How To Avoid Using Plastic Bottles While Traveling To A Country Without Safe Tap Water

Source:  The TerraMar Project

Photo: Brian Yurasits


It’s the ultimate dilemma for a sustainable traveler.

You’re in paradise, set out to enjoy an amazing tropical vacation to your dream destination.

BUT, you know that if you drink the water there you’ll spend your time with an unpleasant case of Traveler’s Diarrhea, Bali Belly, Montezuma’s Revenge – whatever you would like to call it. It’s not fun and very much worth avoiding.

So even though you’re an eco-warrior at heart, when you land you immediately stock the fridge with big plastic water bottles. Despite your conscious cringing at the idea of grabbing a plastic bottle from the fridge – you decide it’s the right thing to do for your health and those traveling with you.

The question: Is there a way to be an eco-warrior on vacation without risking sickness?

plastic bottles

Photo: Brian Yurasits

The Key Is To Be Prepared For Anything

Our bodies are made of 60 percent water and we need to stay constantly hydrated. And as much as we would like to fuel our holiday bodies with morning pineapple juice and some booze, we need water to survive.

While spending some time traveling in the Caribbean and Bali this year, we’ve had some time to explore solutions to this problem.

The key we’ve found is to be prepared for anything – because every location is different.

Solution 1: Bring A Re-Usable Bottle

This one is your best bet.

Oftentimes when we travel, we manage to find at least one nearby surf shop, restaurant, hotel, dive shop, etc that is dedicated to fighting plastic pollution in their community. And these places will often provide clean drinking water to the public for free.

So, come prepared with your re-usable water bottle just in-case you manage to run into one of these oasis’s – and make it your home base to stop and refuel before heading out for the day.

plastic bottle

Photo: Brian Yurasits

Solution 2: Bring A Life-Straw/Boil Water/Water Purifier tablets

A bit more intense of a solution than the re-usable water bottle, but sometimes clean tap just isn’t an option.

So bringing a product like the Life Straw, boiling your water before drinking, or bringing water purifying tablets/drops can be important to help keep you hydrated and healthy.

A great tool to bring on hiking and camping trips as well.

plastic bottles

Photo: David Tran/Unsplash

Instructions on how to boil dirty water.

Solution 3: Bigger Is Better

If you can’t find any other option to get clean drinking water – it’s better to buy one large container of water than a bunch of smaller plastic water bottles.

And when you finish the larger jug of water, see if the local people or hotel owners can find a way to recycle it.

plastic bottles

Photo: Plastic water bottles recycled into a cigarette butt receptacle. By taken in Bali by Brian Yurasits

Solution 4: On The Flight

On flights, plane meals use a ton of plastic. And flight attendants only have plastic cups to give out water in.

If you bring your own water bottle and ask them to fill it up, they will always say yes, and then you have some free, clean water for the rest of your flight.

plastic bottles

Photo: Suhyeon Choi/Unsplash

We realize that nobody is perfect, and it’s a real challenge to reduce your plastic use while being on the road. But your efforts definitely make a difference. And they’ll open your eyes to how plastic affects the place you’re traveling to. When you see how pervasive plastic is in the lives of people here, and unavoidable in its nature, you realize why this is an epidemic of global proportions.

Take Action today and help in our efforts to bring plastic solutions to everyone.