries, but even the simplest of foods can cause illness.

We can’t blame the pizza for sure, but within four hours, we had an ill child.

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3.  Wipe Surfaces

Bring some anti-bacterial wipes to help you stay healthy. I wipe down my tray and have needed them on seats and armrests on buses, trains, planes and restaurants.

Also be careful putting your hand in the pouch in front of you on transportation. People shove all kinds of trash down there. You might be in for a nasty surprise!

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4.  Hand Sanitiser

We use hand sanitiser before our meals and especially after the restrooms.

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©Exploramum and Explorason – beware of drinks made with ice and water

5. Ice and water in your drinks

Ask for bottled water in your drinks, and ice should have a hole in the middle if it is hospitality industry standard.

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6. Buying Street Food Snacks

Travel Insurance

©Exploramum and Explorason – Street snacks – you have no idea where they are made

You have no idea where the snacks in the street are prepared – we suggest professionally packaged food.

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7.  Wash Your Hands

I know this sounds like an obvious thing, but often washing hands is forgotten before eating.  Ensure your whole family practices good hand washing techniques.

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8.  Street Food Vendors

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©Exploramum and Explorason – Be careful eating from street vendors

Whilst part of the adventure of travel is trying all the tasty foods in each country, be careful when purchasing food from street vendors.

If food is cooked on charcoal or boiled and prepared in front of you, it is usually the most recommended way of eating street food.

But depends if the vendor uses their unprotected hands to handle the food.

Most vendors will handle a combination of money, food and their cart without any hygiene.

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9.  Never Eat An Animal That Eats Another Animal

This rule was told to me by an African at the start of our travels, and it is a principal that we have stuck by.

Eating animals that are carnivorous can mean an increased chance that worms and rotten meats have been ingested by the larger beast.

We keep a wide berth of consuming alligator, crocodile, snakes, and other such animals.

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10.  Salads And Fruits Can Carry Bacteria

Fresh vegetables and fruits can lead to illness because they are washed in the local water. These are usually fine to eat at better establishments.

If unsure, cooked food is the better option.

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11.  Stay In Clean Hotels And Hostels

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©Exploramum and Explorason – Stay in clean accommodation like -Lantern Hotel, Hoi An, Vietnam

Make sure where you are sleeping is clean. Both bathroom and bedroom need to be hygienic (even if you can only afford 1-star accommodation).

  • Open the quilt cover and check the quilt / blankets
  • Pull back the bed sheets and check the mattress for bedbugs, body fluid stains etc.
  • Thoroughly check sheets are unsoiled (beware of tiny grey spots as bedbugs leave grey spots from the faeces)
  • Examine the pillow (take off the cover if need be) and if soiled, ask for a replacement
  • Towels should be freshly laundered and unstained
  • Slippers should be packaged, and Cloth Robes should be laundered

Dirty linen and bedding has bacteria and can lead to illness. Refuse to stay and demand a refund.  If unclean hotels, hostels, AirBnB’s etc are found, photograph the evidence and submit to your booking company.

Your own (and your family’s) health are too important to be at risk.

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©Exploramum and Explorason – Explorason’s illness required us to cancel our travel plans

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Travel Insurance

You can take all of these precautions and still become ill overseas, so it is important to make sure you have adequate Travel Insurance prior to departing on your travels.

Check it meets all your needs.

We recommend a great Australian company – Southern Cross Travel Insurance.

Where Is Your Travel Insurance Policy?

Carry your travel insurance policy with you at all times.

If you or a loved one needs to be hospitalised you must contact this company as they will have a procedure to follow.

Delaying Travel

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©Exploramum and Explorason – Explorason sleeps off his gastro illness in Vietnam this week

We needed to cancel our travel plans and book new tickets.

We also had to extend our hotel stay.

Of course, adding to the expense is medical treatment and medication.

Missing flights, cruises, buses, trains, added accommodation expenses, and even car hire can cause you to lose a lot of money. Travel insurance is your safety net in these instances.

We are so thankful that my son received early treatment and was fit to travel within 48 hours.

So now – Cambodia, here we come!

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©Exploramum and Explorason – Don’t let illness ruin your travel plans

Call it what you like …

… Thai-dal Wave in Thailand; Montezuma’s Revenge; Bali Belly; Kurtz Hurtz in Uzbekistan; Beaver Fever in Canada; Aztec Two-Step; Mummy’s Tummy in Egypt; Bombay Belly and Delhi Belly in India, Karachi Crouch in Pakistan; Taghazout Tummy in Taghazout; or Kathmandu Quickstep in Nepal …

… but don’t let Gastroenteritis or Salmonella ruin your travels !