I’m picky about the water that I drink, and I’m also at least a little sensitive to the waste of resources involved with the bottled water industry. I don’t trust tap water, and I don’t care whether it comes from Flint or Seattle. I hate the taste of chlorine, and I despise hard water, and water with lots of dissolved minerals.
If you’re thinking that I’m a prima donna when it comes to drinking water, I won’t argue. But I know that I’m not alone.
I travel in Europe as often as I can. When I’m there, my water preferences go from quirky to being an outright handicap.
Finding a bottle of relatively pure water with low mineral content on the continent is darn near impossible. On my last couple of visits to France, I did manage to fine ONE brand of bottled water that was at least tolerable, but many stores didn’t carry it, and recycling the bottles was a pain. If you’re interested, it’s Mount Roucous. You can find it in most hypermarche’s.
There is another solution, though. It’s less than ideal in that it takes up more room in my luggage than I’d prefer, but it’s better than the alternatives. It’s the Zero Water ZP-006 water filter pitcher. This is NOT to be confused with the Brita or Pur water filter pitchers. There is no other filter pitcher on the market that performs as well as zero water.
Brita and other filter pitchers are very good are removing chlorine, and a few dissolved things. Zero Water pitchers use a proprietary filtration compound that relies on ion exchange to remove not only chlorine but also over 99% of most dissolved solids including metals, organic chemicals if they’re present, and just about anything else that isn’t water.
The downside is that it’s 10×4.8×9.6 inches and weighs 2 pounds. That’s without a spare filter, which you won’t be able to buy in Europe. Is it worth it? You decide, but remember that drinking crappy water will probably lead to dehydration, which will slow your cognitive function, impair your digesting, and deflate your mood.
At less than $25, you should have one to keep at home in any case. It will save you some money on bottled water, if you buy it, and reduce your carbon footprint.
There is another option, although I hesitate to bring it up because it’s larger and heavier than the pitcher. It’s a portable reverse osmosis unit.
Portable is relative in this case. Weighing in at just over 3 pounds, nearly 14 inches long, 8 inches wide, and 4 inches deep, the RO Buddy produces great tasting water but it does it slowly (about 3 gallons per hour). It comes with a “universal” adapter that lets you connect it to a sink in your hotel or Airbnb rental, but only if the sink has a “universal” faucet. Speaking from experience, “universal” is a relative term.
I’ve travelled across Europe with one of these, and I found it indispensable. The water quality is great, and it’s reasonably convenient. It’s not for everyone, though. Since it costs less than $60, it’s worth a try if you usually have extra room in your luggage.