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"Is the water safe to drink?"  In developed countries, the answer is usually yes.  When traveling in areas of poor sanitation, follow our recommendations on beverage consumption.


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Travel Advice - What's safe to drink during travel abroad?

Problems with water quality are usually restricted to lesser-developed countries that do not have adequate chlorination programs. Intake of contaminated water often results in diarrhea but can, also, result in serious disease.  Water that has been adequately chlorinated will afford substantial protection against viral and bacterial waterborne diseases.


In areas where chlorinated tap water is not available or where hygiene and sanitation are poor, only the following beverages might be safe to drink:

  • Tea, coffee, or other beverages made with boiled water (and be sure that it was boiled).
  •  Canned or bottled carbonated beverages, including carbonated, bottled water and soft drinks.
    • Make sure that the cap on the bottle is securely sealed. Re-using non-sanitized bottles is common in some third world countries, so inspect all containers before drinking the contents.
    • In addition, make sure that the bottle is opened in your presence, not out of your sight, or your drink could be contaminated.
  • Beer and wine.

Note that plain old bottled water is not in the list of potentially safe drinks.

  • If water in the area is unsafe, bottling local water will not sanitize it. In locations where water might be contaminated, be advised that ice will likely be contaminated and should not be used or requested.
    • If you are certain that the bottled water was produced in a developed country, consider drinking it.
  •  If ice has been in contact with reusable, drinking containers, thoroughly clean the containers, preferably with soap and hot water, after the ice has been discarded.
  •  If you believe that the bottled water has been imported from outside the country (e.g. a sealed and properly labeled bottle of Pellegrino), it should be safe to drink.

It may be safer to drink a beverage directly from the can or bottle than to use a glass that could have been contaminated during handling.

  • Note: water on the outside of beverage cans or bottles might be contaminated. Travelers should dry wet cans or bottles before their contents are consumed. Be especially careful to clean surfaces that will come into direct contact with the mouth.

Remember that fresh vegetables, fruits, and salads are normally washed before serving. If the local water is not fit to drink, uncooked foods that are washed in it are not safe either.

Whenever there is the possibility that water is contaminated, avoid brushing your teeth with tap water.

Finally, water and ice aboard commercial aircraft are not always pure.

  • The food and water on the flight may have been provisioned in the country of departure, where water and ice may be contaminated. Be safe.
    •  Ask the source of the water and ice. If in doubt, follow the rules above.

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