Learn some new vocabulary. In Germany and the UK, you can ask for “still water.” Although when in the Vaterland, you should probably pronounce it just a little different: “stilles Wasser,” or “schtill-ess vah-sir,” “sir” as in “Sir Paul McCartney.” At the supermarket in Germany, avoid bottled water with “Sprudel” or “Kohlensäure.”
Bring a water bottle with you. Yes, I know the airlines limit the amount of liquids that you can bring on a plane, but there is no law against an empty bottle. On our recent trip to England, I brought my 500 mL water bottle on the plane. Filled it up from the tap when we left the hotel in the morning, topped it off throughout the day, then made sure to empty it before we boarded the plane again. This not only saves money by avoiding paying out the watootsie for bottled water in a touristy destination, plus it reduces your carbon imprint (I know, I know, I’m not a crazy Green—I promise—but every little bit helps, and those six-pack water bottles are the worst!).
Order something new. “When in Rome…” That’s what Rob would say before digging in to yet another plate of fish and chips. And the same goes with regional beverages. We live in Bierland: Before you come visit us *cough, cough*, read up on some beers you’d like to try along with the other research you’re doing about your destination. They cost about the same as still water in a restaurant (crazy, I know). Not a drinker? Try a new juice–I guarantee that you will encounter a juice you’ve never heard of or that you are not accustomed to drinking. And if all else fails—or if you are just curious—try the juice and the sparkling water. You might be refreshingly surprised.
Oh yeah. Don’t ask for ice here.