WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO PURIFY SUSPECT WATER?
For clear water, be it from a tap, river, or lake, you can't beat the convenience of the SteriPen Adventurer ($100; steripen.com). Ninety seconds of swishing this UV-light wand around in your bottle zaps everything from protozoa to viruses like hepatitis, which tend to slip right through backpacking water filters. But these devices can also crap out on you unexpectedly, so bring extra batteries and, just in case, iodine-based tablets or drops ($18; potableaqua.com). Plus SteriPens don't work in anything cloudier than weak lemonade. For murky water, filter first with a bandanna, then boil or treat with iodine tablets. (More at cdc.gov/travel/content/water-treatment.)
HOW DO I FIND A GOOD DOCTOR ON THE ROAD?
First, sign up with IAMATthe International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers. They keep a free list of English-speaking docs who've met the group's quality standards in the area you're visiting (iamat.org). On a major expedition, consider hiring a group like Remote Medical, which provides custom med kits and is on call 24/7 for medical advice or evacuation help (remotemedical.com). And since some medical insurance plans won't cover you abroad, for a couple of bucks a day, travel coverage with Travel Guard (travelguard.com) is a no-brainer. Prone to disaster? A full-on rescue from a remote area could cost tens of thousands of dollars; for a $329 annual membership, Global Rescue will coordinate it for you and cover the costs (globalrescue.com).