The Afar Guide to
Water Adventures

With so much of our blue planet covered in water, it's bound to make for some epic vacations. Whether you take the plunge or just enjoy the view, Mother Nature offers wondrous diversions for all travelers that are drawn to the wet stuff—from the magnificent waterfalls in Guyana and Zimbabwe to the beautiful lagoon in Bora Bora, and from ice-cold Norwegian fjords to soul-soothing beaches and island getaways. Here are our favorite ways to experience Earth's aquatic splendors. Head out in a boat, dive in with an oxygen tank, and know that you’ll return home rejuvenated, restored—and ready to plan your next water adventure.

Freshwater Wonders
The world is full of freshwater wonders, many of which remain relatively unknown and can still be explored in peace and quiet. Whether you're counting nature’s most impressive waterfalls, cruising along the river, or seeking a soak in a hot spring, here are our top freshwater finds.
Escape to Paradise
Overwater bungalows in the South Pacific. Family-friendly resorts on picture-perfect Caribbean beaches. Hideaway coves for bookworms. Here are our picks for the best places to relax and escape the digital mayhem of daily life, where the sound of lapping water bookends each day in paradise.
Water Sports
Whether you're diving at Australia's Great Barrier Reef, bonefishing off Turks and Caicos, or surfing in Tahiti, water sports are the most, shall we say, immersive way to experience the wonderful world of water.
How to Conserve Water While Traveling
Regardless of how plentiful it may seem on our blue planet, water is still a precious resource. Minimize your impact on Earth's water supply by following these simple tips.
1
Ditch the plastic bottle and use a water filtration device 
If you're traveling to a region where the quality of the drinking water isn’t reliable, instead of using dozens of plastic bottles, bring your own wide-lipped water bottle and a water filtration device like the SteriPen Adventurer. It’s lightweight and uses UV light to purify a liter of water in about a minute, which you do simply by stirring the device inside the filled bottle.
2
Take shorter showers
An average shower can use some five gallons of water per minute! So when on the road, try to keep it as short as possible. If you're using a shower with a single-knob tub faucet, push the knob in until the water comes out in a less forceful manner when doing everything except rinsing hair. This will greatly reduce the amount of water down the drain.
3
Don't change sheets daily
If you're staying at a hotel for more than one night, tell the staff they don't need to change your sheets. Many hotels actually won’t unless specifically asked (they'll leave a card outlining what to do in either case), and by not washing your bedding every single night you will help conserve water. This is also true for bath towels. Note that just because the sheets aren't changed doesn't mean the hotel staff won't tidy up the room and make the bed. You wouldn't change your sheets daily at home, so why do it on the road?
4
Choose your travel wardrobe carefully
If you're traveling for a good amount of time, especially to an adventure destination that doesn't require hard-to-wash outfits, then pack light, fast-drying clothes and underwear that can be washed by hand in a sink. This avoids using extra water in a hotel's machine laundry service. And wear your clothes until they’re dirty or smelly, rather than pitching them into the laundry bag after a single use.
5
Pack eco-friendly soaps
Bring low-impact soap and laundry detergent. If camping or staying in hostels where you'll be doing your own dishes, bring eco-friendly dish soap. This ensures you don't pollute the water with nonbiodegradable washing products.
6
Turn off the tap while brushing 
Shut off the water when brushing your teeth. It's a good habit for traveling and also at home.
7
Reuse cooking water
When you’re cooking in a hostel or camping outdoors, there’s no reason you need a pot of water for your pasta and another one for your vegetables. Instead, cook the vegetables first and reuse the water for the pasta. It will give the pasta a great flavor, too!
8
Keep an eye out for leaky faucets
If your home faucet were leaking, you'd fix it, right? In hotels, let management know, as sometimes a leak won't be noticed by housekeeping but can cause huge water waste. The same goes for running toilets.
9
Eat local
By eating food that is locally grown and harvested, you'll lessen the water (and fuel) required for transporting the food to your destination in the first place. This is especially true in remote areas.
10
Keep electricity use minimal
When you leave your room, shut off the air-conditioning and lights. Keep in mind that for every gallon of water used in an average accommodation, five times more is used to provide that place with electricity!
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Becca Blond, Water Adventures Curator

Becca Blond is an award winning freelance travel writer based in Denver, Colorado. She is the author of more than 30 Lonely Planet guides across five continents and contributes content to publications like USA Today, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, AFKTravel, Cadillac Magazine and Jetsetter. She is also a Personal Travel Planner for Jetsetter. When not on the road she lives with her three dogs, Duke, Bobbi and Poppy, who assist with pet friendly hotel reviews. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @PlanetBlond or check out her blog at Totally True Adventures in Travel Writing.