Traveller's diarrhoea (TD) is the most common cause of spoiled holidays and business trips. Bali Belly, The Mexican Two-Step, The Rangoon Runs… they're all amusing names for a very unpleasant, sometimes serious, condition typically caused by contaminated food and water. There are three types of traveller's diarrhoea and it is important to distinguish between them as each has a different cause and treatment.

Common traveller's diarrhoea

will often affect travellers to developing countries. The cause of traveller's diarrhoea is bacteria such as E.coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella and Shigella.

Watery diarrhoea and occasionally vomiting.


is an organism found in tap water, river water and contaminated food throughout the world. Giardia causes gut problems that can persist long after you return home.

Cramping stomach pain, belching, and wind are all common symptoms of Giardia.


is on the severe end of the diarrhoea spectrum and for a traveller, dysentery is a potential medical emergency which also requires post-travel medical attention.

Blood or mucus in your stool.

Diarrhoea First Aid Kit

If you don’t take anything else, take a gastro kit. 

Travellers visiting high risk destinations should carry treatment for traveller's diarrhoea – even for short stays. Through years of experience, our team of travel health professionals have selected an essential range of products that can keep you safe and well on your travels. Our gastro kit contains prescription medication so we can only sell them once you have had a consultation with one of our doctors, so remember to discuss a gastro kit when you book your appointment.

Pregnant Women

If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, discuss TD treatment options with your travel doctor. If you have TD and are hungry, eat a little. There is no need to 'rest' your stomach. Try bland foods initially such as high-carbohydrate options including rice, pasta, biscuits, bread or potato. Avoid eating dairy, alcohol, fatty or spicy food while recovering.

Treatment and Prevention


Maintaining safe eating and drinking practices. Typhoid and Hepatitis A Vaccinations.


Most travellers get better simply by maintaining hydration. If symptoms are persistent, an appropriate antibiotic will usually eliminate the underlying cause.

Treatment In Children

Children aged under 12 years tend to become dehydrated more easily and many of the treatments suitable for adults are not recommended for children. Maintaining fluid intake is the key to treating TD in children.

If the child is vomiting, give sips of safe fluid as often as possible, ideally with a Hydralyte solution. Avoid soft drinks and fruit juices as they can make diarrhoea worse. If antibiotics are required, consult a doctor.


The key is to treating TD is to replace fluids and essential salts lost from the body. Without regular fluid intake, mild symptoms can quickly become more serious. This is especially true in a hot climate where you may require intravenous fluid replacement in a hospital. If you experience TD drink at least three litres of safe fluids a day, ideally bottled water, with an oral rehydration solution (ORS), such as Hydralyte.

If diarrhoea is severe, or lasts more than 48 hours in an adult or 24 hours in a child, seek medical advice.