Is the Water Safe to Drink Abroad?
When you turn on the tap at home and fill a glass of water, do you ever think twice about whether the water is safe to drink? I know I usually don’t. Living in California and coming from Europe, I sometimes take my water for granted, but as a traveler, I know that can be dangerous.
No matter where you are traveling to, you need to stay hydrated. Check out this simple guide to water safety while traveling abroad.
Research Water Safety
First, it’s important to know that when a country’s water is labeled “unsafe,” it doesn’t mean you’ll die the minute the water touches your lips. It just means that the water is contaminated enough that it could potentially make you sick. You may see locals drinking the water because their bodies are used to the impurities. You, however, are not, and so you could get sick.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website has plenty of helpful information on water safety in other countries. Read up on their advice first.
Once you’ve booked your hotel, use Google Maps to check the area surrounding your hotel. More than likely, you’ll have a grocery store or market nearby that will sell bottled water. Write down or print out directions.
Of course, you can’t take a case of bottled water through airport security, but have a few options in mind. Before you leave the airport, make sure you pick up a bottle of water from a shop. After checking in, head to the grocery store you found earlier and stock up on bottled water.
Sometimes, you just won’t know how good the water is until you get there. When visiting Mexico, for example, your best option would be to ask locals about the drinking water. Since they’re the ones drinking it frequently, they’ll be able to tell you what’s safe and what’s not.
When you arrive, ask your hotel concierge for advice on drinking water. He or she may have helpful tips and advice for dining in certain areas of the city. If the water in the hotel is unsafe to drink, a sign should be posted near the faucet in your room, and the hotel will provide you with water bottles.
Always Be Cautious
If you don’t think you drink a lot of water, think again. You shower in it, bathe your kids in it, brush your teeth in it, and use it to brew your morning coffee. We often don’t think about it when we ask for ice water or fill a glass to go with some water, but when traveling to places with unsafe water, you need to think more about your water consumption.
When traveling, remember these tips:
Don’t ask for ice in a beverage.
Drink from cans and bottles if possible.
Don’t order a salad in countries with unsafe water. The restaurant will wash the vegetables in the water.
Be cautious which bodies of water you swim in.
Keep your mouth closed when showering or swimming.
Invest in traveler’s insurance, which will help you should you get sick from drinking bad water.
Unsafe water shouldn’t deter you from visiting a country with unsafe drinking water. Just remember to travel smart, and you’ll stay hydrated and healthy.
Share with me, what questions about water safety do you have?