Well hello there! We are a couple who travel and work our way around the world full time whilst running our travel website Unravelling Travelling. Our aim is to make travel more accessible by sharing tips, tricks and advice to those who may feel that travelling is out of their reach. The most common question we get asked is how expensive it is to travel, even on a budget. Whilst we focus mainly on transport and accommodation, we want to bring attention to the smaller amounts that add up, like bottled water in countries where tap water isn’t drinkable, which is why we’ve turned to Water-to-Go.
Water-to-Go make filtration bottles which allow you to drink from any non-salt water source using filters that remove over 99.9% of bacteria. Their mission is to offer safe and healthy drinking water worldwide whilst saving you money (every backpacker’s dream) and providing an alternative to single-use plastic bottles.
Whilst we’re travelling, it’s extremely important for us to stay hydrated, especially when we visit countries with a high humidity and temperatures way beyond those we’re used to. The lack of drinking water in many parts of the world resulted in the buying of bottled water, which had a disastrous effect on both our pockets and the environment. In the USA and Europe alone, we consume over 70 billion single-use plastic water bottles, of which only 20% are recycled. Not only does this have a detrimental effect on the environment, 1 million seabirds and 100,000 mammals die from ingesting or becoming trapped in plastic waste per year.
A video has recently emerged of a tourist beach in Bali showing the amount of plastic contaminating our oceans. Not only is it extremely sad for the wildlife, but also affects us as travellers; it is our duty to leave our destinations as we found them. Drinking a single bottle of water does as much damage to the environment as driving a car for 1km, and for every 5 bottles made, 1 bottle full of oil is used to distribute them.
So why don’t we just reuse the first water bottle we buy when we arrive at our destination, especially as some places do provide free and safe drinking water from the tap? Because reusing our bottle can lead to physical breakdowns of plastic where bacteria can harbour leading to bacterial contamination and that is the last thing we need when we’re in the middle of a trip of a lifetime!
Using a Water-to-Go bottle gives us access to water in the most remote regions of the world. Whether we’re near a puddle, a stream or a bucket of rain water, we use our bottles to filter it into perfectly safe drinking water. Secondly, for every 260 plastic bottles we would have to throw away, we only get through 1 filter with our bottles. Thirdly, it’s safer to drink puddle water from Thailand in a Water-to-Go bottle than it is to drink tap water from a reused plastic bottle in UK. Plus, we save a rather large sum of money.
As backpackers, we spend the months leading up to our trip eating nothing but beans on toast and working 70 hour weeks to pay for it, but we would often forget to add ‘keeping hydrated’ to our budget. An average person is recommended to drink 2 litres of water per day. This equates to 4 bottles of water per day (assuming our bottle size is 500ml). With no access to tap water, we would then spend £4 per day minimum. On a 6 month trip, we would need to budget £744 just for water, whereas with a Water-to-Go bottle it costs £29 for a 500ml bottle and 2 extra filters, plus we save £252 per filter, assuming each filter is equal to exactly 260 plastic bottles costing £1 each. We also remove the filter and use it as our regular day to day bottle, as tap water in the UK only costs 2p per litre.
We received these bottles as a present for Christmas 2017 and have taken them on every trip we’ve been on so far. One of these places was Malaysia, where we decided to hike Bukit Saga, just outside of Kuala Lumpar. Our 3 hour journey quickly turned into 9 hours when we got lost and we hadn’t taken food with us. Luckily what we did have was our Water-to-Go bottles which we filled every step of the way from any water source we could find. Had we bought a bottle of water from a shop beforehand instead, we would have ended up drinking from muddy, murky waters with no filtration system and potentially been extremely ill afterwards. Not something we would have relished during our first few weeks of our trip! You can read our full horror story here.
We recently voted our Water-to-Go bottles our number 1 item in our backpack, but don’t just take our word for it; there have been incredible testimonies from people in a variety of situations and places such as a medical trip to Rwanda, a 4,500km walk the length of India, expeditions to Mongolia and Madagascar, walking the length of the Zambezi River and Kayaking the length of Angola’s Kwanza River, all of which you can read about here.
So, what are you waiting for? To all the backpackers out there, your Water-to-Go bottle will be your best friend and maybe even your life saver! Be sure to purchase a bottle and as many filters as you’ll need before you go. It’s an absolute life changer!
Guest blog post by Li Vinall from Unravelling Travelling
All photos by Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling