Travel Advice/Travel Tips - Toilets -
What can there be to know?
In some rural areas of the world, you may discover that the door to the
toilet leads to a small room with nothing more than a hole in the floor.
- If you are lucky, there may be a set of concrete footpads. You
likely will not have a fixture (something to sit on) or toilet paper.
- Fancier settings may be equipped with a small hose, which is the
substitute for toilet paper.
- The hose discharge is usually cold and the water pressure may
be too high for comfort.
- In other words, always carry a small packet of tissue
Other areas of the world may have modern plumbing, but there may be a
charge to use the lavatory, or a charge for toilet paper that is doled
out few sheets at a time by an attendant. This is one of the more
important reasons that you should always carry change in the local
currency (see our article
about always carrying cash).
In many cases, the American practice of separate toilets for the sexes
is not observed overseas.
- If there are no specific stall designated for women and men, just
stand in line and wait your turn
- Always be prepared for the “seat-up" trick often practiced by your
Japan takes the cake for the most interesting toilets, as well at the
title for the most electronically endowed fixtures.
- It is common for toilets in exclusive Tokyo hotel rooms to feature
such luxuries as a heated seat, hot air blow dryer (don’t ask), directed
jets of warm water and other features too numerous to mention.
- Read the instructions before you proceed on this adventure and
operate the various controls only while seated
- there is usually an instrument pad to the side of the toilet
- I’ve been told the spray jets can reach a standing person, well,
that's what a fellow traveler told me...
Various terms are used for lavatories around the world, and you should
take the time to learn the local term for what Americans call the
“restroom”. I still remember this episode from the first time I visited
"I was in one of the "Grande" department stores and needed to use
their restroom. Realizing that the word restroom might not make sense, I
asked the sales staff for the location of the "bathroom'. They sent me
to the fifth floor of their building across the street.
Arriving in the new building, I looked around and still could not
find the facility. I stopped a different group of store employees and
once again asked for directions to the bathroom. They gestured to the
area surrounding us.
I suddenly realized that I was surrounded by towels and shower
curtains. Being somewhat under pressure I tried to explain that I did
not want to buy things for a bathroom but needed to use one.
A group of four sales clerks, dressed to the nines, met in special
session, gesturing wildly, and after three minutes, I heard someone
exclaim "toilette". I shouted "Oui" and was soon on my way to the
So, know the local term, (loo, toilette, water closet, privy, latrine,
etc.,) whatever it may be, to prevent any problems and to avoid looking
and sounding like, well, a tourist.
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