What’s the number 1 fear people have about travel? It’s not going down with the plane, breaking a bone, or getting lost. People are most afraid of getting sick! And honestly, there’s almost nothing worse than being sick far away from home. Not only do you not feel good at all, you’re in an unfamiliar place, you don’t have your special blankie, and you don’t know when it’ll be over. But fear not! I’ve got some tried-and-true tips for how to keep from getting sick on your bucket list trip to Egypt.
Build in a Rest and Recovery Day at the Beginning
This is more helpful than you might think. Even with as much as we travel, it’s never “easy!” Even though you’re mostly just sitting on a long-haul flight, and even though you might be able to sleep, flying is not exactly restful. Add to that the fact that you’ll be eating at odd times and not being able to choose what you might want to eat, then your body will start to know something’s up and might start to rebel.
I know that I (and others who shall remain nameless) have certainly been physically sick on travel due to exhaustion from travel, so trust me when I say it’s okay to take some time to let yourself adjust. While you may want to hit the ground running that first day you arrive, it might actually be better for your trip as a whole if you take that first day to rest up. Enjoy your hotel, have a leisurely dinner, try to go to bed at a normal time, and save up your energy for the next day. You and your body will be glad you did.
Also helpful: What to Do When You Get Sick on Travel
This seems obvious, but sometimes those are the things we need to be reminded of! Use your common sense. Be brave, but if something smells like it’s gone bad, or if your guide starts to make an alarmed face when you order something, heed those warnings! The best way not to get sick in your travels is to use your common sense to prevent it. Oh, and wash your hands before you eat!
Don’t Drink the Water
If you’re staying in a high-end hotel, you’re probably fine. In general, though, plan to drink and brush your teeth with bottled water. You will need to drink a lot of water during your trip to Egypt, so make sure it’s water that won’t make you sick! Also, drink up all the colorful, fresh juices for extra immunity-boosting vitamins.
What to Do If You Do Get Sick
Listen to your body. If you need to cancel your activities for a day and stay at your hotel, do it. Give yourself a few hours to see how you feel; you may be up for a little touring sooner than you think. When you do feel like eating again, go for bland: Pita, unseasoned rice, maybe some yogurt, etc. Drink a lot of bottled water, and pay attention to how foods, drinks, smells, and the heat and sun affect you.
Keep reading: What to Know Before You Visit Egypt
Balance the Desire to Eat Local vs. Stay Healthy
Yes, you should try the local foods in Egypt! But no, you don’t have to have a food adventure at every meal. Just keep it balanced, and listen to how your body feels after you try something new. Here are some things to keep in mind to help you be strategic in your food choices.
Go for Meatless Options
Try the koshary (Egypt’s national dish made with pasta, rice, and lentils), warak enab (stuffed grape leaves), and baba ganoush (eggplant dip) with pita are all excellent, authentic, meatless dishes. When you do opt for meat, be sure to only eat what’s been fully cooked, and it’s not a bad idea to only eat meat from a nice restaurant while you’re at it.
Read next: The Ultimate Guide to Solo Travel in Egypt
Be Aware of Your Bathroom Situation
Plan to try something new when you know there will be a bathroom nearby, just in case something doesn’t agree with you. Trying new things at dinner means you’ll have a bathroom available to you soon after eating and all night long. Or if you know you’ll be visiting a museum after breakfast or lunch, there will certainly be a bathroom to use. Just make sure you know where it is!
Also helpful: Your Ultimate Guide to Solid Toiletries for Travel
Eat in Hotel Restaurants
Hotel restaurants in Egypt are high-end, highly-rated, and often boast excellent local Egyptian favorites. It’s not like in the United States where hotel restaurants are generally prohibitively overpriced and kind of mediocre. Even the locals come here to dine, and restaurants in hotels are expected to keep a higher standard of cleanliness. Not that restaurants outside of Egypt’s hotels are unsanitary; it’s just that if you want to make sure you won’t get sick, your best bet is a hotel restaurant.
Try Street Food with Caution
Street food can be healthy, sanitary, and amazing, but go with your gut, use your common sense, and maybe don’t get the lamb kebab that looks like it’s been sitting out since last week. If you’ve visiting Egypt with a trusted guide, let them guide you to the good street food! Take their advice, and try new things at their recommendation.
Essential info: Your Ultimate Guide to Tipping in Egypt
Eat the Sweets!
Sweets are an excellent option for something delicious that won’t hurt your tummy–as long as you know when to stop! Sweets are incredibly popular in Egypt, and it’s usually easy to find locally made specialties. Candies usually also travel well, so make sure to bring some home with you!
Read next: The Foods You MUST Try in Egypt
What to Bring with You
Despite your best efforts, sometimes the fate of one’s digestive system is subject to the Egyptian gods and goddesses. I’m an adventurous yet sensible eater, but I’ve also definitely had some “tricky tummy” issues in my travels, including in Egypt! Thankfully, Pepto made things more manageable those last couple of days in the country. I never go anywhere new without a few of these:
Reality check: Why Egypt is a Safe Place to Travel (even as a woman!)
Want more? Get everything you need on my dedicated Egypt Page!
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