Access to quality drinking water when traveling can have a huge impact on your trip. It starts at airport security when you have to pour out or relinquish your water bottle and, depending on where you go, it can be something that has to be considered throughout your entire day. During the planning stage for your trip you should find out, “Is the drinking water safe?” so you can manage this necessity.
The best way to find out if your destination has safe drinking water is to visit the Center for Disease Controls page for travelers. From the dropdown menu you can find your destination and read about the quality of water.
In places where the tap water is not suitable to drink you must also remember to brush your teeth with clean water, keep your mouth shut when you take a shower and refuse drinks with ice if the ice was made with the local tap water.
I always recommend using reusable water bottles in order to reduce plastic going into the garbage. In countries where the water is poor quality, their recycling of plastic is probably also severely lacking.
Best ways to get clean drinking water
A great alternative to poor quality drinking water is the Lifestraw bottle. This water bottle comes complete with a built in filter that eliminates 99.9% of harmful bacterial and bad taste. You can refill it from virtually any water source, drink safe and not add plastic water bottles to the landfill. It doesn’t, however, combat viruses.
The SteriPen Ultra UV Water Purifier kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses. This device can be charged via USB and keeps a charge for about 15,000 liters of water. It’s easy to use too. You basically turn it on, put the UV light wand into your bottle of water and the LED readout tells you when the water is good to go.
A last resort for purified drinking water is to use iodine tablets. These are great in an emergency situation or as a backup plan but shouldn’t be relied on long-term for your purified water source.
As with any product out there, it’s important to do your research and read the instructions before you use these products. I personally think they are a great way to get clean drinking water without needing to buy wasteful plastic bottles.
Be cautious but not scared
There are a lot of places in the world that don’t have clean drinking water. Don’t let that stop you from being a world traveler though. You might have to go through a few extra steps or change your daily routine a little but those are minor inconveniences compared to the wonderful returns you will get from your adventures abroad.