Unusual but essential travel accessories – air and water filter
If you’re fortunate to travel by land and air to many U.S. cities and foreign lands for business and personal reasons you may or may not be concerned about the air and water quality. If you’re traveling outside of the U.S. and especially in third world countries you’ll want to consider these basic necessities that we often take for granted while living and traveling in the U.S.
Here are a few unusual but essential travel accessories that you should always travel with, no matter what your location; mainly because our air and water quality has dwindled over the years, even in the U.S. there has been an increase in airborne pollutants.
Seychelle Portable Water Filter
Drinking water is one of the most expensive liquids around. You could purchase a gallon of water at most big box stores for roughly a dollar. However, most people purchase bottled water by the serving of 16 oz containers at the same price and often times more than the price of a gallon. This means that you could be spending at least $8.00 a gallon for water, which you could get out of the tap.
If you’re outside of the U.S. you may hear people tell you to never trust street food and don’t drink the water, unless you boil it or filter it yourself. This proved to be true as on many of the trips I have gone on oversees, I have always brought my Seychelle water filter and never gotten stomach illnesses – even though we all ate and drank the same foods.
Seychelle’s filtration bottles are portable, affordable and easy to carry around as any water bottle you would normally carry while traveling. I love that I can fill it up at any water fountain, and if I need to, I can use water from a stream or any source – as they guarantee that the filter will purify 99.99% of contaminants. When I first researched the product I found that the International Red Cross and the U.S. Military used the same water filter, especially useful when water sources are in question or if you just want to drink the fountain water and would like the extra protection of knowing the quality of your water is better than bottled water.
You can purchase the water filter bottles on their website or search on eBay. One bottom’s up water filter will last you for several hundreds of gallons.
The I Can Breathe! Carbon Filter Face Mask:
Some countries like Beijing, China and Delhi or Kolkata, India have the worse air pollution in the world. There are days when you can’t see the fence in front of the hotel or if you ride the bus through the city you’re lucky if you can see half way up the tall buildings.
Many tourists who travel to Beijing experience what some call the Beijing Cough. The allergy-like symptoms of the pollution make it difficult to breathe even while inside air conditioned buildings. Some people wore white face masks in Japan but hardly anyone wears a mask in Beijing unless air borne illnesses like SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) or other outbreaks are out of control in the city. Some travelers return from Beijing with upper respiratory infections that last three months or longer.
Wearing a carbon filter mask is much more effective than a simple white mask and is much more comfortable and form fitting than a painters mask. Cities like Delhi, Kolkata and Beijing are highly populated and have little if any control over air quality from factories and motorized vehicles. These cities are well known as some of the most polluted cities in the world.
A cheaper face mask is the basic painter’s mask, followed by a painter’s mask with a filter and then the carbon filter mask. I found that the carbon filter worked the best for me as the painter’s mask didn’t filter enough of the pollutants and it had a chemical smell that made things worse. I was able to use the I Can Breathe carbon filter mask for two weeks, on a daily basis, sometimes 12-18 hours outdoors and went through two masks. I will usually use the mask until I smell an odor on the mask; that usually means the carbon has absorbed the pollutants and needs a change.
The I Can Breathe carbon filter mask has even been used by Olympic athletes in 2008.These masks can also work great for those with allergies and asthma that can be exacerbated by air pollutants. The I Can Breathe carbon filter masks can be purchased online at their website or through travel stores or travel catalogs. There are several colors to choose from: beige, dark brown, silver, dark blue, blue, gray brown, dark hunter, ivory lace over beige, white and tan along with replacement filters that can be purchased for an additional fee. The mask folds flat and fits nicely in my handbag or backpack, along with extra filters. You may be able to find them in travel stores but it’s easiest to purchase online.
Other items that are great travel accessories to take with you are:
Hot water pot, clothes line with clips, pocket knife (check on luggage only), plastic utensils, pocket poncho for rain, zip lock bags, trash bags for dirty clothes or to carry laundry, international electrical plugs if needed, auto converter for power if on a road trip, portable air cleaner for your hotel room if you’re picky about air quality.