Today's world is one where travel can be set up in a few minutes using online ticketing agencies. With a loaded credit or debit card and a dash of work, flights, hotels, and car rentals can be arranged for a trip to anywhere from the next major city in your state to the remotest corners of the world, and everywhere in between. One of the least predictable factors, however, is water quality at your destination – though you can arrange safer travel with water filters.
Even if you are traveling a short distance and staying in your own country, bringing a water filter is a prudent idea – in fact, just a little less important than bringing your identification papers and money. The human digestion is probably the species' weakest point, and combining this with the facts that drinking water is crucially necessary to staying alive and that this fluid easily carried microorganisms and contaminants, securing a supply of clean, potable water is urgent.
Local contamination is often well known to the inhabitants of an area, but is not advertised on billboards at every street corner. “Better safe than sorry” is a proverb that rings especially true with water filtration, considering how becoming violently ill away from home will ruin your trip and, in some remote locations, can even threaten your life if you become dehydrated in a place where medical help is not readily available.
Passive, gravity feed water filters are your best option for travel, especially to developing countries. Water pressure may be very low in some locations – for example, in Central Asian nations such as Kazakhstan, water often slows to a trickle for days on end as repairs are made to the city system.
Low water pressure is a strong sign that you should be filtering every drop of H2O before you set it to your lips, whether directly as drinking water or as part of your cooking efforts. If water pressure is low in the water supply system, this allows sewage, chemicals, and other contaminants to leak in through any compromised areas of piping. High water pressure tends to keep these contaminants out through “overpressure”, the same principle that is used, with air rather than water, to protect soldiers in modern armored fighting vehicles from chemical attacks.
Portable water filters and water filter straws are extremely useful while you are actually on the road and have not yet settled in at your destination. They are light, compact, and highly portable, and can be placed in carry-on luggage such as backpacks, purses, or light wheeled luggage. This means you can use them in airports during stopovers, at hotels when you stop somewhere overnight before flying on the next day, and so on.
The well-prepared traveler should have a portable filtration system for the journey itself and a passive gravity feed system such as a pitcher or canister gravity filter to use in their hotel room, apartment, or vacation bungalow when they reach the place they are going to be staying. If a long stay is planned, a spare filter cartridge is a wise addition to your filtration kit. Taking these simple but prudent steps is the best way to assure yourself of clean, fresh, safe drinking water on any journey away from home.