My #1 Travel Tip: An Ode to Toilet Paper
If there’s one travel tip I can get behind 100000%, it is carrying toilet paper with you. It doesn’t have to be toilet paper, it can be tissues, flushable wet wipes, or any variation of these products that you can use in the restroom. I can understand not wanting to carry a roll of toilet paper everywhere (in SE Asia, you should), but even a pack of tissues won’t hurt or take up much space.
This tip has literally saved my butt in Southeast Asia and most recently, Europe.
In Southeast Asia, toilet paper is not found in most restrooms. The cultural practice is to wash with water. I would often see a plastic bucket with a scoop next to a faucet. I have no idea how this is done properly.
Southeast Asia also isn’t big on toilet seats and sometimes not even the toilets themselves. (TMI: I once peed into an empty water bottle I cut open with nail clippers so I could make sure I didn’t miss the small hole with foot placements that was the bathroom on a moving train in Vietnam.) Needless to say, carrying toilet paper was absolutely necessary for me.
This tip also applies to Europe, where toilet paper is generally common. In the Lisbon train station, I noticed there was not only no toilet paper, but not even a paper dispenser in the stall. You had to grab paper before you went in, which is 1. not intuitive at all and 2. forces you to make an amount needed judgment call.
It would have been very easy for this scenario to have gone very wrong. The stalls had floor to ceiling doors so someone can’t just slip you paper under the door (if you even know the language). There were paper dispensers by the sinks, but they were empty. Moral of the story: this would have been a nightmare scenario, but it wasn’t for me.
This is not the time to pretend like you’re the one human who doesn’t need to use a bathroom. Better safe than sorry on this one. I promise. :)
*Please note that in some of these countries, the plumbing is not always equipped to handle flushing paper products. It’s important to try to be respectful and there is often a trash can in the stall to dispose of anything that should not be flushed.
Originally published on my blog here!