May 26, 2018

8 Thrifty Tap Water Tips for the Road

When you’re trying to pack light and keep things simple for family road trips, remember that access to cold tap water is free in many circumstances. It allows you to mix up a number of beverages, swallow an aspirin to help you over that airport delay headache and generally keeps you hydrated for the long haul. Here are some of my favorite tap water tips for road warriors.

Breakfast Cocktails

Tap water and grapefruit juice concentrate pair nicely with your vodka of choice when you’re craving morning cocktails by the pool. You can also use the juice as an alcohol-free addition to the family breakfast menu at your vacation cottage by the beach.


Bulgur can easily be cold soaked for the day in a serving dish on the counter. Season with lemon juice, herbs and your spices of choice before slapping some kabobs on the grill when you return, and dinner will be a snap. (Hint: This tip can also be used when preparing for hurricanes.)

Baby Beverages

This one comes from veteran business traveler Linsey Knerl, and is one she uses frequently when traveling with her infant son. As the mother of five, Knerl often has to travel with children and handles thirst issues for her baby by bringing along powdered drink mixes suitable for the very young. After passing through security, she combines the mixture with fountain water into a baby bottle and shakes until ready. This not only saves security stress, but is also lighter to lug than several full bottles.

Make it Stylish

If plain tap water just feels tired, consider making your own flavored water on the road by adding bits of lemon, wine and other simple flavorings. You’ll feel less deprived and remain on budget at the same time.

Powdered Sports Drinks

This one comes from Frugal Upstate’s Jenn Fowler, who uses tubes of powdered sports drinks from the dollar store when traveling for teen sporting events. The individual tubes of beverage mix tuck easily into her pocketbook or the kids’ duffels, and can be mixed with fountain water in the water bottles the kiddos always carry with them anyway.

Sun Tea

When packing healthy road trip snacks, many people forget to plan alternative beverages. Using tap water from the rest area and some tea packets, you can easily brew sun tea in the back of your hatchback by bringing along a large canning jar to pack carefully in your treat tote.

Protein Powder

Powdered Protein drinks are a fave of Lisa Maxbauer with First for Women magazine. She carries the protein drink mixes and uses them in a way that’s quite similar to the Fowler and Knerl strategies. According to Maxbauer, the protein drinks keep her full and satisfied during business travel delays and eliminate airport security woes.

BYO Bottle

Water bottle, that is. Not only can you avoid airport security stress like the women above, but you can easily hydrate at any public water source during road trips, business meetings or while waiting for the next train or bus on an inter-state or international trip. It’s also perfect for avoiding bottled water prices when you’re stranded due to a flight delay.

Not every travel supply has to cost big bucks. Tap water is free, and helps solve a number of vacation stresses for a song.

Photo Credit: Dbgg1979