Travelling abroad? Read this to Avoid some unprecedented Awkwardness
While travelling foreign countries, it is necessary to have a clear idea about popular culture of the region to avoid those awkward oddities. Bathroom etiquettes is not wholly about this, but knowing the common norm of a foreign land that can be quite uncommon to any tourist, is always to the latter’s advantage.
Also, another aspect is its obscure nature. Bathroom or toilet etiquettes is not something one can learn just after landing on a country, like learning greetings or common gestures. Thus, a little knowhow about contrasting customs throughout the world when it comes to toilet usage is a handy thing to do.
In Asian countries squat toilet is common. It is considered more healthy and natural.
China, Singapore and other South East Asian countries, Including India does use western style toilets. China has grown as a tourist destination and thousands flock to this country full of contrasting geography. For western travelers, toilets in China may appear different as along with other Asian countries, squatting is the common posture.
Thus, practicing to squat would help and it is better be ready for it while in China. It is in fact, the heathiest posture and also the most natural one. Toilets in these countries are fixed on ground. For flushing there might be a pedal or normal flush. If they are not available, there would be a bucket or a mug. Use them to wash away.
Also, especially in China and Korea, always be handy with your own toilet papers. Toilets in these countries do not have such stocks generally. In public restrooms, brining your own toilet paper is almost customary.
Don’t flush out toilet papers in countries like Cuba, Egypt, Greece, Romania, Turkey and other East European countries.
In Mediterranean countries, Cuba, Eastern Europe and also Ukraine or Egypt toilets does not have large outlets as in Western countries. Therefore, never flush your toilet paper after using. It will block the toilet and cause a big problem. In these countries, generally, a bin is placed by the side to drop toilet papers.
In countries such Portugal, French and Italy, bidet is common. In South American countries like Argentina and Venezuela as well as in Japan, bidet is used. Thus, in these countries using toilet papers might not be always the best way, as water is considered as the best way to clean.
Using public toilets in cities like London and Amsterdam may not be free.
In most of cities like Paris, London, Amsterdam as well as Delhi, be prepared to pay for using public toilets. In India, although there are persons to collect the bill, which is nominal, in other cities, it is customary to drop some as a tip in a tip dish or to the attendant.
Knowing the common terms for toilet while visiting a country is a worthwhile idea. Knowing the local lingo helps a lot. In Australia, the word is “dunny”, in Japan, it is “ben-jo” and in UK, they use the word “loo”. In Netherland, ‘water closet’ is a common term for toilets.