Stay healthy while traveling when you can’t drink the water

By Karen Mancl, Professor Food, Agricultural & Biological Engineering

It is a shame to get sick on vacation. Camping and hiking spots in remote areas may have unsanitary water supplies. Most importantly traveling outside the United States poses a risk to travelers, since water treatment is not as reliable in other countries. What can you do to protect yourself and your family from getting sick?

Boil water before drinking is the standard recommendation. Boiling water for just a minute is extremely effective at killing bacteria and parasites that can make people sick. When is doubt – drink boiled water! Any heat source – electric or gas range, camp stove, wood fire and even a microwave oven – heats water to boiling temperatures and kills disease-causing microbes.

What if you can’t boil the water? If boiling water might not be feasible. Other disinfection options are available.

Disinfection tablets containing chlorine or iodine are available for campers and travelers to disinfect a small volume of water. Many different companies market disinfection tablets that can be easily added to water bottles. Always follow the directions on the package. Remember adding chemicals will change the taste of the water.

Sunlight is an amazing disinfectant and is the key to solar disinfection (SODIS). The ultraviolet light in sunlight kills pathogens on contact. To use sunlight to disinfect water, the water must be very clear and placed in the sun in clear containers. Clear plastic water bottles and plastic bags can be used for solar disinfection. The water should be exposed to sunlight for at least 4 and up to 10 hours to kill microbes.

So remember to be safe, boil water for 1 minute before drinking. If boiling is not possible, adding disinfection tablets works to clean water. However, adding chemicals to water changes its taste and while safe, may not be palatable. Disinfecting batches of water in the sun is a low energy, non-chemical solution when traveling or camping.

To find out more about water testing and disinfection check the website for the Ohio State University Soil Environment Technology Learning Lab at


Check Also

What is drainage water recycling?

By Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension Ohio’s farmers know the value of managing water …


  1. Traveling is one of the most rewarding things you can do in life. It can open your eyes to new cultures and people, and show you a side of the world that you may never have seen before. It can also be a great way to get away from your troubles and relax.Morocco desert tours

  2. You’ve provided some excellent advice. I fully think that it is critical for every blogger to assist their readers. Your visitors will return for more if they find value in your material. Readymade doors in lucknow

  3. Traveling can indeed be a great way to boost your creativity and inspire new ideas in your life. Experiencing different cultures, environments, and perspectives can broaden your horizons and give you a fresh perspective on the world.Custom tour Morocco Fès Marrakech

  4. Traveling can also help you meet new people from different backgrounds and cultures. Whether it’s striking up a conversation with a local at a café or joining a tour group, meeting new people can be a great way to learn about different perspectives and make new friends.Travel Advice

  5. When it comes to traveling, staying healthy can be a challenge, especially when you can’t drink the local water. It’s essential to take precautions to avoid getting sick and to enjoy your trip to the fullest. One way to do this is to always carry a water bottle with you and refill it with bottled or purified water. Additionally, try to avoid raw or undercooked foods, and wash your hands frequently. If you are visiting popular tourist attractions, including the Cave of Swallows, it’s crucial to gather useful information before your trip. The website provides valuable insights into this stunning natural wonder, including safety tips, what to bring, and the best times to visit. By taking these steps, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip while exploring the world’s most beautiful tourist attractions.

  6. Traveling can provide you with the opportunity to take a break, unwind, and rejuvenate yourself by allowing you the necessary time and space for self-reflection.bestspents

  7. Hi, Breaking away from daily routines and familiar environments disrupts the monotony of life and opens up new possibilities. This change in scenery and routine can rejuvenate the mind, promote self-reflection, and encourage fresh ways of guides

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.