Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Now that's a water fountain!

One of the keys to comfortable travel is to stay well hydrated. Most savvy travelers know this and drink plenty of water while on the road and inflight.

Since increased security measures have been put into place at most major airports around the world forbidding the transportation of outside liquids in aircraft cabins, most people have turned to bottled water, which they are forced to purchase after passing through airport security.

However, as I'm sure you're aware, anything purchased in the "sterile" (i.e., "secure") area of the airport is significantly more expensive than its pre-screened counterparts. A simple solution is to bring an empty reusable water bottle or reusable mug through security and then fill it on the other side. Sometimes, however, water fountains produce a only a mere trickle, and even when they're working at full pressure, the bottle must usually be held at a sub-optimal angle and can only be filled partially.

I've sometimes resorted to bringing my water bottle to the restroom to fill it in the sink. Ahhh... automatic faucets. One problem with automatic faucets, such as those commonly found in airport restrooms, is that they only produce one temperature of water. It's nice to have warm water to wash one's hands, but the idea of filling my bottle or mug with tepid water just doesn't appeal.

Global Tap fountain at SFO
Photo ©2011 Christopher Chin
If only there was a faucet-like fountain from which I could fill my water bottle or beverage container. . . .

Much to my surprise and excitement, I've found just the thing! Just the other day, as I was returning from the Dive and Travel Expo in Tacoma, I found a new Global Tap fountain in the International Terminal of San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Traveler refilling a plastic water bottle
Photo ©2011 Christopher Chin
What I especially like about this is that it promotes re-use. Even if you don't have an aluminum bottle or reusable mug, you can reuse almost any other container. Juice bottles, soft drinks, and even single-use water bottles can all be RE-used. Almost any container can be used to hold water.

In the few short minutes that I spent admiring the Global Tap fountain, three people made use of it, including one who refilled her Costco brand plastic water bottle.

Lindsay McMahon refilling her Sigg bottle
Photo ©2011 Christopher Chin

Yet another of those three, Lindsay McMahon, stopped to chat with me. She is a frequent traveler, and is proud that her Sigg bottle has been all around the world. She raised an interesting point during our conversation, and estimates that over the years she has saved thousands of dollars by reusing her water bottle instead of purchasing bottled water.

It's always nice when doing the right thing is easy on the wallet as well as the planet. So, save yourself a few dollars, save yourself some time, and forgo the single-use bottle.


  1. Thanks for the article. The airline attendants are usually happy to fill up my bottle (and my friend's) on the plane also.

  2. Well that's not a very useful water fountain if you don't have a water bottle, now is it! Haha. Although it's still better than some of the things I saw when I went to shop outdoor water features at my local gardening store!