When You're On the Go and Gotta Go


They say “travel is the spice of life,” but what can happen when one consumes a bit too much spice while traveling?  What adventures not commonly written about await the hapless traveler after an ill-advised street kabob? 

November 19th is dedicated to World Toilet Day to spread awareness about contaminated water and sanitation. This day represents a cause – not having toilets in low socioeconomic areas around the world which leads to contamination of water and soil that sustain human growth. Over 4.5 billion people around the world live without a safe toilet and about 1.8 billion people use drinking water that can be contaminated with feces.

The main goal of World Toilet Day is to turn open sewer environments into safe and sanitary toilets for about 62.5% of the population around the world that still do not have the luxury by 2030. Meanwhile, to spread awareness about sanitation and inform Global Travel Plus travelers about situations that can arise while traveling, we have put together a list of things to know about sanitation.

Toilet Paper

First, consider the toilet and its various iterations around the world.  Here in the US, there are a few expectations that may not be met elsewhere.  For one thing, toilet paper is a given in an American bathroom, whether private or public.  We have soft rolls and not-so-soft rolls; weak paper, strong paper; one-ply, two-ply, three-ply, four.  Sometimes the paper hangs over the roll, sometimes under (which we can all agree is crazy), but the bottom line for your bottom is that, barring tragic oversight, you can count on toilet paper being there at your disposal. 


However, in many parts of the world, there is no paper; a bidet is used instead. Examples of such places are Indonesia, Pakistan, parts of India and Sri Lanka. The idea is simple: rinse with water.  In cultures in which water rinsing is the norm, the water method is regarded as more hygienic than paper, and the practice of using paper is considered dirty and incomplete. This can be a challenge to the Western traveler, and while most all international hotels offer toilets with paper, a trip to a local home can be a real surprise! 

Squat Toilet


Even more unusual to the traveling Westerner is the squat toilet, found commonly in sub-Saharan Africa, where a bucket and a mug of water service the user.  Squat toilets can also be found in public restrooms in Japan, although the Western versions have gained much ground over the years.  In cultures were water rinsing is the norm, the water method is regarded as more hygienic than paper, and the practice of using paper can be seen as incomplete and dirty. 


Next, consider the urinal.  Did you know there is a disposable travel urinal made for road trips? Gross, I know…but true!  These are small non-spillable bags with unisex adapters that can hold up to 28 ounces of fluid. There is a compound in the bag that gels the fluid so the whole thing can be thrown out into a trash bin. I know…gross.

Actually, there are some beautiful urinals out there! Here are a few examples we found while traveling:

Stockholm, Sweden 

Seoul, South Korea

Jackson, Mississippi 

London, UK

World Toilet Day raises awareness for these global issues and is the perfect time to reach over 892 million people worldwide practicing open defecation. These are just some of the major differences we have noticed while traveling. If you would like more pre-trip information regarding other areas of your travel, you can visit us online or on the Global Travel Plus Mobile App.
Posted: 11/19/2018 9:00:00 AM