As someone who’s shit in all kinds of conditions, I can tell you that bathroom habits (and facilities!!) vary widely from country to country. Sure, the toilet situation may not be the first thing on your mind when planning your next big adventure, but it warrants some attention if you want to have comfortable, ahem, movements while you’re away. (And maybe avoid wiping with a receipt after an attack of “Delhi Belly” at the Taj Mahal.) Read on for my best tips.
Do your research.
Knowledge is key, whether you’ll be donning mandatory slippers to use sparkling toilets that wash and dry your delicate parts with the press of a button in Japan, or squatting over the porcelain slabs typical in European parks. It will help you avoid embarrassing mistakes like clogging a toilet in destinations where you can’t flush paper (parts of Mexico and Eastern Europe, Greek and Spanish islands, Turkey, most of Africa, and Central and South America) or even worse, committing a fineable offense—in Singapore, leaving a floater can cost you $150. And be sure to learn the words for toilets and please in the local language.
Keep an eye out for clues.
See instructions in a language you understand? Follow them. If there’s a trash basket next to the toilet full of toilet paper, add yours to the pile (soiled side down, please).
Bring a kit.
Sometimes soap and water are scarce (even in urban settings). So pack an organic, cruelty-free hand sanitizer like EO’s travel-sized peppermint spray ($2.56, amazon.com). Where paper is not a given (think India, Japan, and the Middle East, among other places), wipes—especially flushable, 100 percent biodegradable ones like Stall Mates ($13.99, amazon.com)—are a lifesaver. Pro tip: never flush more than one at a time, unless you want to learn the local word for plunger the hard way. Bleeding while traveling sucks, period. Mostly you can forget about flushing even the teeniest, most organic of tampons; if you use a menstrual cup, add potable water to your kit for rinsing it.
By Chris Ciolli
Illustration by Angela Ho
This article originally appeared in the August/September 2018 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!
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