Best Ways to Drink Safe Water While Traveling

When you travel to another country you cannot always be sure that the water you are drinking is clean and safe.


Best Ways to Drink Safe Water While Traveling

Drinking contaminated water can pose a major threat to your health and it is not unusual for people who travel to develop unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. If water is not treated properly it is likely to contain bacteria including cholera, and even protozoan parasites such as Giardia and Entamoeba which can make you seriously ill. Even viruses such as hepatitis and rotavirus can be found in unclean water. These types of illnesses are more common in hot, humid climates since bacteria and other organisms tend to flourish in such conditions. However, there has been the occasional outbreak of water-borne disease even in colder countries and in the developed world, so you need to be vigilant regardless of where you are visiting and the climate. Keep in mind that you can also be exposed to water pollutants when using water to brush your teeth or when eating fruit that has been rinsed with local water.

Drink Bottled Water

There are some steps you can take to protect yourself and any others who may be traveling with you. The best and safest strategy is to buy bottled water. This is always preferable to tap water.  Be careful of seal tampering though; make sure that the lid has a seal that hasn’t been broken or glued down.

Filter or Boil

If bottled water is not an option, then another way to make water safe is to boil it. This will kill most microorganisms that are present that could make you ill. However, boiling water will not remove chemical contaminants (heating the water is still a better option than doing nothing though). Also, be aware that ice is not safe to drink at all, and many bacteria can survive being frozen. You need to boil the water for at least a minute and then let it cool down on its own. A further option is to use some type of water filter or carry water purification tablets that you can use to treat the water yourself. Chlorine and iodine tablets can be used temporarily to disinfect water, but these may still not kill everything in the water. For instance, Cryptosporidium can still survive such a treatment. However, once again, it is best to try something rather than risk it and drink water that you are unsure of.


Another popular choice that some people make is to use a portable UV water purifier. These are advertised as destroying more than 99% of bacteria, protozoan parasites and viruses in water. However, the problem is that they use batteries which will not be easy to come by if you are in a remote region. You can also investigate other portable filtration systems such as the Lifesaver bottle – look it up, it is amazing – or the pump action Pocket Filter. It is important to always remember to be careful while drinking water when traveling.

Purifier water