How do you flush the toilet? Toilet TIPS for travel

When you gotta go….

Travel means you will learn new things and explore how things in the world are different…and interesting…and unusual. But some things remain the same. Everyone needs to eat and everyone needs the potty. How the facilities are different around the world is worth discussing and learning about BEFORE you go! It is especially valuable to children to know the differences ahead of time. Give them a head’s up (pun intended) and let them get comfortable with the idea of different toilets before they see them in person.

Toilet Tips for Travel – Timing

There is no secret that finding a toilet when you need one is something that travelers are concerned with and that is magnified when you have kid travelers! Kids don’t always have the ability to ‘wait’ or give you lots of notice to find a toilet.

Always use a bathroom when you have the chance! Use the facilities before you leave…the hotel, the restaurant, the store.

Toilet Tips for Travel – What about when you are out?

When you are out and about finding a bathroom can be another story altogether! What do you do?

Go into a store. Here in the United States, we are used to going in a store and using the restroom without a second thought. In some parts of the world this is NOT acceptable. When you are out in other countries, be prepared to buy something in a store or pay to use the toilet. Don’t be angry, annoyed or upset about it. It is OK for things to be different in the world. As a matter of fact, you are traveling just to see and experience the differences! Just spend a $1 and call it a cultural experience. 😉

Some countries have toilets right out on the street! The kids were so curious about this free standing toilet in Gibraltar.

free standing toilet in Gibraltar

Be sure to carry coins with you! Be prepared to pay for the toilet use in exact change.

Toilet Tips for Travel – Know the language

It is fun to learn a few words in another language! The guide books suggest words and phrases like “Thank you” and “Good morning” but I would say that before you learn any others –  know ‘bathroom’!! You know for sure you’ll use that word!

It is a great idea to know multiple words…. How many do you know? Bathroom, restroom, the John, the Head, Little girl’s/boy’s room… Roto Rooter has a list of 101 names for the toilet.

The same is true in other languages. Growing up in the south of Texas, I had heard the word ‘bano’ as the word for toilet in this heavily Spanish speaking area. SO, I was very surprised when I found myself in Spain…..and saw this sign. Not ONCE did I see or hear the word bano. So…be prepared.


The word for toilet in other countries – 

England – Water Closet, Loo

Philipines – Kubeta

Hamam – Arabic

Toilettes – France

Netherlands (Flemish) – WC

This bathroom door makes it really clear in lots of languages!

I love this bathroom door. It covers  lots of languages!!


Toilet Tips for Travel – How to Flush

Finding the bathroom in a foreign country is just the beginning of the adventure. Figuring out how to flush the toilet is often another interesting experience – and part of the fun of your adventure!

Kids love this sort of thing. Take a moment to look around! When in do as the Romans. But….can you figure it out?

Sometimes you’ll see two buttons. The large one gives you a large amount of water. The smaller one gives you a smaller amount of water. Kids get a big giggle over the next question of how to know when you need a lot of water vs a little water.


Sometimes there is a knob on top – pull up!


Sometimes you press the shiny thing on the wall.


Sometimes a photo will help you understand how to flush.

button to flush toiletSometimes flushing means pouring water from a bucket on the floor to flush.


Toilet Tips for Travel – Toilet Paper

Ok….so you found the bathroom! You have figured out how to flush…what about toilet paper?

Here in the US, we might take some toilet paper to stuff in our pocket for a runny nose. We are quite used to toilet paper being FREE and in every single toilet we encounter. Not so in some parts of the world.

It is safest to BYOP. Bring your own paper! A little in your pocket will make you feel better. 😉

Traveling toilet paper!

Don’t steal toilet paper!

China has such a reputation of there being no toilet paper in the facilities that people have started stealing it. I guess they think that if they take some, they’ll have it for the next toilet where there might not be any. IF that is your thinking.. BEWARE. China’s authorities have begun to upgrade their faculties to include toilet paper and to cut down on the theft they are using facial recognition technology to ‘dole out’ the ‘right amount’ of toilet paper. How? Well, for every facial scan the machine gives you 2 feet of the precious paper. Talk about Big Brother watching you! Yikes!! If you need more – bring our own!!

Look before you need toilet paper. 😉 

There might be toilet paper, but it might not be where it you expect it to be. We were a little surprised Sometimes you have to get some toilet paper before you enter the stall. The interesting thing here is that you have to know how much toilet paper you need…before you go!


Sometimes there are signs on the wall to help you figure the whole thing out. I love the ‘walk like an Egyptian’ walking stick man.


Toilet Tips for Travel – The really different!

The bidet is always interesting. Tell the kiddos how this thing works before you find them washing their hands in it!


Camping? No potty available? This interesting item, the Go Girl Urination Device,  lets ladies stand up to go just like the boys.

Toilet Tips for Travel – What about the littles?

I remember toilet training. New toilets were sometimes scary…and often GROSS. Grown ups can avoid the germs, but kids just seen to be all over the toilet with body and hands…ew. We traveled with a little portable potty lid like this one. Clean and familiar will really help the little potty in new places.

Don’t pull this out on your trip for the first time. Let your traveling child become comfortable with it at home! This interesting is the Comfy Do Potty-on-the-Go!

To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about this, but….desperate times call for desperate measures, right? Meet the Gloveleya Baby Boy Portable Potty Urinal.

Toilet Tips for Travel – Germs

You may encounter sparkling toilets in your travels AND you might find some that make US gas station bathrooms feel clean. Be prepared. WE love Clorox wipes for all sorts of occasions! We use them on planes (READ here about how to avoid germ on the plane.)

Put this clean toilet seat cover down before doing your business and be free of germs!

Once you are there you never know what you’ll find! Consider it part of the fun.

Where will your travels take you? Educate the kids and they’ll be interested engaged and everyone will have MORE fun!

Read before you go! Book lists on countries are here already put together for you!

Italy Hawaii New York Canada Paris London

The Educational Tourist in Hawaii, Hilton Waikaloa Village,

Happy travels,

Natalie, The Educational Tourist


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4 Responses

  1. Kristi Hynes says:

    Who knew there was so much variety in bathrooms! That hole on the ground cracks me up! With a bucket of water? I imagine there are a few places I might try to ration my water intake! LOL

    • NatalieTanner says:

      I think the bucket of water is to clean up after??

      Had to use one like this in a teeny tiny town in Italy. We were at the train station and very, very happy to find a bathroom. I opened the door and found a MUCH less pristine version of this. Ewww…..Thankfully I was wearing a skirt because even the cleanish part of the floor was wet. What an experience!!!

  2. NatalieTanner says:

    I hope you enjoyed it. Silly but fun topic!

  1. September 5, 2014

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    It’s very straightforward to find out any topic on web as compared to textbooks, as I found this piece of writing at this website.

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