This blog post was updated on December 5, 2017.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of answering nature’s call in the wilderness with just blue skies and curious woodland creatures to join you, then you know that using the toilet when you’re traveling is the exact opposite of that heavenly experience. Cramped spaces, urgent lines, wonky smells, missing toilet paper, and unfamiliar restroom setups are just some of the many problems that can plague the traveler who’s gotta go. As a wanderer with little dignity, shame, or class to her name (sorry, Ma), I’ve got some hacks that’ll turn your traveling toilet experience from “Why, gods, why?!” to “Okay. I can do this. I don’t want to. But, goshdarnit, I can.”

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Use Seat Covers to Blot Your Oily Face So That You Look Semi-Presentable Upon Landing at Your Destination

My big fat Greek wedding? More like my big oily Greek face. Seriously though, you can’t frack here (but it’d be a lucrative endeavor). The material is actually what those fancy cosmetics companies use in their expensive “oil blotting kits”, so it’s not as gross as it sounds. You’ll probably want to do it inside of the stall, though, if you’re keen on avoiding serious shade from all the people that just don’t get us.

Wash makeup. Young woman washing her face with a cotton swab cosmetics

Turn Your Carry-On Into Your Own Personal Squatty-Potty

I’m serious. It’s how we were meant to do it, YOU’RE the weird ones. Simply turn that pup on its side, sidle it up to the base of your throne, place your swollen, kankly feet on top of it, and truly understand how fantastic squatty-potties are. This hack can also be applied to hostel or hotel rooms — turn that tiny trash can into your personal footstool on the ride to heaven.

Feet showing under bathroom door, in public restroom with four stalls

Change Your Perspective When It Comes to Methods of Going to the Bathroom That You’re Unfamiliar With

No, I didn’t just write this to get you to accept the previous tip. There are some popular travel destinations — China, for one — where it wouldn’t be uncommon to find a hole instead of a porcelain throne when you enter a stall. Just go with it — isn’t this why we travel, anyways? Look at it as a new experience (and a great way to put those expensive yoga classes into practice) instead of the perfect way to show complete strangers how uncoordinated you are.
the typical public toilet in China

Pack It In, Pack It Out

If you’ve ever backpacked or camped, then you’re familiar with the phrase “Leave No Trace” — it’s basically every outdoorsy person’s Golden Rule. When traveling in countries where stuffing the toilet full of toilet paper isn’t okay — Nepal, Sri Lanka, Greece — an easy (and admittedly hands-on) solution for those of you who haven’t yet fully embraced the idea of going au naturel is to simply bring the paper in, use it, and bring it back out in a plastic baggie for proper disposal ASAP.

Man suffers from diarrhea holds toilet paper roll in front of toilet bowl.

Flight Attendants Can Be Your Besties

Once, my body was like, “Why are you doing this to me? I will now revolt” on a 15-hour flight to Australia. Let’s just say my sleep cycle wasn’t the only cycle out of whack. Having no supplies on hand, I asked the flight attendant if they had anything to help a sister out. He. Came. Through. I left that plane so stocked up on supplies, I didn’t even have to buy anything during the entirety of my trip.

Woman hygiene protection, close-up.menstruation calendar with cotton tampons,lavender,Sanitary pads on a red background

Transform Your Hostel Bathroom Into a Laundry Room

Two words: Sink laundry. All the cool kids are doing it. All you need is a sink, a sink plug (I’ve also used a sock), any sort of soap, a lot of patience, and an empty wallet (because if you have extra money, save yourself the hassle and pay the $2 for the laundromat down the street). Soap up your clothes in hot water, do a DIY spin cycle, carefully wring everything out, and drape your damp load hastily throughout your hostel room (here’s hoping you have a bunk bed!).

Clothes dryer

Are there any other tips that I missed? Probs. Clue me in with a comment below!

6 Responses

  1. Tenley

    If you’re using a squatter and wearing a dress/skirt, tie it around your waist or pull it up and down through your bra to complete a fruitless Carmen Miranda look.

    Also, on an aptly-named ‘red eye’ flight, ask the hostess for some ice cubes to rub on your puffy peepers. The cold will take care of swelling and wake you right up before landing.

  2. Rossi

    When traveling, I wash crotch area of my underwear then wring and use blow dryer to dry.

  3. Jackie

    Purchase and use a menstrual cup. It is seriously the best thing ever for outdoorswomen and travelers. You only have to empty twice a day, and you don’t have to worry about packing tons of tampons or dealing with whatever weird local products you find. Plus, they’re environmentally friendly. Life changing. Trust me!

  4. Sam

    Carry post-it notes to stick onto those sensor lights so it doesn’t keep flushing while you’re not yet done with your business

  5. Mark Roche

    1) Use a long wide skirt , Gipsy style or Malay Sarong when having to ‘go’ in a field or forest. You will be able to squat and retain your modesty at the same time.
    2)When using a squaring throne. It’s best to remove all pants, or underpants, unless you’re wearing a loose skirt or dress that can be tucked into your top. Otherwise the chances of losing your balance and getting leg cramps are very real. Also make sure that if you don’t remove your pants, that there isn’t items like coins, phone ,wallet or passport in your pockets. Because if it drops into the bowl. You’ll probably never get it out.


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About The Author

Content Writer

When she is not figuring out what the middle button on her headphones is for, explaining the difference between Washington State and Washington D.C., arriving to the airport too early or refusing to use the Oxford comma, you can usually find Mary in the mountains, at a show or on her couch. Mary is a content writer at Fareportal and likes annoying her coworkers with weird GIFs throughout the day.