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Drinking Tap Water When Travelling – Safe And Eco-Friendly


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Danila Hitchcock



When traveling to new destinations, one of the most important considerations is access to safe drinking water. Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining good health while on the road. However, the quality of tap water can vary greatly from one location to another, leading many travelers to rely on bottled water instead. But there is a growing movement towards embracing tap water as a safe and eco-friendly alternative.


In this article, we will explore the benefits of drinking tap water when traveling, as well as the safety considerations associated with different countries. We will also provide tips for ensuring the safety of tap water while on the go and highlight the eco-friendly aspects of this choice. Additionally, we will examine alternatives to tap water for those situations where tap water may not be readily available or safe to consume.


By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of the advantages of drinking tap water when traveling, and how it can not only benefit your health but also contribute to the environment. So, let’s dive in and learn more about this often-underestimated resource.


Benefits of Drinking Tap Water When Traveling

Choosing to drink tap water when traveling offers numerous benefits that go beyond convenience and cost-effectiveness. Let’s explore some of the advantages:

  1. Cost Savings: One of the most noticeable benefits of drinking tap water is the significant cost savings. Bottled water can be expensive, especially in tourist areas where prices are often inflated. By opting for tap water, you can save money that can be better spent on other aspects of your trip.
  2. Convenience: Having access to safe tap water wherever you go provides convenience and reduces the need to constantly search for bottled water retailers. You can simply fill up your reusable water bottle at your accommodation or public water fountains, ensuring that you stay hydrated throughout the day.
  3. Health Benefits: In many developed countries, tap water undergoes rigorous filtration and treatment processes to meet safety standards. Drinking tap water can provide the essential minerals your body needs, such as calcium and magnesium, which may be lacking in bottled water that has undergone extensive purification processes.
  4. Supporting Local Infrastructure: By choosing to drink tap water, you are supporting the local water infrastructure of the destination you are visiting. This helps ensure that clean and accessible water is available to the local community, even in remote areas.
  5. Reducing Plastic Waste: The environmental impact of single-use plastic bottles is a growing concern. By opting for tap water, you can significantly reduce your contribution to plastic waste while traveling. Using a reusable water bottle not only cuts down on plastic consumption but also promotes sustainable travel practices.

These are just a few of the benefits associated with drinking tap water when traveling. Now, let’s explore the safety considerations of tap water in different countries.


Safety of Drinking Tap Water in Different Countries

When traveling to a new country, it’s important to be aware of the safety of tap water as it can vary significantly from one location to another. While tap water is generally safe to drink in many developed countries, there are some regions where additional precautions need to be taken. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Developed Countries: In most developed countries, tap water is regulated and treated to meet strict safety standards. Places like the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand generally have safe tap water that can be consumed without any concerns.
  2. Developing Countries: When traveling to developing countries or regions with inadequate sanitation systems, it is recommended to be cautious about drinking tap water. In these areas, tap water can be contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, or parasites. It is advisable to use bottled water or purified water for drinking and brushing your teeth.
  3. Specific Destinations: Some popular tourist destinations may have certain areas where tap water is not safe to drink. Research the specific recommendations for your destination before traveling. This information can usually be found on government health websites or travel advisories.
  4. Boiling or Filtering Water: In places where tap water quality is uncertain, you can take additional measures to ensure its safety. Boiling tap water for at least one minute kills most harmful bacteria and parasites. Another option is to use water filters or purification tablets to remove contaminants.

It’s important to note that the safety of tap water can change over time due to factors such as infrastructure improvements or natural events. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to stay informed about the latest updates regarding the safety of tap water in the country or region you are visiting. Follow local recommendations and take necessary precautions to protect your health.


Now that we have discussed the safety considerations, let’s move on to the tips for ensuring the safety of tap water while traveling.


Tips for Ensuring the Safety of Tap Water While Traveling

While tap water can be a safe and convenient option for staying hydrated while traveling, it’s essential to take certain precautions to ensure its safety. Here are some tips to follow:

  1. Research Local Water Quality: Before you travel to a new destination, research the local water quality. Check government health websites or travel advisories for any specific guidelines or warnings regarding tap water safety in that area.
  2. Boil Water: If you are uncertain about the safety of tap water, consider boiling it for at least one minute before drinking. Boiling kills most harmful bacteria and parasites, making it safer for consumption.
  3. Use Water Filters or Purification Tablets: In regions with questionable tap water safety, using water filters or purification tablets can provide an extra layer of protection. These portable filtration systems remove impurities from the water, making it safer to drink.
  4. Purchase Bottled Water: If tap water safety is a concern or if you are traveling to a destination with a known issue, consider purchasing bottled water from reliable sources. Look for sealed bottles to ensure the integrity of the water inside.
  5. Reusable Water Bottles: Invest in a reusable water bottle made from food-grade materials. This will allow you to carry tap water with you and reduce single-use plastic bottle waste. Look for bottles with built-in filtration systems if you want an added layer of filtration.
  6. Use Water Disinfection Tablets: When clean water is not readily available, water disinfection tablets can be a handy solution. These tablets are designed to kill harmful bacteria and viruses, making water safe for drinking. Follow the instructions provided and allow sufficient contact time for the tablets to work effectively.
  7. Avoid Ice and Raw Foods: In regions with uncertain tap water quality, it’s best to avoid using ice made from tap water and consuming raw fruits and vegetables that may have been washed with tap water. Stick to bottled or purified water sources for these items.
  8. Stay Hydrated: Regardless of the water source, staying hydrated is crucial when traveling. Carry a water bottle with you at all times and drink regularly throughout the day to avoid dehydration.

By following these tips, you can help ensure the safety of tap water while traveling and minimize the risk of waterborne illnesses. Now, let’s explore the eco-friendly aspects of drinking tap water.


Eco-Friendly Aspects of Drinking Tap Water

Drinking tap water while traveling has numerous eco-friendly advantages that contribute to sustainable tourism. Let’s delve into some of these eco-friendly aspects:

  1. Reduced Plastic Waste: One of the significant environmental benefits of drinking tap water is the reduction in plastic waste. Single-use plastic water bottles contribute to the global plastic pollution crisis. By choosing tap water and using a reusable water bottle, you can avoid the need for single-use plastic bottles and help reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills and oceans.
  2. Lower Carbon Footprint: Bottled water production and transportation contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. By drinking tap water, you reduce the demand for bottled water, which in turn decreases the carbon footprint associated with its production and distribution.
  3. Conservation of Resources: Producing bottled water requires significant amounts of water and energy. By opting for tap water, you contribute to the conservation of these valuable resources. Additionally, tap water does not require the extraction and processing of raw materials, further reducing the environmental impact.
  4. Supporting Public Water Systems: Drinking tap water supports and enhances public water systems. When travelers choose tap water, it encourages governments and local authorities to invest in maintaining and improving water infrastructure, ensuring clean and safe drinking water for both locals and tourists.
  5. Educating and Promoting Sustainable Practices: By choosing tap water, you can inspire others to do the same. Through your actions, you can raise awareness about the environmental impact of bottled water and influence others to opt for more sustainable choices. Promoting the use of reusable water bottles and advocating for tap water is a small yet impactful step towards a more sustainable future.

When traveling, it’s crucial to be mindful of the environment and make conscious choices that minimize our impact. By embracing tap water and adopting sustainable practices, we can contribute to a greener and more eco-friendly travel experience.


Now, let’s explore some alternative options when tap water is not readily available or safe to consume.


Alternatives to Tap Water When Traveling

While tap water is often a safe and eco-friendly option for drinking water when traveling, there may be situations where tap water is either unavailable or deemed unsafe to consume. In such cases, here are some alternatives to consider:

  1. Bottled Water: When tap water is not safe to consume or not readily available, bottled water is a commonly used alternative. Look for reputable brands and ensure that the water is sealed to maintain its integrity. Keep in mind the environmental impact of single-use plastic bottles and try to recycle them properly.
  2. Purified Water: Purified water, which has undergone filtration or other treatment processes to remove impurities, can be a reliable alternative to tap water. Look for reliable purification methods such as reverse osmosis or distillation. Purified water can usually be found in stores or through water purification systems in hotels.
  3. Filtered Water: For locations where tap water quality is questionable, using portable water filters can be an effective alternative. These filters remove impurities from the water, making it safe to drink. There are various types of water filters available, including straw filters, bottle filters, and gravity filters.
  4. Boiled Water: Boiling water for at least one minute kills most harmful bacteria and parasites, making it safe to drink. If you have access to a heat source and a pot, boiling tap water can be a cost-effective and reliable alternative when other options are not available.
  5. Water Purification Tablets: Water purification tablets are a convenient alternative for purifying water when tap water is not safe to consume. These tablets contain chemicals that can kill bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure proper disinfection.
  6. Locally Recommended Sources: When traveling to a specific destination, consult local authorities or trusted sources for recommendations on safe drinking water alternatives. They may provide information on trusted suppliers or specific water sources that are known to be reliable.

It’s important to note that while these alternatives can be useful in situations where tap water is not accessible or safe, it’s still ideal to prioritize drinking tap water whenever possible to minimize the environmental impact and support local water infrastructure.


Now that we have discussed the alternatives, let’s conclude our article.



Drinking tap water when traveling offers a multitude of benefits, ranging from cost savings and convenience to supporting local infrastructure and reducing plastic waste. While tap water is generally safe in developed countries, it’s essential to research and take necessary precautions in regions with questionable water quality. By boiling tap water, using water filters or purification tablets, or opting for bottled or purified water, you can ensure your safety while staying hydrated.


Moreover, choosing tap water is not only beneficial for your health and well-being but also has a positive impact on the environment. By reducing plastic waste, lowering the carbon footprint, conserving resources, and promoting sustainable practices, you contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly travel experience.


However, in situations where tap water is not available or safe to drink, alternatives such as bottled water, purified water, filtered water, boiled water, or water purification tablets can be considered. It’s important to be mindful of the environmental impact and strive to minimize waste by recycling plastic bottles and using reusable water bottles whenever possible.


In conclusion, embracing tap water when traveling is not only a smart choice for your health and budget but also a responsible decision that supports the environment and local communities. By being informed, making conscious choices, and promoting sustainable practices, we can enjoy safe, eco-friendly, and enjoyable travel experiences for years to come.