Hello Readers. I am here to discuss an extremely important, albeit often overlooked, issue while traveling: Pooping. The Jessetters have used many, many different lavatories during out travels. Some nice, some not, and some that are literally hell on earth. Emergency Code Browns are a very common situation when eating new foods while abroad (Montezuma’s Revenge anyone?). I have been pretty lucky with international foods myself. It tends to sit better with me than domestic foods for some reason (I’m looking at you GMOs), but I think I have just been lucky. This isn’t to say that I haven’t been in dire need of a bathroom a time or two during our many travels. So heed my words and read on….
In the United States, the worst bathroom many of us will ever encounter is either a crappy gas station restroom or an event port-a-potty. Neither is usually great, but they are superior to many around the world.
So what is it like abroad? Well, many of us always expect to see a porcelain throne in a bathroom, but guess what? Sometimes it will just be a hole in the ground (called a squatty potty). Mostly we have found these outside the cities in Asia and a couple in Central America. When I encounter these wonders I almost just want to go outside and find a place in the woods. Lesson: Don’t take a toilet for granted.
So now that I have told you not to take a toilet for granted, you should also not take a toilet’s functions for granted. In some countries (Greece, for instance) and many small islands, they have toilets….but do not have proper plumbing. So that means don’t even think about flushing that TP. They have wonderful wastebaskets for it right next to the toilet. Yup, gross.
Surprisingly, even bathrooms in rooms at upscale resorts around the world can come with issues. Some only have partial doors, or walls that don’t go all the way to the ceiling. They are probably trying to be fancy or trendy, but c’mon man, do you not have enough wood or plaster!?! You definitely don’t have the privacy you would expect at such a nice place. Just something to consider if you are planning on traveling with a significant other.
Not all toilets are bad though! Some can be downright fancy (I’m looking at you Japan!). Heated seats are amazing when you head to the John at night. Just be sure to press the correct buttons. Domo arigato, toilet!
Biggest piece of advice I can give? I always (ALWAYS!) carry a toilet paper role or tissue in my day pack while traveling along with some hand sanitizer. In many countries, there is often an attendant standing guard outside bathrooms charging for a few squares of tissues (which is never going to be enough anyway) and no soap. This also brings me to my next point, always carry some coins just in case. Sometimes these attendants won’t change a larger bill, and they for sure ain’t givin’ away that TP.
Next biggest tip? Hotel lobbies, in my opinion, usually have the best bathrooms you are going to find. It is always a crapshoot (pun intended) trying to find a decent restroom when you are out and about. Public restrooms can be nasty and even nice restaurants don’t always have comparable loos. When in doubt, duck into a hotel (even the lower end ones). They are usually stocked with TP too. Also, never pass up a decent bathroom! You never know when you will get another one.
So there you have it my friends. Be informed and be prepared. Oh, and watch out for snakes in the toilets. Apparently that’s a thing.