10 Ways Not to Pay for Drinking Water When You Travel

Maybe one of the harder things about traveling is your ability to quench your thirst with water. It’s frustrating to constantly fear that the drinking water will make you sick. And it’s even more exhausting to have to constantly buy bottled water, resulting in wasted money and too much plastic. So what’s a traveler to do?

Tricks to Finding Drinking Water

We’ve come up with some hints and tips to finding drinking water without having to buy it by the bottle. Read our tips below.

4 Tips for Clean Tap Water

  1. Start with a good, portable, water bottle. If you’ll be traveling in countries where the tap water is drinkable, we recommend this bottle. It’s durable, fits in the side of a backpack, and has large capacity. We tested three types on our around the world adventure; water bottles with screw tops, water bottles with built-in straws, and squeezable/collapsible water bottles like in this picture. After 26000 miles, we agreed that the water bottle should have a D-ring so it can attach to things, it should be durable, and it should not have a built-in straw. Ultimately, we recommend the Polar Bottle.
  2. If you’re in a country where the tap water is not drinkable, get a filtered water bottle like this one. My friends used this one all over Latin America and loved it.
  3. Whereas a filtered water bottle is handy, it can be expensive over time. Instead, get yourself a Lifestraw. I used this one in Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile, and had ZERO issues with digestion. These are handy because you can stick them right into a glass of water.
  4. In situations where you don’t have your water bottle or straw, as a last resort, Starbucks has a policy that anyone asking for water can have one. Be polite, especially if they’re busy, and kindly stand in line to ask. Don’t barge up to the counter to get a water.

5 Tips for Filling Water Bottles

  1. If you don’t have your bottle or straw with you, when you go to a restaurant, ask for tap water. In Europe they’ll try to respond by asking if you want Gas or No Gas (carbonated or not carbonated). Respond that you want neither, and you want water from the tap. If necessary, use Google Translate to explain you want tap water or the filtered water they serve everyone else. The problem with this approach, though, is you the waitstaff may assume that you’re being cheap. It’s easier to just have your water bottle with you and avoid the question altogether.
  2. Before you leave your hotel/AirBnB/house for the day, fill your water bottle from the tap at home. Or boil it the night before and fill you bottle on the way out.
  3. Throughout Asia, you’ll see water vending machines. Although you will have to pay a per gallon/liter charge, it will be cheaper than buying a single serving water bottle in the long run.
  4. Hotel lobbies often have water dispensers. Stop in and fill up.
  5. Before you leave the restaurant where you ate, ask the waiter to fill your water bottle or fill it with water that is already on the table that you have not drunk yet.

The Best Tip for Filtering

Lastly, buy this filtering device. If you are hiking and camping during your trip, you’ll need a filtering device. I LOVE my Steripen. I take it when I hike long distance, and it’s a back up in cities when the eight tips above don’t work.

Lastly, don’t skimp on water. It’s the fuel for your energy, it’s the way to avoid headaches when traveling, and it will help with digestion. And we all need that help when everything is different, inconvenient, and awkward.

Drink up.

What tips to you have for finding and drinking clean water while traveling? Share with us!


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