How to Avoid Holiday Illness – Keeping your family healthy

No one likes to think that their holiday could be struck down by an illness. We have travelled a lot and it does happen. It has happened to us and we have learnt what to avoid and what to do if we do get ill. We busy ourselves sorting out the passports, packing our bags and making sure we have our tickets. But have we even truly thought in that haze what would we do if we are struck by an illness? I bet the answer is mostly no.

I have written a post below to help you combat any holiday blues and to avoid any illnesses before they can happen.


What to avoid

The worse illnesses I’ve ever experienced on holiday was from adjusting to the very spicy food in Sri Lanka and eating some not so fresh mussels in Lefkada, Greece. Both events changed me and my way of thinking when I’m abroad. A lot of Asian, African and South American countries don’t have the same strict hygiene laws as the UK. Although they are countries where you have to be extra careful what you eat and drink the same applied to me when we went to Greece. You are prone to illness almost anywhere.

The water

This really should go without saying. Outside of Western Europe, America, Canada and Australia don’t drink the tap water. Our Western European stomachs are not able to tolerate the water as well so only buy and drink bottled water. Ensure the lid is properly sealed before you buy it. Don’t forget to brush your teeth using bottled water. I even use bottled water to rinse out my toothbrush.


Ice Cubes

We are on holiday, it’s hot, we want our drink to be nice and cold. But what is the worse thing you can do? Ask for your drink with ice cubes. They are most likely made from tap water and they are just as likely, if not more likely, to carry bacteria that will upset your stomach. Freshly made juices could also be a risk.


Salads and Fruit

Again these should be avoided as more likely than not they will have been washed in the tap water. It would be a good idea to buy and prepare fruit yourself while on holiday.


Fresh Food

Obviously, you can’t always tell if what you are eating is fresh. But make wise choices. If it looks like you are eating at somewhere that may struggle with fresh produce then choose something to eat that would be safer should it not be quite so fresh. For example, the mussels dish I chose in Lefkada was at a small back street restaurant. There was hardly anyone there and when they arrived it was clear, as they were out of their shells, that they’d been twice cooked. If something doesn’t taste right don’t eat it. If there’s food laid out on a buffet choose something that looks cooked well and is a relatively safe food to eat.


Street Vendors

Again it’s pretty much the same philosophy as above. Part of the fun of a holiday is to eat from street vendors. Proceed with caution and if you do want to try the food choose wisely.


Hand gels

Take an alcohol-based hand gel and use regularly on you and your family.


Flies & Mosquitos

If you see flies buzzing around the food don’t eat it. If you are going somewhere where mosquitos are a problem (I’d assume that’s anywhere) then don’t forget some repellent and after bite cream. Should the country you are visiting by affected by malaria then please make sure you take the necessary precautions. The NHS website is a good resource for advice. Plus vaccination advice for travelling to many countries.


The sun

To avoid sunburn and sunstroke keep you and your children topped up with sun cream and try and persuade them to wear a hat at all times. There’s nothing worse than a holiday being ruined by sunburn and having to stay in the shade all day. You can also buy swim tops and swim shorts that reflect UV rays for children. They are well worth the investment.

How to Avoid Holiday Illness - Keeping your family healthy


Try to stay at major chain hotels

These are more likely to have higher levels of hygiene. We stayed at 8 different places and 8 different accommodation types when we went to Sri Lanka. Our tummies always fared better when we stayed in a large hotel. We would love to take Jamie to Sri Lanka one day and we’ve always said that when we take him we would only stay at large hotels to minimise his risk of him getting poorly.


What to take with you

Any holiday we have abroad I now take tablets for diarrhoea relief. Children aged 2-5 can take a liquid form of the table. I’m afraid there is nothing for children under 2 years old. I always take a box of plasters as even the most sensible pair of shoes can rub. A good alcohol-based hand gel. Sun cream with a 5 star rating. Sun hats and UVA reflecting beach outfits. Mosquito repellent and after bite cream. Anti-sickness tablets and pain/fever relief tablets may also be good to take with you. Don’t forget the kids liquid paracetamol. Make sure you check out if the country you are going to is affected by malaria and take extra precautions if it is. Vaccines also need to be up to date and checked up on.

What to do if you get ill

If your illness can be helped with tablets then you also need to keep yourself well hydrated with bottled water and avoid too much sun as this can make you feel worse. If any of you have a holiday illness that can’t be sorted with tablets then it is best to ask for the nearest doctor or hospital. Or if something isn’t how you expected it to be and you do fall ill then you can make a claim for your holiday illness. This applies to staying in a hotel with an all-inclusive package and never eating outside of your hotel.

Disclaimer: This is a Collaborative post. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own.

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How to Avoid Holiday Illness - Keeping your family healthy


  1. This is such a useful post. I’ve had food poisoning twice – thankfully not on holiday, that would have been truly miserable. And it’s so tempting to drink the icy cocktails and eat all the lovely fruits abroad, but just not sensible. A tummy bug could easily land my daughter in hospital as she has type 1 diabetes, so I’m trying to teach her to be extra careful. Such a worry!

  2. My husband has had heat stroke twice while on holiday requiring medical attention. Aside from chicken pox and a nasty split knee we’ve been lucky so far that the worst our son has had is a heat rash. But I always try to go on holidays prepared for any eventuality.

  3. We are taking our youngest two abroad for the first time soon so these are great tips. We have been lucky that we have been fairly safe while travelling in the past but I imagine there is nothing worse then taking I’ll abroad X

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