Food is one of the best experiences of travel — but how do we avoid the dreaded belly ache? Escape readers share their top tips.
Food is one of the best experiences of travel — but how do we avoid the dreaded belly ache? Escape readers share their top tips.

This secret travel remedy is even better than Coke

Does Coke really stop food poisoning?

After travel writer Amy McPherson shared her theory that drinking Coca Cola helps ward off food poisoning while on the road, Escape's well-travelled readers were quick to share their own remedies to combat tummy troubles.

While some are inclined to support her Coke claim, others swear by an even more effective remedy.

According to our readers, if there's one thing better than Coke, it'd be Pepsi. Or bananas. Or maybe even chilli and ginger.


Here are some of their tried and tested tips for avoiding food poisoning:


In the mid-1990s my husband, two-year old and myself lived in the Philippines on and off for a few years with my husband's job. We lived in very remote areas as it was near the worksite, no touristy stuff in those parts.

The locals always swore by sugar bananas (the little ones that are available everywhere, similar to the ladyfinger variety) and a can of Coke. We took their advice and made sure we all ate a banana and a drank a can of Coke daily.

Not a problem with food whatsoever, considering what we were eating, or what we thought we were. And I rarely drink Coke at home in Australia.

We have lived and worked in remote areas throughout several Asian countries and swear by Coke and bananas. It's the daily staple!

- Jenny Scown


Go on, choose the bananas.
Go on, choose the bananas.


Great travel article about drinking Coke. I totally agree that this works. One thing to note (and I have no idea why) Pepsi actually works better than Coke.

- Chris Rock




I have been working in various parts of South-East Asia and Latin America for the past t10 years and frequently (every few weeks) received a bout of food poisoning. It even got to the stage where I was taking my own food and being OCD with hand sanitising etc.

Then a five-minute conversation with my travel doctor back in Adelaide solved 99 per cent of my issues.

I'm a 60-year-old male and have for the past 15 years or so been taking medication for gastric reflux, Zantac or Omeprazole tablets to reduce the stomach acidity. He said it might be worth a try to reduce the amount and put up with a little bit of heartburn.

I did, and now its been months since I've had any issues. I also increased the amount of chilli and ginger in my meals (I currently live in rural China) and that has basically cured my gastric reflux somehow.

- Bruce Knight


Street-food heaven at Luang Prabang night market, Laos.
Street-food heaven at Luang Prabang night market, Laos.



My wife and I have been travelling frequently to South-East Asia for two decades now and have never had the dreaded upset belly, touch wood! We have some simple rules:

• Never eat foods that contain eggs that have been sitting in someone's cart in the stifling heat. Yes, I know - those crepes look amazing.

• Don't be afraid to ask them to re-cook something if you feel it hasn't been cooked enough - a bloodied chicken piece is not on.

• Never eat salads, the water they wash them in is the thing that will get you

• Avoid carts where the person looks like they have just dragged themselves out of a gutter, you will find the same food from a more discerning vendor.

• Look for foods that have been well cooked - eg. pho, that has been boiled 10 times over.

• If you do get an upset belly, grab yourself a bottle of soda water or tonic water - generally it will help settle your stomach (but not if it's salmonella).

PS. To be honest, I think luck has a lot to do with getting the dreaded belly bug

- Stan Amanatidis

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