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How to Make Sure You Drink Safe Water While Travelling

How to Make Sure You Drink Safe Water While Travelling

Water is the one thing we cannot go without, wherever we go. Whether you're drinking tap water from the hotel you're staying at, or from a natural source nearby your campsite, you need to make sure that it's not contaminated.

One sip of the “wrong” water, and you may end up with E.coli, hepatitis – and who knows what other diseases.

Regardless of the source, ensuring the water you drink is safe is vital. You may test it, you may treat it – you may do both. The end result should be that you drink clean water that doesn't make you ill.

But how can you be sure?

1) Buy Test Strips

There are countless test strips on the market that can tell you exactly whether the water you are drinking is safe or not.

These strips are colour-based – and generally, they can test for at least 10 contaminants at the same time.

Depending on whether the water is contaminated or not, the strip will change in a certain colour. 

This should generally be done with tap water – particularly if the area is not known for having stellar drinkable water.

However, it’s also a good choice to have around if you’re drinking spring water. After all, you never know what contaminants might be present in the water.

2) Filter the Water

This is perhaps the first thing to do if you want to drink safe water while you are traveling.

If you see that the water you’re planning to drink is cloudy or features various sediments, you may want to bring out your portable water filter and let it remove all the sediments.

There are many brands that will help you in that regard – but if you do not have that option, some coffee filters should do the trick just right. 

Bear in mind that while filters will remove the sediments and accumulations, not all of them will remove the bacteria and viruses.

Some filters will efficiently remove the bacteria (e.g. the Lifestraw), but they are generally not able to remove the virus. This is because the pore sizes aren’t small enough.

For this reason, you might want to do your research on the area that you’re planning to travel to. If viruses are rare in that area, then you might consider using a filter.

Staying fit and healthy while travelling is the goal!

3) Boil the Water

If you do it properly, boiling the water can efficiently destroy all the microbial life in the water. If you’re wondering “how could you actually screw up boiling water?” here’s the answer for you: you screw it up by not boiling it enough. 

We know that time is precious when you are travelling, but you should boil the water for at least 3 minutes before you drink it.

If you go above 5,000 feet over sea level, you should bump that time up to 5 minutes. For every 1,000 feet above that level, you should add one more minute to the boiling time.

That’s how you boil water properly for drinking!

4) Use Chemical Treatments

It may sound odd, but chemical treatments might make the water drinkable – and in this case, you may go for chlorine and iodine tablets.

With the right dosages, these treatments may kill most of the bacteria causing diarrhoea, as well as other contaminants, allowing you to continue your trip in peace.

Related: Travel Supplement Essentials – 6 Natural Products to Take on Holiday

5) Use Iodine Tablets

Iodine tablets represent another effective way to disinfect the water while you are traveling. They work similarly to chlorine and can be bought from the same places.

However, unlike chlorine, iodine tends to leave a fairly noticeable aftertaste. 

The advantage here is that you don’t need a lot of iodine to treat the water. Generally, one tablet is enough to clean an entire litre of water. 

Related: Nascent Iodine – Do UK Citizens Need to Supplement?

6) UV Light Treatments

Modern technology also allows you to clean water using UV light. This technology has the ability to destroy the DNA pertaining to pretty much every harmful organism – ensuring that the water is safe to drink.

And the advantage to this one is that you don’t have to wait long: 60 ounces can easily be treated in just one minute, even less. 

Moreover, unlike chemical treatments, this one does not leave a strange aftertaste. It will just be pure water that you treat by putting the UV purifier in your glass of water.

You’ll know that the water has become safe when the water turns pure. If you are taking this when you’re camping, you might want to use it together with the purifier.


The take-home? Stay safe, and always drink safe water! The last thing you want is to become sick on your travels because your water was unsafe to drink.

There are a number of articles concerning water on our blog. Do give them a read, and find out why water does more than just “fill up the space between cells.”

Reclaiming the Hidden Mysteries of Life, with Water

7 Ways Drinking Water Helps You Lose Weight

5 Problems Caused by Not Drinking Enough Water

Everything You Need to Know About Structured Water

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.