Ever heard of Montezuma’s revenge from travelers visiting Mexico? Getting sick on a trip is not fun at all and consuming contaminated water is one of the easiest ways for travelers to get sick. Most times though, it’s simply because the pathogens in the water are foreign to your immune system where as locals have adapted to it.
We’re headed to Cuba soon and that means we’ve been thinking about what we need to do and getting some useful items to prep since we won’t be able to drink the tap water there.
Living in the states, drinking fresh tap water isn’t something we ever really have to think about since it’s available everywhere without concern (thankful).
I wanted to share a really cool and handy interactive map I came across that shows you exactly where Americans can and can’t drink the tap water: Where on Earth Can I Drink Tap Water?
The info was collected by the Center for Disease Control and put together by a company called Just The Flight. I know this map will really come in handy for us and I also love how it shows the price of beer on there for fun. I mean, sometimes you just need to know whether it’s worth grabbing a beer instead of water (especially in Germany)!
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Boil the water
- Water filter and purification systems
- I’d suggest going to an outdoor store like REI to check out all your options
- We got these Lifestraw water bottles to take with us which will help (get the 2 stage one). We’ll mostly rely on bottled water but if we need to use these we will. They’ll also really come in handy with all the outdoor adventures we go on so we can drink water anywhere.
- Get a SteriPen
- Uses ultraviolet light to kill bacteria, viruses and protozoa. Works with AA lithium batteries so make sure you bring backup batteries too!
- Might as well just go ahead and pack Bepto-Pismal or Imodium to take with you just in case
THINGS TO AVOID
Obviously, the water but here are some other things to remember…
- Fresh fruits and vegetables that have been washed in the water (unless it’s been peeled)
- Ice cubes in your drinks (or make sure the ice cubes have been made with bottled water)
- Water when brushing your teeth and showering
- Use bottled water for brushing your teeth.
- You can shower like normal but just don’t let the water get in your mouth.
You should also keep in mind that if you’re staying at a big hotel in the city you’re probably fine to drink the tap water because it’s treated (like the all-inclusive resorts in Mexico) but I would simply ask if it’s safe to drink. Of course, if you’re staying in the outskirts even at a boutique hotel you may have to stick to bottled water but just ask.
I hope this is helpful and you refer back to it when you’re headed off on your adventures! If you have any stories about drinking water from your travels, feel free to share in the comments!