Let’s get practical for a second. The water situation in India can be dangerous. While many of the higher end restaurants serve filtered water, there is always a bit of a concern. The water supply in India can often be full of different types of pollutants and it’s typically extremely unsafe to drink. Understanding the drinking water situation in India is a must to prevent getting sick.
Bad water is the #1 cause of dysentery and parasite infection in India and around the world, so be prepared when you visit India or any other foreign country that may not have a safe public water supply.
Here are 9 Safety Tips for Drinking Water in India
1) Always Use a Straw!
Drink your bottled water, juice or soda with a straw. Or do as the locals do– pour the soda into your mouth without touching the can or bottle to your lips. You can even bring your own pack of straws to be safe.
2) Drink Soda and Juices from a Can
Yep, my number one and two tips are to choose drinks other than water! Drinking juice or soda from a can is a safe option. Glass soda bottles are very common in India and you’ll see brands such as Nimbooz (lemon drink), Mango Frooti (mango drink), Limca or Coke.
3) Drink Fresh Coconuts
Fresh coconuts are my favorite in any country. They are extremely good for hydration and providing electrolytes. These electrolytes are especially helpful in hot climates. Note: If you want to be super careful, don’t drink coconuts unless you’re satisfied with the cleanliness of the knife that the coconut vendor is using and then make sure to use your own straw.
4) Drink Bottled Mineral Water
The best-bottled mineral water brands in India are: Bisleri, Kinley, and Aquafina. Double-check the bottles are still sealed. It’s important to check the seal because it has been known that shop owners will refill the bottles and try to glue the lid back on.
5) Avoid Ice in Drinks
Typically the water used to make ice is not sanitary. Better to be safe than sorry!
6) Bring a SteriPen & Iodine Tablets
An affordable product that works well is a Steripen Freedom Water Purifier which uses UV to “destroy over 99.9% of harmful microorganisms in water.” With a SteriPEN, you can drink the water just about anywhere thanks to this small, lightweight (74g, 2.6 oz.) and rechargeable UV water purifier.
In less than a minute, you can have a half-liter of water that’s 99% distilled and ready to go. This device can provides 8000 0.5L (16 oz.) water treatments. Also, the end of the Freedom is an LED flashlight. A neoprene case, AC Adapter, and USB cable are included with the Freedom.
To be 100% safe, it is also good to use Water Purification Tablets and to boil the water for a few minutes to be certain that all the bacteria, such as Giardia, has been killed.
7) Supplement with Electrolytes
Adding electrolytes and multivitamins to water or coconut water is a great way to get stay hydrated. My favorite electrolyte drink is EcoDrink and it is great for traveling. The small pouches are easy to travel with and you simply add them to water or any liquid for an excellent nutrient delivery system that helps to boost the immune system, provide balanced energy without stimulants and are loaded with electrolytes to keep you hydrated!
8) Brush teeth with bottled mineral water
I also travel in Mexico quite a bit and I have gotten into the habit of always brushing my teeth while traveling with bottled water. Since all tap water in India is usually contaminated with both bacteria & pollutants, it’s not safe, even for brushing your teeth. Another reason to take this precaution is that the gums can be a direct path to the bloodstream allowing infection to get in.
9) Bring a Grayl Quest Water Filtration bottle
I was so excited to try out the Grayl water bottle with filter. The bottle comes with three optional filters; a tap filter for everyday water, an international travel filter which I took to on my Mexico trip and a hiking trail filter. The filters can be interchanged and all you do is pop on the filter of your choice, fill the empty outer cup with water and then push the inner cup with filter down so water passes through as filtered clean water(think French press). The bottles are BPA-free plastic. Pretty cool invention! Check out the Grayl Quest Grayl Water Filtration bottle on Amazon.
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Alexa Meisler is the editorial director of 52 Perfect Days. Born in Paris, France she has since lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in San Diego with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring California and Mexico.
Travel has always been a part of her life; traveling to such places as Morocco, Tangiers and Spain as a young child as well as taking many road trips to Mexico with her grandparents as a young girl. Since then, she has traveled abroad to locations such as Russia, Taiwan and throughout Europe.
Prior to working at 52 Perfect Days she was a freelance travel writer; focusing on family and women’s adventure experiences.