On Tour Drinking Water Policy Q&A

Responsible Travel

What is Wild Frontiers’ on-tour drinking water policy?

In an effort to help reduce single-use plastic bottle waste while travelling, we took the decision at the start of 2019 not to include bottled water as standard on our group tours. Bottled water will still be available on tours, however it will be an additional cost. Rather like charging for plastic bags at the supermarket, we hope this new policy will help encourage more travellers to consider alternative waste saving options such as filtered water bottles while travelling.

Why has Wild Frontiers changed its water policy on group tours?

Along with overwhelming concern from our clients, we recognised that by providing unlimited bottled water on tour, we were contributing to the world’s single-use plastic crisis in the destinations we visit.

When you do the sums it is a grim picture: 1 tour, 12 clients, 14 days, 4 bottles of water each a day = 672 single-use plastic bottles. Now, like many, we believe if we take small steps to reduce single-use plastic waste, even one bottle at a time, we can help curb this environmental disaster. At present we are focusing on our group tours but in time we will look to improve practices for tailor-made clients also.

What is Wild Frontiers’ filtered water bottle campaign all about?

Our campaign to encourage clients to purchase and use filtered water bottles is all about raising awareness and doing what we can to help with the world’s single-use plastic crisis. However, we are realistic and as such we anticipate that for a while to come at least this is likely to be an exercise in on-tour plastic reduction rather than complete plastic elimination. Even if you eliminate just half the single-use water bottles that you would have otherwise used on tour, you are making a worthwhile contribution.

It is a non-profit campaign. We are using the money we would have spent on single-use bottle water to subsidise the purchase price of Water-to-Go water-filtration bottles (see below), because we want to encourage others to join the campaign at minimal cost.

Will bottled water still be easily available on tours if I prefer?

Keeping well-hydrated is an essential part of staying healthy on tour and we will always ensure that there is regular access to drinking water. You will be able to purchase bottled water in local shops or from your tour leader when needed.

Do I need to purchase a filtered water bottle from Wild Frontiers?

No, it is not compulsory that you purchase a Wild Frontiers Water-to-Go filtered water bottle. Our filtered water bottle campaign is all about raising awareness and asking people to think about alternative options to single-use plastic water bottles while on tour. We road-tested a number of different brands of filtered water bottles; all were reasonably user-friendly, however we felt the Water-to-Go bottles came out on top as the best entry level product currently on the market. The decision to use a filtered water bottle is up to each individual.

Are there other filtered water bottles on the market?

Yes. The filtered water bottle market is evolving. The Water-to-Go bottles are a good affordable entry-level option, however there are a number of brands now on the market across a range of prices. We have had good reports recently about the Grayl Geopress, a top of the range bottle that retails for around £80/$100. There is also the Lifestraw system, which is a mid-range option. Clients are encouraged to do a little research and to choose what’s right for them.

Where do I refill my filtered water bottle?

Fill up your filtered water bottle from your hotel room tap before venturing out for the day. While out and about during the day ask to fill up from taps in cafes or restaurants. More and more hotels, restaurants and tourist sites, particularly in South East Asia, are providing re-fill stations. You can even fill up from natural fresh water sources with the confidence of knowing you have a supply of clean drinking water.

Will I need additional water?

There may be occasions when you want to purchase additional water if using your filtered water bottle isn’t practical. For example, when access to water sources to refill is limited; when you feel you want a good ‘glug’ of water rather than sipping from the filtered bottles; or you may want an additional bottle to use to brush your teeth.

What if I am nervous about using a filtered water bottle?

We understand that using filtered water bottles while travelling in developing countries can be nerve-wracking, but we have road tested our Water-to-Go bottles in different environments from India to Madagascar with great success.

‘I am proud to say that I rose to the challenge and did not use a single plastic bottle during my whole trip to Pakistan – relying only on filling my Water-to-Go filter bottle with whatever water was available. I am a complete convert and will be using my Water-to-Go bottle for all future trips. The water didn’t taste funny, which was one of my main concerns! I didn't feel unwell at any stage and the bottle was the perfect size to carry around in my daypack, refilling along the way whenever necessary,’ – Travel Consultant, Clem

What if I feel unwell while on tour?

While we have had only the odd one or two people say they thought they felt ill due to using a filtered water bottle, staying well and hydrated is always priority and common sense must prevail. If you think you are feeling unwell due to the filtered water, stop using it and purchase bottled water.

What if I don’t have a filtered water bottle on tour?

You can purchase bottled water from shops or from your tour leader. We would recommend that you purchase larger bottles and decant into a smaller bottle if practical to help minimise plastic waste.

What access will I have to water in remote areas, like the desert?

There are some remote areas (such as wild camping in the desert) where access to bottled water or places to re-fill your filtered water bottle will be non-existent. On these occasions Wild Frontiers will provide water for the group. Our in country partners and tour leaders will do their best to provide water in larger containers, rather than small individual plastic bottles.

Will water be available at mealtimes?

Yes. When eating in restaurants water will be available as a part of your meal. Our tour leaders will work with restaurants to provide either filtered water or decant from large bottle, rather than supply individual bottles.

Could I take my regular water bottle?

Yes why not. If you are unsure about using a filtered water bottle, you can purchase larger bottles of water and decant into your regular water bottle.Alternatively, you can fill up your regular bottle from your hotel room tap in the morning to decant into your filtered water bottle when needed.

How do I purchase a Wild Frontiers Water-to-Go filtered water bottle?

Learn more about the Water-to-Go filtered technology and purchase your own Wild Frontiers Water-to-Go bottle here.