Peter’s story of how he overcame the issue of safe drinking water whilst travelling
Water-to-Go customer, Peter, loves to travel all over the world. He has travelled to many colourful destinations near and far including South Africa, India, Mongolia and Rwanda.
However, when travelling Peter encounters the crucial challenge faced by so many travellers; having vital access to clean safe drinking water whilst not having to rely on environmentally disastrous single-use plastic bottles. Often when on holiday abroad water sources can be unsafe to drink from and can end up completely ruining your holiday through horrible illness. This means travellers are often forced to revert to bottled water as a means of getting essential clean safe drinking water. The problem with this is the horrendous damage single-use plastic does to our beautiful wildlife, particularly in our incredible oceans.
Peter was then at a travel show and came across an intriguing demonstration from the Water-to-Go team. The demonstrator ‘put dirty river water into a reusable plastic bottle with a replaceable filter and then filtered that water into a glass. The water was now crystal clear and he drank it’. Peter added ‘with all the demos he did that day, I did not actually check to see how close he was to the Gents!’ Seeing this demonstration Peter was amazed by what the bottles could do and bought two at the show. These bottles would then be used on every journey since including trips to India, Myanmar, Thailand, Russia, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, South Africa and Jordan.
A Travel Health Guide designed to Protect you from Illness on your Holidays
Making sure you keep yourself healthy whilst travelling is something very important for your holidays. The last thing you want is for your holiday to be ruined by a nasty stomach bug or potentially something worse.
As a result, we at Water-to-Go have created this guide to help you stay healthy on your holidays. As a company we have worked within the travel sector for many years now, forming partnerships with travel clinics and companies such as Wild Frontiers and Explore. We’ve used this knowledge and produced this guide to give you an idea of what you need to be thinking about when planning your next trip.
Whilst we can’t tailor this guide to everyone’s specific holiday, these are some general thoughts for you to be aware of in relation to your travel health. For information about a specific country you will be travelling to, check out the Rough Guides website. They provide information for loads of specific countries and regions, such as their backpacker’s guide to India.
It’s important to be prepared medically for whichever country you are visiting, especially if you are travelling to countries like those within Africa where there is the risk of diseases such as Malaria.
The medication you’ll need will vary depending on the country you’re travelling to. Make sure to consult your GP or visit a travel health clinic to recommend the medicines/ vaccinations you will need for your travels. Their’s nothing worse than your experience being ruined because of an illness.
Filter Water Bottle
Water can be a common source of illness on holidays, especially if you are travelling to destinations such as India or parts of Africa where the water source may not be reliable. It’s therefore important to make sure you are able to get quick and easy access to clean safe drinking water.
The Water-to-Go filter bottle is the perfect tool for the job. The bottle’s unique filter is able to filter out over 99.9% of microbiological contaminants, meaning you can drink safely from and non-salt water source with confidence you won’t catch any illnesses.
In addition to this, one filter can replace up to 400 single-use plastic bottles. Therefore, you won’t have to contribute towards the world’s plastic pollution problem in the search for clean safe drinking water.
Think about your Travel Diet
Your food can carry similar illnesses as the water you drink. To avoid symptoms like diarrhoea, stomach pains, nausea and vomiting there are a few precautions you can take:
Tray and avoid fruit and veg that has been washed in local water.
Don’t buy unpasteurised dairy products.
Eat fruits such as Bananas and oranges which have thick peelable skins.
If you can, avoid Ice in your drinks.
Prepare your own meals where you can.
Obviously, this will primarily apply to those visiting hot countries where you’ll regularly be in the sun. It’s important to understand the strength of cream you will need and if you’re unsure, it’s better to go with a higher SPF to be safe.
There are numerous health benefits towards using sunscreen with the most obvious being you won’t be having to endure the pain of sunburn during your holiday. However, there are also long-term benefits such as reducing the chances of skin cancer, reduces premature skin ageing and preventing blotchy skin.
Carry a First-Aid kit with you
Some form of first aid kit is something that should be essential when you’re travelling, especially for those going on a more adventurous trip. This kit will help you to avoid a small injury, such as a cut or scrape, turning into anything worse that can have a bigger impact on your experience.
A great way to make the most of your first aid kit is to create your own personalised kit. By doing this you’ll be able to prepare for the specific health concerns that you’ll be facing on your trip. As well as including your own first-aid items, there are some essential items you should include. These essential items we recommend are plasters, antiseptic wipes/ cream, paracetamol, scissors and any prescription medicine you would normally take.
If you are unfortunate enough to encounter some form of illness or injury whilst on your travels you’ll want travel insurance. Dependent on the country you are visiting, it may not be worth relying on local medical care as some countries can be unreliable.
For this reason, it’s important to get yourself some travel insurance that covers your health. You should be able to find some pretty cheap and good value insurance deals online and will certainly be less expensive than if you were to receive medical attention without insurance. Just make sure to check your insurance covers everything you feel you’ll need on your trip.
Start adjusting your sleeping pattern by an hour or two (in the correct direction) before you travel.
Drink plenty of water whilst travelling.
Use an eye mask and earplugs to help get to sleep, so you can adjust your sleeping pattern.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol as much as possible while travelling.
Set an alarm to avoid oversleeping.
Spend time outside during the day if you can, sunlight will help your body clock adjust.
Avoiding Altitude Sickness
This is something that won’t affect everyone however, this is something that you will have to take into account for a large proportion of holidays, such as skiing holidays or visiting places such as Machu Picchu.
In terms of counteracting altitude sickness, there are a few techniques and medications you can use. Firstly, acetazolamide is designed to prevent and treat the symptoms of altitude sickness. You’ll also want to bring some paracetamol or something similar to prevent headaches, as well as anti-sickness medication like promethazine. It’s also important if you are experiencing altitude sickness, to stay where you are and not try to climb any higher as well as drinking plenty of water. For more information about medication consult your GP.
In April 2017, Olie Hunter Smart set off on a solo journey to walk the length of India to uncover untold stories of Independence and Partition that took place in 1947.He’s just returned to the UK and shares his story with us.You can read about the background to his journey here.
As I stared out of the aeroplane window on my way up to Ladakh, I thought I’d bitten off more than I could chew.Not only did the plains of India look hot, dry and particularly arid, but the Himalayas looked huge and the snowy conditions were not something I was experienced with.
However, I soon became distracted by the beauty of the mountain landscape; deep purple mountains capped in white snow; huge sunny skies and crisp fresh air; and the gentle sound of prayer wheels spinning as people went about their daily routines.It was magical.I was excited about the long journey that lay ahead.
After a few days of acclimatisation, I set off with a guide essential to navigating the mountain trails that would take us off the roads, following valleys and climbing high mountain passes that blocked the route south.We carried food with us so as not to be a burden on the remote communities we passed through, increasing my already heavy bag to around 28 kilos.Thankfully, the Water-to-Go bottles saved us valuable weight as we filled up from icy cold snow melt streams.It was so thirst quenching!
As we emerged from the mountain trails some 5 weeks later, I waved goodbye to the guide and set off for the dusty plains of northern India.Temperatures soared to a staggering 48 degrees so it was critical that I kept cool and remained hydrated.I discovered this area was heavily impacted by Partition that took place following Independence in 1947.Millions of people fled, escaping violence and persecution as Hindu ruled East Punjab and Muslim ruled West Punjab were divided.
Most nights I stayed with families which gave me the opportunity to hear elders recounting their experience of that traumatic period of history; I found myself wincing at their accounts of the brutality, the stories of families fleeing their homes never to return, or of fathers giving their children daggers to use on themselves to avoid being subjected to violence and abuse.I was very moved by their descriptions, something I had not anticipated hearing, but that was reality for them.
I followed the railway line south, it being more direct as well as keeping me off the roads and away from the dangerous traffic and pollution.I passed through Delhi and onto Rajasthan where I continued to hear similarly tragic stories about Partition, but on occasion was pleasantly surprised to come across a few positive stories from people who had been able to change their financial situation having set up successful businesses.Food flavours were now changing every 100 kilometres or so as the agriculture influenced the dishes I was eating.By now I’d been on the road for almost 4 months but I was loving rural India.
I’d been looking forward to the Salt March, the inspiration for my journey, since the start.Today the route has become somewhat a heritage route making it far easier to navigate, yet the difficulty came in each village when trying to find various plaques or statues commemorating Gandhi’s walk in 1930.Fortunately, the locals knew it well and took great pleasure in showing me around their community, regaling historical stories to boot.I reached Dandi where Gandhi broke the salt law, realising that I was now over half way through my journey.It was an emotional moment.
Back on the road I worked my way down to the busting city of Mumbai.India is well set up for constant refills of your own bottle in the hot climate, whether it be a hand pump or well in a village, a tap on a railway platform or from the increasing number of reverse osmosis stations set up in villages to provide clean water to the communities. My Water-to-Go bottle provided me with consistently good quality and safe water from whatever source I found.
By now I was beginning to get increasingly frustrated with life on the road – the hooting, incessant demands for selfies and that spicy food.Couldn’t I just have cereal for breakfast?!I’d been walking for 6 months, but it was only when I worked my way uphill to Pune that I realised I had spent the best part of three months in the flat plains of India.There had been no texture in the landscape, nothing on the horizon to aim for.I’d been missing the hills, so I made it my mission to find a place to camp next to a lake, and soon enough I found the perfect spot!
I continued south, meeting some freedom fighters that had fought alongside Mahatma Gandhi in the struggle for freedom, many of whom were over 90 years old.As I neared Mysore I was confident with my progress until one day someone asked me how I would avoid being attacked by a tiger.Tigers?!They’d not even crossed my mind this far south.I carried on, getting increasingly worried as I went, trying to figure out alternative routes.I spent half a day with all senses on edge as I walked steadily through a tiger reserve, completely petrified.
That night I resolved to find a driver who could shadow me for the next stretch of forest.The following morning, he arrived and I set off, safe in the knowledge that there was an extra pair of eyes on the lookout.Relief ran through my veins as I reached the end of the forest and the safety of a temple that night.
Kanyakumari was in my sights, but there was one final obstacle I had to overcome – Cyclone Ockhi with her devastating wind and rain.Having already walked through monsoon rains I was determined not to be put off by some adverse weather and ploughed on, reaching the very southern tip of India on 6th December.After seven and a half months on foot, I’d made it!What an incredible way to experience real India!
Olie is currently working on a documentary of his journey.
In 2017 Adventurer, Olie Hunter Smart is following in Gandhi’s footsteps, walking the length of India, (over 2,600 miles) to understand how the British and Indian relationship has evolved since Partition in 1947.
Olie tells us his reasons why he’s embarking on this adventure:
“India fascinates me; it’s vibrancy, history, diversity and a cultural heritage entwined with Britain for over 400 years. This year marks the 70th anniversary of their independence from Britain, so it’s important we celebrate this.” –
Olie’s journey will start in mid-April north of Leh near the Line of Control in Kashmir and Jammu. From there he will head south through the Himalayas following the Lamayuru – Darcha mountain trail to reach the road that will take him to New Delhi, Britain’s governing capital. From Delhi he will head west, walking through Jaipur, Udaipur to Ahmedabad, spiritual home of Mahatma Gandhi. He will follow Gandhi’s Salt March route to the coast, a route that kick-started India’s Independence movement, after which he will continue to Mumbai. After Mumbai he will head inland to Pune, a hill station that was used by the British and he will continue through the Western Ghats to Kanyakumari, the southern-most tip of this vast sub-continent.
Olie will be travelling through some of the most extreme conditions out there – high altitude, freezing cold temperatures followed by intense heat, extreme humidity and the monsoon.
“This journey will be physically and mentally incredibly tough. Thankfully, with Water-to-Go I’ll have access to clean drinking water wherever I go, meaning that’s one less thing I need to worry about when on the expedition.”
Along the route, Olie aims to speak to people and their families that experienced partition to really understand the impact gaining Independence had on the people and how that has influenced the culture of the nation as we know it today.
We are delighted to announce that Water-to-Go bottles are now available in India. The Indian website is set up and ready for orders. Please visit www.watertogo.in
One of the key issues facing India currently is the lack of safe drinking water, with a high burden of water-borne illnesses across all age groups through out the country.
Availability of quality drinking water is a major public health issue for India. Approximately 37.7 million Indians are affected by a water-borne illness each year, and sadly this includes 1.5 million children dying of diarrhoea alone in the nation. With 73 million working days lost annually as a result of water-borne illness, the overall economic burden has been estimated to be around $600 million a year. The true burden of water-borne related hospitalisations and fatalities is hard to estimate due to under-reporting.
The provision of clean drinking water has been given priority in the Constitution of India, with Article 47 conferring the duty of providing clean drinking water and improving public health standards to the State. Various plans have been implemented by the Government to increase access to clean drinking water, however lack of safe and clean drinking water continues to be a major health and economic problem.
With rapid growth in the population the average availability of water is decreasing and it is estimated that by 2020 India will become a water stressed nation. Groundwater is the major source of water in the country with 85% of the population dependent on it.
However, a recent assessment by WaterAid showed that an alarming 80% of India’s surface water is polluted:
“The report, based on latest data from the ministry of urban development (2013), census 2011 and Central Pollution Control Board, estimates that 75-80% of water pollution by volume is from domestic sewerage, while untreated sewerage flowing into water bodies including rivers have almost doubled in recent years. This in turn is leading to increasing burden of vector borne diseases, cholera, dysentery, jaundice and diarrhoea.” Source, The Times of India.
Water-to-Go filter bottles offer an effective, convenient and cost effective solution. Using three different technologies in the filter, Water-to-Go eliminates well in excess of 99.9% off all microbiological contaminants + more in water.
Water-to-Go filters have had extensive testing in Europe, US and India. They’ve been tested on a range of different contaminants including:
Metals & Chemicals
Chromium, Mercury, Nickel, Copper, Iron
Lead, Gold, Silver
Volatile Organic Compounds including Formaldehyde*
* In certain areas of the world natural Arsenic occurs, WtG filters cannot filter Arsenic to 99.9%.