If you’ve ever experienced Travelers’ Diarrhea, then you’d know the significance of water safety. Your trip should be more than making dozens of lengthy bathroom runs. Whether visiting exotic places, fine dining in lavish restaurants, or skydiving from 30 thousand feet above, always make sure that your drinking water is safe.
Keep in mind that some countries may have perfectly safe drinking water in major cities and resorts but unhealthy water everywhere else. Don’t be deceived by appearance. In some parts of the world, even tap or bottled water may not be safe.
So, what can you do about drinking water safety on your next travel? We’ve put together some tips to assist you in making sure that the water you drink is safe.
Drinking Water Safety Tips for International Travelers
1. Drink bottled water
Bottled water can be hard on the pocket. What’s more, the bottles are wasteful and not environmentally-friendly, if not disposed properly. If you are travelling alone for roughly 2 weeks in a country or area where water is unhealthy, you will probably use no less than 20 liter-bottles of water for the entire stay.
If you choose to go the bottled-water way, make certain that the bottles are provided in sealed, tamper-proof containers and bottled by well-known brands. You can also refer to hotel personnel or other responsible authorities about safe local brands.
2. Bring water to a boil
When the thirst kicks in, don’t just throw in the towel. Grab a kettle and set your water to boil! Did you know that the most practical method for destroying disease-causing pathogens is boiling your water? That’s right. Just make sure to filter the water to remove any sediments or small, visible specks, then let it boil for a reasonable period. Next, let the hot water cool down without adding ice (which may contain bacteria).
3. Chemical Disinfection
If boiling your water seems impractical, using chemicals to disinfect clear, non-turbid water is an effective method for killing viruses, bacteria and some protozoa. Iodine and chlorine are two of the most commonly used chemicals for disinfection. However, both chemicals can be detrimental to your health, if used in strong doses.
To note, a product containing both chlorine and chemical precipitation should be utilized, when available, to help get rid of more protozoa and destroy bacteria and viruses.
If you are trying to apply chemical disinfection to unclear water with or without suspended solid matter, ensure that you clear the water ahead of time by, for instance, filtering or allowing the impurities to settle.
4. Use a Portable point-of-use (POU) devices
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are tested and rated POU devices that can be used to remove protozoa and some bacteria. The most common types are ceramic, membrane and carbon-block filters. It is crucial that you select the most suitable filter pore size. A size of 1 micron or less for the filter media pore is recommended to ensure removal of Cryptosporidium in clear water.
Water safety is a major concern for most foreign travelers. When journeying to other countries or cities, you should always be mindful that even tap and bottled water may be unsafe for drinking. If you are serious about your health, the tips we’ve provided will make it easier to stay healthy and hydrated on your next trip.