Travelling abroad is not only about getting out there and seeing new things and meeting new people, it’s about coming home and truly knowing the place for the first time – you’ll understand a bit more about the matters affecting your local area in terms of social context if you’ve got a comparison.
That’s why we all love to travel. We come back able to enjoy our lives all the more, because we will know answers without having to ask or have things explained to us. Wonderful stuff. But there is a downside. Holiday sickness.
At home, we understand certain things. Like, tipping your waiting staff in England comes with nowhere near as strict protocols as other places.
And in France, you have to change the way you speak to elders, literally using different words to say the same thing in a respectful way. Ask people on the western coast of America, and they could probably even tell you the blood alcohol levels in California.
But do you know the voting age in India? Do you know how old school leavers are in Egypt? Could you hazard a guess at who is in charge of Sweden? Probably not. That’s why getting sick abroad is so easy, we know so little about our surroundings.
Water water everywhere, and not a drop to drink (unless it’s bottled)
Yes, foreign tap water is an obvious place to start. Drinking the tap water in foreign countries is a sure-fire way to ensure you become intimately acquainted with the sanitation facilities (let’s hope you booked a room with an en suite!).
But there’s other ways the water can get you. Ice cubes are an obvious one. But shaving water and simply washing your hands or body if you have any cuts can result in sickness. There’s also the consideration of fresh food that has been washed in water at the hotel (think salads – and even sauces or soups that have been thinned with tap water).
Money is green … with germs
Money changes hands. All day, every day. As careful as you may be with what you eat and drink, money will slip under your radar and cover your hands with local germs that will take your immune system by surprise.
Whilst there’s no point in suggesting that you wear gloves each time you leave your hotel, the best advice is to wash your hands every two hours and refrain from touching your face.
*This is a collaborative post