Pricey Water on Vacation? Tips for Saving Money on H2O

by  Darren Murph | Mar 18, 2013
Water bottles
Water bottles / Sasaton Krungsee/iStock

It wasn't until I vacationed in Fiji that I fully understood the monumental amount of hurt that an essential fluid can put on one's budget. In the United States, it's fairly easy to find bottled water at well under 50 cents for 20 ounces if you buy in bulk, and in most cases, you don't even have to – the water is safe to drink right out of the faucet. But many people take the ability to consume water from the tap for granted. In select nations that don't have good filtration systems, it can become exorbitantly expensive to buy bottled water.

In Fiji, drinking bottled water is a necessity. Of course, you've probably purchased (or at least seen) a square bottle of FIJI brand water retailing at around a dollar or two. Putting two and two together, I assumed that FIJI water would be exceptionally cheap in Fiji, but I couldn't have been more incorrect. A one liter bottle was nearly $4 (U.S.), and buying in bulk was hardly a savings. It certainly rubbed me the wrong way that citizens and tourists alike were being asked to pay such prices in a place where clean water is already at a premium, but it encouraged me to consider a few alternatives when traveling to nations where purified water purchases are a must.

SteriPEN: This $50 device is highly portable, and unlike powders and capsules, manages to kill the vast majority of viruses in water as soon as the beam is emitted. For avid travelers, I'd recommend carrying along a couple of extra batteries, and perhaps a second pen altogether in the event that it breaks.

MSR Sweetwater Purifier System: At $100, this is one of the more expensive solutions, rendering it most useful to those who frequently travel to nations with sub-par water filtration systems. Or, of course, for those who plan to spend most of their journey in the backcountry, where buying bottled water at any cost simply isn't in the cards.

Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets: For just $7, you can snag 50 of these tablets – enough to purify water for a full week if you ration correctly. The only downside is that you need to give your water a full 35 minutes before drinking, but if you're proactive, you could easily save hundreds on bottled water over the course of a trip.

Where have you paid the most for bottled water?

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