Healthy Water While Traveling Abroad – Tips to Stay Safe


While at home, you have the ability to drink the highest quality water you can find. In the U.S., it is generally believed that drinking filtered tap water is one of the safest and eco-friendly ways to go. But how do you find healthy water while traveling abroad? Filtered tap water is not always a safe or convenient option. If recent news of hormone-disrupting BPA in water bottles, pharmaceuticals in U.S. tap water, and the environmental impact of bottled water has got you down, you’re not alone. Here are some realistic, environmentally-friendly tips for finding healthy water while traveling and anywhere.

LIFESAVER Systems 4000 Ultra Filtration Water Bottle

Finding healthy water while traveling

Filter tap water. If the tap water is safe to drink, drink it, but filter it when you can. In the U.S., tap water is better regulated than bottled water so it’s a safer bet. Plus, carbon filters (like Brita) and reverse osmosis (R.O.) systems remove most of the not-so-pleasant things that find their way into our water.

Avoid the disposable water bottles. Cheap plastic bottles are hard on the environment, and they can leach chemicals that are bad for your health. Skip them when you can. Use a Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottle when traveling and anytime you are on the go. It will add up to a big difference.

Healthy Water While Traveling photo credit: Conor Lawless

Boil your water. If you know tap water isn’t safe to drink, boil it to kill bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should “boil water vigorously for 1 minute and allow it to cool to room temperature.”

Buy big jugs when you need to drink bottled water. Sometimes bottled water is the safest and most convenient option. When you have to buy bottled, get big jugs. They create less waste so they’re better for the environment.

Invest in a stainless steel or other reusable water bottle. Our personal favorite is Klean Kanteen because unlike polycarbonate plastic bottles, they’re free of bisphenol A. Additionally, they’re pretty lightweight. If you’re in a city where you have to drink bottled water, pour some of the water from your jug into your Klean Kanteen before heading out for the day. For more info on finding a water bottle that’s right for you, check out our post on How to Choose a Healthy Water Bottle: 34 Resources and Stainless Steel Water Bottle Smackdown for loads of information on how to choose the best bottle.

On drinking tap water in developing (and some developed) countries. Just in case I didn’t make this totally clear, please don’t go on an environmental crusade when traveling and decide to universally ditch bottled water in favor of tap water. In some places there are bacteria in water that could make you sick or kill you. (Cryptosporidiosis, anyone?) In these instances, you may need to drink the bottled water.

Enjoy healthy water while traveling

It’s important to do your research if you are going to remote areas. With some careful advanced planning, you should be able to enjoy healthy water while traveling, wherever you are.

How to Choose Healthy Water Bottle – 34 Resources
Best Portable Water Purifier for Travel
Best Water Bottle with Filter
Filtered Water Bottle Review
Green Guide Plastics Cheat Sheet
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy Plastics Cheat Sheet:
PBS Interview on Plastics and Safety
CamelBak BPA Free Better Bottle Water Bottle Review
Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle Review
Mavea Water Pitcher Review: Stylish and Effective

22 thoughts on “Healthy Water While Traveling Abroad – Tips to Stay Safe”

  1. Marilyn Terrell

    The Klean Kanteen is good if the water you’re pouring into it is clean to begin with. If you’re in a developing country, you might want to take a LifeStraw, a portable water purifier that provides safe drinking water and prevents disease:

  2. AquaSafeStraw is perfect for travel. Fits in your handbag/daypack. Filters out 99.99% of water bacteria like giardia and cryptosporidium. Saves you on the need to buy bottled water and is chemical free – what more could you need !

  3. Hmm…I drink bottled spring water for its high mineral content. However, this bisphenol A stuff may negate the benefits. I’ll have to look into that. Thanks for the tip.

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  5. Boil your water when traveling overseas? You’re kidding, right? How do you propose to do that? Build a campfire in your hotel room? You must have only traveled on Planet LaLaLand. Here on Planet Earth, most hotel rooms do not come with water boiling apparatus. This suggestion was so not helpful!

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