Tap Water: A Traveller’s Guide

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If there’s one thing that’ll ruin your trip - guaranteed - it’s getting sick. One of the leading sources of health issues in travellers is drinking contaminated tap water. If you’re lucky you might end up with a light gastrointestinal distress issue, or at its worst, a bacterial disease that’ll take you down faster than the speed of light.

E. coli, cholera and salmonella are three of the most common hazards found in unsafe tap water, but with the range of chemical pollutants found in many freshwater sources across the world these days, there are literally millions of protozoa and viruses that you can accidentally ingest. Even if the local tap water has been deemed safe for consumption, your system might still be bowled over by the foreign components, something to which the locals have grown accustomed to.

Your safest bet is obviously to just stick to sealed, bottled water for drinking purposes. If you can’t get your hands on bottled water, make sure that you boil the tap water and use a water purification tablet or filter to get rid of any micro-organisms.

The best way to protect yourself is to avoid local tap water and instead seek out bottled water; when that's not available, boiling tap water generally kills most micro-organisms, and there are a number of good water filters and purification tablets that can easily be stowed in your carry-on. Read on for tips on how to keep yourself safe, healthy and well-hydrated on your next trip.

If you experience any of the following symptoms (and they don’t clear up within a day or two), seek medical help as it might indicate that you have contracted a water-borne infection:
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Aches and/or chills
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