If you subscribe to my daily travel tip newsletter (it’s free!), then you know that one of my tips is to always carry an empty, reusable travel water bottle that’s compact, durable, eco-friendly and lightweight. RELATED: Why You Shouldn’t Drink Coffee, Tea or Tap Water on a Plane
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Disclosure, visit this page.
The reason I’ve been advising this, besides it being a more earth-friendly option, is to save money and time. Everyone knows that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confiscates bottles of water due to the 3-1-1 rule. Next time you pass through, just take a look in the garbage or recycle bin next to the checkpoint to see all the discarded bottles.
Instead of spending around $5 for a small bottle of water at the airport, I bring my own and refill it post-security. There’s usually a water fountain or a hydration station near the entrance to the bathrooms.
As of yesterday (July 1), there’s another reason to bring your own bottle. That’s because Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) just banned single-use plastic water bottles. The airport tweeted: “Effective today, LAX will ban the sale of single-use plastic water bottles. We encourage guests to bring reusable water bottles that can be filled at various water stations throughout our terminals. Thank you for helping us reduce plastic waste as we move towards zero waste.”
Effective today, LAX will ban the sale of single-use plastic water bottles. We encourage guests to bring reusable water bottles that can be filled at various water stations throughout our terminals. Thank you for helping us reduce plastic waste as we move towards zero waste. pic.twitter.com/gMtYbWh1gc
— LAX Airport (@flyLAXairport) June 30, 2023
Obviously not everyone is going to be happy about this and I don’t blame them. My biggest problem with this rule is that it doesn’t apply to soda bottles and those of other sugary drinks, which makes no sense. If you’re going to implement a ban of single-use plastic water bottles, then the rule should apply to all drinks. This will just lead to more people making unhealthy choices.
My other problem is that LAX and many other airports (I’m looking at you DFW and MIA) usually have really nasty tasting water. Especially if it’s from a water fountain. That’s one reason I pack those little packets of Emergen-C and LiquidIV so I can not only fend off dehydration but I can at least drink the water without making a face.
Some online commenters agree; they had this to say:
@AConcernedPare2: I guess I’m drinking soda if I’m ever unlucky enough to end up at LAX. Who would trust the water from a fountain at LAX? Gross.
@oldhollywoodbriar4554: “They banned platic bags at grocery stores too, now they made the plastic 20 times thicker and just charge the customer. Zero reduction in plastic bag use, massive increase in plastic waste to the landfill. These policies are so dumb they defy belief.”
@scottw550: “I drank the water at the Rio Airport fountain and was sick for 2 weeks.”
In response to Scottw550: My friends and colleagues Mike and Anne have been traveling the world nonstop for over a decade and have not drank bottled water since 2012; they are living proof it can be done. They don’t just travel to first world countries, either.
However, in some of the places they visit, I wouldn’t even think about drinking tap water but they’ve been promoting the importance of reducing single-use plastics and the need for reusable water bottles. They partnered with a company called Nalgene that sells bottles made from Tritan Renew, 50% certified recycled content further offsetting the use of fossil fuels and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
They also use a Steripen, which destroys over 99.9% of harmful bacteria, viruses and protozoa, like Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Its compact handheld ultraviolet light (UV) water purifier is designed specifically for outdoor/expedition use. It’s reusable for up to 8,000 liters.
I like to travel with a collapsible water bottle like this one because it folds down so small and compact. You can check out other collapsible water bottle styles here.
In 2019, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) became the first airport to implement this ban but they took it a step further as it applies not just to water. According to their website: “In August 2019, SFO became the first airport in the world to prohibit the provision or sale of single-use water bottles in plastic or aseptic paper packaging. This policy has now been expanded to prohibit the sale of any beverages, including sodas, teas, and juices in plastic or aseptic paper packaging.”
So what do you think of LAX banning single-use plastics? I’m for it as long as it’s across the board and they provide way more refilling stations than they already have. And of course, they need to make sure they have strong filters in place to make sure the water is safe and tastes good.
• How to Save Money With a Secret Third Carry-On
• How to Use Your Wireless Headphones to Watch In-Flight Movies
• 10 Airport Security Hacks Every Traveler Should Know
• How to Get the Best Coach Seat on the Plane
• The Sleep Hack Every Traveler Needs to Know
• Never Get Your Valuables Stolen on the Beach