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Toilet Tips -- What Every Woman Traveller Should Know


Evelyn Hannon

When it comes to using non-western and often, sub-standard bathroom facilities men are far less concerned and they get things done a lot faster than we JourneyWomen do.

- For one thing 'their equipement' is better designed and much more appropriate for use in Third World toilets.
- Guys are definitely not as squeamish as we are about wet seats, messy floors and yucky smells.
- They go in, use the loo, come out and never comment on their experience.
- Women on the other hand will ask your opinion on what the bathroom was like before they use the washroom.
- They will also offer their own detailed description of the facility when they are done.

It's for these reasons that Journeywoman has created this compilation of bathroom tips to use as you travel the world. It never hurts to be prepared...

Do your potty research...
If you are travelling to a country where you don't speak the language find out how to say, 'where is the toilet/washroom?' before you leave. Either learn to pronounce the full sentence or copy it into your travel journal for when you need it. Our favorite resource for this language research is wikiHow and as they explain, often you don't even need to know the full sentence; just learn how to say the word 'bathroom.' For example: in Mexico, use the words, "el baño" or just 'baño.'

Want to impress your friends?
Arabic (Saudi Arabia; UAE) = Ayna Al Hammam?
Czech = Prosim Vas, Kde jsou toalety?
Dutch = Pardon, waar is de W.C
Cantonese Chinese = Mm-goy, chee-soh hai been-doh-ah?


Finding tolerable toilets in India...
In my country public and paid toilet facilities are not so common so I'm sending along some advice for female visitors to India. Almost every restaurant and some tourist spots have toilets attached to them. Have a cup of tea at a hotel and take this opportunity to use the toilet facility available there. If you've had a meal at a restaurant, don't leave without using their facilities (even if you don't REALLY need to go). It might be a while before you find another proper toilet. Alternatively, if you are traveling by car and stop for a petrol fill, take the time and use the toilet facilities available at most petrol pumps. Carry tissue and wet wipes. You'll probably need them.
(Resmi, Kerala, India)


Her Germany Washroom Advice...
Ladies, never be without a 50 pfennig piece in Germany! All public washrooms that I used required 50 pf. to get in. Also they never seemed to have hot water, soap or paper towels. Best to carry antiseptic wipes with you for washing your hands and face.
(Marilyn, Toronto, Canada)


The same goes for Prague...
If you have to walk downstairs to any loo, please take coins with you. You might get all the way down and have someone waiting there, with hand out for payment to use the facilities.
(Sunny, Tel Aviv, Israel)


Where’s the W.C in China?
China has some token throne toilets in more expensive establishments but the squat toilet reigns supreme. The cleanliness of them varies dramatically. Often public toilets don’t supply toilet paper so always carry tissues in your handbag. Depending on where you travel you will encounter squat toilets with private cubicles and others will be a much more public experience. Some have no doors, dividing walls only a metre high and a trench running the length of the room. Leave your dignity at the door and put it down to a fab travel story.
(Sonja Seifert, Melbourne, Australia)


Pack an umbrella for China's rural bathrooms...
Yes, there can be lots of rain when you're in China but that's not why I'm suggesting you pack an umbrella. My reason is so much better. If you're going to the outskirts of any Chinese cities, you absolutely must bring along a collapsible umbrella. You see, not all toilet doors close properly -- some don't even close at all. So open that umbrella and shield your body -- it can save you a lot of embarrassment.
(Julia, Singapore)


Tiger balm and squatting in China...
It depends on where you are going -- some restrooms in China are still pretty primitive -- so be prepared. Take your own toilet paper and seat covers for where the toilets actually have seats. Most public toilets are the squat type so start exercising your thigh muscles and practice squatting. A small dab of Tiger Balm under the nose can be very helpful in dispelling unpleasant odors in the toilets.
(Estelle, California, USA)

Ed. note: I use my mentholated lip balm under my nose in "hard-to-be-in" washrooms. I also wear pants with tight fitting legs so the bottoms don't get dirty in the squat washrooms.



Africa -- Outdoor bathrooms are scary things...

The loo was out side. Now here I lay, listening to hyena cackles split the night while untamed creatures skittered over my tent roof. The air was moist, cool, and pungent with alien smells of a world untouched by so-called civilization. It was the loo that finally made me realize I was living my dream. More...

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