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One major pain point when I travel is toilets. As a woman, it’s just not as easy to use any old toilet, or deal with when there isn’t one at all.
The struggle is real.
If you’re about to head off on an adventure, keeping these top toilet tips for female travelers in mind can help alleviate stress when you definitely don’t need it!
1. Pocket tissues.
Get in the habit of pocketing tissues and napkins at every opportunity (in cafes, restaurants, and other bathrooms).
To be caught out without extra “toilet paper” is never fun, so making it a point of always having a backup is key to avoiding this drama.
Depending on where you travel, it might be best to pack a normal roll of TP. You can add a mini roll of toilet paper to your packing list and keep that in your daypack. Or, pack an entire roll and always restock your daily supply in your purse or daypack.
To make packing easier: Simply take the cardboard from the middle of a regular roll and squish flat to save space. It’s helpful to keep your stash in a plastic bag or a Ziploc bag to avoid it getting torn to shreds or wet.
2. Download toilet finding apps.
Yep, they exist!
Don’t you just hate it when you’re exploring a new city and when nature calls you have no idea of where to head?
Apps like Toilet Finder can help guide the way! This crowdsourced toilet map gives you access to over 70,000 toilets, and it will even tell you how far it is to the nearest one.
If you’re traveling across Australia, The National Public Toilet Map website provides guidance to 16,000 public toilets across the country, so bookmark that one on your mobile.
Other apps to check out:
*Please let us know if you use these apps and how useful they are in various destinations.
3. Build up those leg muscles.
Before you even set off on your travels, building up leg muscles can help you deal with the dreaded squat toilet. I find it especially helpful for hovering over normal toilets of questionable nature.
You can also check out this blog post with detailed descriptions and tips on how to go to the toilet outdoors.
Alternatively, you can do the following…
4. Invest in a Shewee.
A Shewee is a reusable urine funnel that makes it so you can actually pee standing up! Hallelujah!
Theresa even packed one of these in her precious purse space (as discussed in The HPL Podcast, Episode 1) because they make her travels more enjoyable.
Female Urine Funnels: P-Mates Help You Pee Standing Up
P-Mates are a form of disposable female urination device. These unfold into a funnel form that can then be used to capture and funnel your urine away from the body while in a standing position. The benefits include the following:
- You don’t have to hover over nasty toilet seats.
- You don’t have to squat in bushes, which can lead to many messy mishaps.
- You don’t have to remove too much clothing to use it.
- You can make the most of otherwise stressful conditions like waiting in line when your bladder is about to burst.
- P-Mates are disposable, so you don’t have to worry about storage and cleaning after use.
- They’re small, so you can actually fold them down and fit into your pocket. Little space in your backpack is needed for storage.
- They’re cheap. You won’t have to spend a lot of money to have the benefits of P-Mates on your travels.
- Check out P-Mates on Amazon.
5. Hoard spare change.
Even though it’s always tempting to rid yourself of spare change by buying a snack or a pack of gum, stop. Keep that change!
Especially in Europe and Southeast Asia, many public toilets require payment to enter. And if they aren’t automated, there might be a toilet minder person that you need to tip (or pay to get toilet paper).
6. Pack a scarf.
Sometimes you will encounter toilet situations where there is no toilet at all, and in cases like this, a scarf or a sarong can be used as a privacy shield. You can also substitute a Turkish towel for this purpose.
Tie it off on some bushes for extra coverage, make-shift a door in places where doors in bathrooms are optional, or have your wonderful boyfriend hold it up behind you so your entire bum isn’t showing to your tour group sitting in the bus.
When you’re traveling in Mongolia and the only toilet looks like this…
It’s a very handy tip indeed.
7. Carry sanitizer or wet wipes.
Because when there are no toilets, or when toilets aren’t well-kept, there often isn’t a sink or soap for miles around.
Besides your hands, you can also use sanitizer or wet wipes to wipe down a questionable toilet seat before using.
8. Don’t look a gift toilet in the mouth.
Take a bathroom break when a toilet shows itself… because you don’t know when you’ll get to one next.
9. Secure belongings before using a squatty potty.
All loose items should be removed or secured before getting near one, especially phones, money, and sunglasses.
We had a friend whose sunglasses dropped to the bottom of a 6-foot pit-style squat toilet in Mongolia to be lost forever. Luckily it wasn’t his phone!
10. Learn to ask for a toilet.
As the title of this post suggests, learn the phrase for “Where is the toilet?” in that country’s language.
If you can’t speak it well, save a photo on your phone or have a flashcard that you can show people.
It will save you from awkward sign language in a time of urgency.
And one last bonus tip: Mentally prepare.
I really appreciate my privacy when it comes to using a toilet, but the fact is, other cultures just don’t see it the same. When you travel, you may encounter awkward toilet situations, so my best tip is to mentally prepare for the experience.
From communal trough toilets, to squat toilets, to dealing with toilets that are less than cared for, it can be a rough road for the ladies.
Hopefully, some of these tips can help!