Eco-conscious honeymoon ideas: Steripen

I spent most of September in Laos, revisiting the country on another research trip – this time for the new edition of The Rough Guide to Southeast Asia on a Budget. Last time I was in Laos I was really conscious of how much bottled water I was getting through, and I knew that my trip this year, falling as it did during the monsoon and some incredibly hot weather, I’d be getting through at least 2 litres of water every day – in a three week trip, that’s at least 42 plastic bottles, a number which, if you’ll excuse the pun, I found rather hard to swallow. But then I remembered that one of my good friend’s had gone off travelling last year with a nifty sounding gadget called a Steripen, which uses UV light to sterilse tap water and make it safe for drinking. Though they’re a bit pricey, I thought it was money well worth spending, especially as it’s something that the two of us will be able to use on countless other trips.

Despite all my big ideas about using it the whole time I was in Laos, I found that once I was in the country I was suddenly very nervous about using it in order to drink the tap water. How could this relatively small gadget get rid of all those nasty bugs (even local people don’t drink the water in Laos) and keep me safe? It seemed hard to believe that this strip of UV light could really be so powerful, and much more likely that I would spend my long bus journeys clutching my stomach and regretting my decision.

But, it turns out, my worries were entirely unfounded – I had absolutely no trouble with drinking the sterilised water, and was pleasantly surprised by how the water tasted. I had also bought a new, stainless steel (and rather pretty) water bottle to use with the Steripen, which helped keep the water a lot cooler than if I had just had plastic bottles – a blessing in the hot weather.

So how does this link to honeymoons? Well, if you’re travelling to a less developed country then chances are you too will be relying on bottled water, and so if you’re looking at ways to limit your footprint when you’re travelling and for being a bit more eco-conscious (not least because developing countries often have various other issues with rubbish and litter), then this is a really great option. There’s a number of different Steripens available – I opted for the Steipen Traveler Mini as I thought it sounded like the easiest and lightest option, especially as I was having to hulk my bag around so much, though I was surprised that it was as big as it was – about the length of my hand – albeit very light. At £39.71 (plus batteries) it does seem quite expensive, but if you think about how much constantly buying bottled water could cost you, it really works out well.

So how do you use it? It’s really very simple. You fill your water bottle up, remove the lid and press the button on the side of the Steripen (once for a litre of water, twice for half a litre), and then submerge the UV lamp in the water – when the water covers the water sensor, the UV light will switch on. You then agitate the water by stirring it with the Steripen, and once the water has been sterilised (after about ninety seconds for a litre), the UV light cuts out and a little green light comes on on the main body of the pen. Pretty easy, eh?

I should point out, seeing as I’m waxing lyrical about this, that this isn’t a sponsored post – I was just really impressed by this little gadget, and wanted to spread the word about it, because it’s a great option if you’re looking for ways to be more eco-conscious on your honeymoon – or other travels.

Images courtesy of Amazon.

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