Sunday, October 16, 2016

5 Ingenious Ways to Avoid Paying For Toilet Trips in Europe

I never thought I'd meet anyone who doesn't know the meaning of WC until I traveled to Europe with an American. So for those who don't know this either, never ask where is the "restroom" or "bathroom" when you are in Europe. You'll either get a blank stare or a weird look. In Europe, the correct word for restroom is “WC”, an abbreviation for Water Closet. You'd have to pay 20 cent- 2 Euros to use a WC almost everywhere in Europe. Phew… Never had I spent so much on toilet trips. 

However, You doesn’t always have to pay. Especially for budget travelers, here are 5 ingenious ways I learned during my trip to avoid paying for a WC session in Europe

I) Restaurants, cafes
, bars

There is no such thing as 100% success rate but it wouldn't hurt to ask. There is definitely a restroom somewhere at the back of a restaurant or cafe. Some people will just walk in confidently by pretending that they are the customers of the establishment. Personally, I like to ask for permission (Coming from a very traditional family, this is just how I am brought up.) and it is up to them whether to let me in or not. Most of the time, I was given quick access to the toilets (Golden rule: smile and be polite.) but on a particularly bad day in Paris, idiotic me accidentally wore my dress inside out and no cafe staff took pity on me. Fortunately, I am a happy go lucky person who doesn't give a sh*t to stares, continued to cat-walked the high-fashioned streets until I found a kind cafe owner.  

Some chain-places require a code in order to open the restroom doors. In such cases, you'll have 2 choices: either ask the kindest soul in the cafe for help (Yup, you need to judge a book by its cover here) or buy the cheapest drink available on the menu. The highly confidential bathroom code will be printed on the receipt. I am not sure about other chains but Starbucks always do that. 

II) 3-5 Stars Hotels

This is probably my favorite strategy for free WC trips. Why? Because I was rarely turned down. 3 to 5-star hotels have decent toilets-- Large, comfortable, clean, complete with plenty of toilet paper and sometimes classical music. You'll never get bored in such royal toilets. Hotels with lower stars/ hostels/ B&Bs normally have a higher failure rate. I remember the time when I was desperately looking for a toilet on a particular street in London and all the B&Bs referred me to another B&Bs across the street. Eventually, I gave up and ran back to Victoria Train Station public WC. 

III) Public Buildings

Museums and government buildings (such as the tourist information centers) have free toilets. Some parks (if big enough) will have public toilets or at least a booth-type WC. 

IV) Public Urinals

These free public urinals (pissoirs) are the weirdest (but clever) concept I came across in Europe. I found them in big cities like Paris and Amsterdam, but they are created just for men. 
image via wikipedia

V) Trains

Cleanliness vice, toilets in the second class wagons are sometimes not in its best condition, especially as the journey progresses. However, no one will stop you from going to the first class toilets. It is free and definitely cleaner! 


Most public WCs in Europe require payment. If not there would definitely be a tip-dish in front of the toilet. This custom sometimes makes us raise our eyebrows but frankly speaking, these toilets are worth paying for. For example, the restroom in Munich Hauptbahnhof cost me 2 Euros but it was the nicest public restroom I've been to in Europe.  

πŸ“ŒFor more travel tips, like Eat Love Travel Breathe with Miss HappyFeet. 
πŸ“ŒSubscribe to the monthly newsletter for exclusive travel deals, tips, free E-books, monthly giveaway and travel coupons! 

Thank You for Reading! This post is based solely on my honest opinion or personal experience. 
 Do you have a bathroom story to tell? feel free to share your experience with us by commenting below!

No comments: