5 Ways to Prevent Bali Belly: How to Not Get Bali Belly on Your Vacation
I get reached out to a lot by nervous first-time Bali travelers asking about Bali Belly. I’m not even kidding that this week someone DM’ed me on instagram saying she has her entire Bali honeymoon booked for next month, and is now considering switching locations because she’s afraid of getting Bali Belly…. I couldn’t help but laugh at that one. You guys!!!! Stop reading click-baity blog posts that are trying to scare you!! Yes, Bali belly happens. But NO it does not happen to everyone, and YES you can easily prevent it happening to you by preventing and being prepared to fight any indigestion/stomach issues that come up while traveling!
Follow these tips and we’ll help you avoid Bali Belly on your trip to Bali!
WHAT IS BALI BELLY? AM I GOING TO DIE?
First of all, the cutely named ‘Bali Belly’ is essentially just an upset stomach or travelers’ diarrhea. It’s nothing to freak out about! It’s the type of sickness that often happens to people when they travel internationally for the first time because it is caused by a change in diet and lifestyle. When you’re eating foods your body has never eaten before, and in an environment much different than our everyday, sometimes your body gets a little sick. It is not the stomach flu, it’s usually just a little uncomfiness and upset stomach. But it’s different for everyone. Symptoms of Bali Belly generally include abdominal bloating, cramps and pain, sometimes accompanied by nausea and/or vomiting. If you’ve traveled a lot, especially to third world countries, you know how common sicknesses like this are, and you usually know if you’re prone to them or not.
SHOULD I CANCEL MY TRIP TO BALI? I DON’T WANT TO GET SICK
For goodness sake, no!!! Bali is one of the most incredible vacations, and honeymoon destinations, in the world. Do not let a fear stop you from having the trip of a lifetime! Unless you’d rather just stay home your whole life for fear of getting sick?! You can get sick anywhere. Not just in Bali.
OK SO HOW DO I PREVENT BALI BELLY?
1. Probiotics + Activated Charcoal
The golden combo of natural ways to prevent & fight Bali belly!!! Take probiotics for a week leading up to your trip, and every day during your trip to help your stomach prevent any indigestion/issues – this is the brand of probiotics I use & love. The coconut charcoal is a ‘detox’ supplement that is AMAZING for getting rid of Bali Belly should any discomfort start to happen in your stomach on your trip. I never pack for Bali without it – this is the brand I use.
2. DO NOT BRUSH YOUR TEETH WITH SINK WATER
I can’t emphasize this enough for first-time travelers to Bali. The water is not drinkable, and you need to be careful when showering or brushing your teeth not to get any sink water in your mouth. Every nice hotel in Bali will have purified, clean, drinking water available by the sink for you to use for this purpose.
3. Be picky about where you eat
Bali is not the place to try street food. While it may be tempting to get that $1 fresh squeezed juice from the stand on the street, the $6 juice at Alchemy – a super clean, nice cafe in Ubud – is going to be a much safer bet. In general, you need to be careful with consuming raw fruits and vegetables because occasionally they are washed with tap water – but, if you’re eating at nice restaurants in Bali, or at a resort, you are going to successfully avoid Bali Belly . And don’t worry about ice! As long as you’re in a nice restaurant or resort, you can be assured they use filtered water for their ice. I wouldn’t get ice on the beach from a shack or anything like that, but in a nice restaurant, beach club, or luxury resort in Bali, you’re fine.
4. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before eating, every time
Bali and Southeast Asia in general can get dirty! You don’t want to get that dirt in your food and then into your system. Avoid this by carrying hand sanitizer with you at all times (I love these travel-sized ones that fit into my purse or clip onto my bag!)
5. Be prepared with medicine, in case you do get Bali Belly
While I recommend activated charcoal at the first sign of Bali Belly – a natural body detox remedy to fight Bali Belly before it even starts, if you do end up getting a full-blown case of Bali Belly, it’s time for some medicine. It’s important to consider bringing Travelan when you’re packing for Bali because, especially if you’re not feeling well, you won’t want to have to navigate the Indonesian pharmacies trying to find what you need in a foreign country. Plus, is it just me or do you guys feel like if you pack the medicine, the juju you get from being ultra-prepared will help prevent it? It’s a superstition of mine, but I swear – it works!
Plus, Travelan is good for prevention, and relief – which is great!
Check out these other blog posts on Bali
The Ultimate Canggu Travel Guide