Last week, Eric at TravelBlogs.com posed a question that caught my attention. He started an interesting debate between six travel bloggers on whether or not they would haggle over a “tourist price” they were told to pay for food from a street vendor in an “unnamed Asian country” (click here to read the full post).
While the discussion centers primarily around the privilege of being wealthy enough to travel to and through some countries in the first place, and having the advantage of earning much more before travel than many of these vendors would in several years, the discussion made me realize was how long it’s been since I’ve frequented street vendors abroad for food—one of the big changes that comes from traveling with babies and young children.
In my life before kids, I certainly did eat more adventurously during travel—at seventeen and eighteen I frequented food stalls in Asia, thankfully with little consequence. Yet I also somehow contracted Giardia at the end of a trip to Eastern Europe, and I certainly wouldn’t wish that on any child, let alone an adult. After a “last supper” in Athens, I suffered the worst food poisoning of my life, and from a charming restaurant in the touristic Plaka district no less. Food- and water-borne illness can happen anywhere, but the odds are much higher in certain regions, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly when you visit with small children. In fact, rule #1 in my section on Food and Water Safety in Travels with Baby is to:
Avoid foods from street vendors – as friendly and generous as they may be to your child and family, they often have little or no refrigeration available for the foods they prepare, and likely do not have a place to wash their hands with clean water and soap.
This is not to say that you can’t take a baby or toddler to exotic and even underdeveloped regions of the world. I have myself, and with thoughtful planning and smart strategies for how you’ll handle sensitive issues including food and water safety, particularly for your child, you can too.
For more tips and advice on traveling with babies and young children to remote regions, see the sections in Travels with Baby on “Going Farther Afield,” with important information on Vaccinations and Travel Shots for babies and breastfeeding mothers, Malaria Prevention for Young Children, and much more on Food and Water Safety.
You can also read a brief excerpt from the book with more tips on food and water safety in my column at Examiner.com (click here).
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning guide Travels with Baby
The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children