Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:35 PM
I've spent more than 30 years traveling to foreign countries. Don't get too crazy or worried. There are wonderful people in every country, though there are a few countries that I avoid. Ok, I generally stay in 2-5 star hotels, but you'd be surprised by what is considered a 5 star hotel in some countries. Yes, I've had my passport taken by hotels and by military police. I have friends (men and women) that have been pistol whipped and beaten.
I generally don't eat from food wagons off the streets unless in North America or Europe. I am careful about iced products outside of North America and Europe. I drink and brush my teeth with bottled water except in North America or Europe. I drink bottled water, often with gas at dinner and without gas other times. I drink beer and straight tequila in Mexico, but there is a story behind that. I eat most local prepared foods, generally cooked. I generally eat all raw foods in North America, Europe and Japan, but I watch what I eat. I enjoy shellfish and sushi, although I have a huge respect for several groups that choose to avoid them. I cook pork and poultry to 160-165F, but eat steak tartar. I spent years in restaurants and have a strong background in infectious diseases on the medical side.
I have had food related illness in Mexico 2-3 times(over 35 years), Scotland 1 time, India 1 time, and North America probably 25-30 times.
I travel with Imodium, ibuprofen, aspirin, anti-histamine, a small pocket knife, a multi-country cell phone, multiple currencies, a lighter, a small pen knife, and multiple photocopies of my passport (really, really important). I will carry a water purification straw and door rubber wedge from now on.
Local friends, cash, credit cards and being environmentally aware are the best preventive therapies that I know.