They say “couples who fart together, stay together”. I’m not sure who “they” are, so am not entirely convinced by this statement, but I know that we’re all human, and that all humans needs to poo, pee and parp. Even the Queen and Kim Kardashian have to go to the toilet, though I’m sure some would choose to believe they don’t.
When it comes to travelling though, knowing that everyone “has to go” doesn’t necessarily make going any easier, does it? There could (most probably will) be offensive odours, nasty noises, suspicious stains and terrible timing to deal with, as well as “frequency fear” (or infrequency, as the case may be) – do you go too often, or not often enough compared to your fellow travellers? All these things can make travelling with someone – whether that be friends, family, your significant other or a colleague – a little embarrassing.
But as they also say, “shit happens”. Unless it actually doesn’t – in which case, Dulcolax will be your friend.
So, when my best girlfriends and I decided to book a cheap week away at an all-inclusive resort in Turkey, we all subconsciously knew that we’d end up hearing a lot more about each other than before. Bambi (who you may remember from my trip to Mayfield Lavender Farm last year) and I have been friends for nearly 10 years, while I’ve known Remmi for four. During this time I’ve not so much as broken wind in front of either friend, let alone gone for a number two with them in close proximity. But being together for a whole seven days, staying in one room (with a bathroom with paper-thin walls), meant that was going to change…
The night before our holiday, after sharing a couple of bottles of Prosecco, we started tipsily chatting shite. Nothing unusual there, it’s what normally happens when we get together and alcohol is involved. Except this time, because I think we were all suddenly aware that we’d be spending the next 192 hours (give or take) in each other’s company, we literally did talk about poo.
Between topping up our glasses and fits of giggles, we managed to list seven ways to go about “your business” on holiday, that would save both you and your travel comrades a lot of embarrassment. As Bambi and I had both previously been away with (now ex) boyfriends, some of these methods were already proven. The suggestions that were new needed testing, however – so our slightly sloshed trio agreed to try them during the trip, for the purpose of a blog post. Scientific stuff this.
So without further ado, I present our tried and tested ways to poop discreetly while travelling. Each technique has been given a “Shitability” score, rating it on its ease of execution and risk of embarrassment. And, because I don’t want to gross you out (or risk this post not making it through overzealous spam filters), instead of including unpretty pictures of kaka, I’ve added some snaps of Remmi, Bambi and I having fun in the Turkish sun, unabashed by our ablutions because we managed “to go” without humiliating ourselves or each other. At least not with our bodily functions, anyway…
1. The Pre-Breakfast Poop.
You awake from a lovely, peaceful night’s sleep to realise you desperately need to take a big, fat dump. But your room-mate(s) is sleeping soundly only a few feet away, and you don’t want to wake them with parping and plopping. Imagine the awkwardness at breakfast, sat opposite each other, knowing that they’ve just heard every single bowel movement. You could attempt technique number six from this list (see The Muffled Poop), but instead you stifle the urge and try number one for your number two.
You and your travel buddy are up, dressed and heading down to breakfast. But wait, what’s that, you forgot something (like that time we were half way down the path and Remmi realised she’d forgotten to put her shoes on!), you better go back and get it. No, no, don’t wait/don’t come back with me, you’ll meet them in the restaurant, please can you grab me a coffee. After you’ve managed to have a stealthy poo, in private, that is.
I’ve used this technique plenty of times, but it’s not entirely foolproof. Your fellow traveller may insist on coming back to the room with you, so be prepared to find that thing you forgot. And you’ll not be able to do this technique every day. For these reasons, it doesn’t score as highly as some of the others on the list.
Shitability score: 7/10
2. The Post-Breakfast Poop.
You’ve just had three cups of coffee and you’re raring to go – go to the toilet, that is. What is it about hot drinks and prompting bowel movements?
Anyway, a bit like the Pre-Breakfast Poop, this one involves a little white lie. I usually go with either “I’ve got something in my eye, I’m just going to check it out in the bathroom” or “my hands are all sticky from the fruit/pancakes/doughnuts, I’ll be back in a sec”. Then I’ll slope off to the bathroom to have a sneaky poo.
While the technique itself does work, the Post-Breakfast Poop doesn’t score highly for a couple of reasons: it’s a very time dependent technique, and will only work if you actually have to go right there and then. If your poop isn’t 100% ready, avoid this method, as you won’t have time to sit around reading a paper or playing a game of Solitaire on your phone while you wait for it to appear. There’s also the risk of the cleaners being in the bathroom at that time of the day, which could be a little distracting if they’re trying to go about their business while you go about yours.
Shitability score: 4/10
3. The Poolside Poop.
This method, for which there are two variants, lets you metaphorically “drop the kids at the pool” while your travel buddy(s) obvliously suns themself by the actual pool:
- The Poolside Poop v1 – If you’re feeling brave (and have either a strong stomach or a poor sense of smell), then try pooping in the toilets by the pool. Be warned though, if you’re lucky enough to have toilet paper in there, it’s probably the tracing paper kind (you know what I mean). And if you go after midday, be sure to wear shoes, as it can be hard to differentiate between pool water and kid pee on the dirty floor. A nose peg is also recommended.
- The Poolside Poop v2 – If you’d rather go in complete privacy, grab the room key and tell your buddies that you’re heading back to pick up a book/sun cream/hat etc. Be sure to ask them if they want anything brought back from the room before they have a chance to say “I’ll come with you”, as otherwise you may not get the chance to empty your bowels, and you’ll have to think of a plan B. This is a much safer option than v1, though depending on where your room is in relation to the pool, could be time-consuming.
This technique scores 6.5 in the Shitability stakes, with its main flaw being that if you’re a female wearing a swimming costume* as opposed to a bikini, going to the toilet can be a faff. And in my case, when wearing this beautiful (slightly impractical) high-neck Gottex swimsuit, I had to ask either Remmi or Bambi (and on one occasion, a member of the hotel staff) to undo it for me so I could go to the bathroom. This completely negated the effort of trying to go discreetly, as everyone then knew where I was going. Nice cossie though.
Shitability score: 6.5/10
4. The Restaurant/Cafe/Bar Poop.
If you don’t mind a) shitting “in public” (not literally) and b) holding it until convenient, then this may work for you. It’ll spare you the blushes of your travel companions and the danger of clogging up your hotel room’s waste pipe, so can be effective if you know that you’re brewing a big one and will need more than a few squares of toilet roll. Though do check this, as not all countries allow you to flush tissue into their sewage system.
It only scores seven out of 10 though, as it’s not entirely foolproof. Once inside the cubicle, there may be no toilet roll. The bathroom might not be the cleanest or most sanitary (especially if travelling in a country where hygiene standards aren’t as high as you’re used to). And if you’re anything like me, unless you have complete privacy, the number of people going in and out of the bathroom may be enough to give you stage fright and prevent you from going. This could cause blockages of another kind, so make sure you always have both diarrhea and constipation meds when travelling.
Shitability score: 7/10
5. The Shower Poop.
This doesn’t mean actually pooing in the shower, because errr, that’s gross. But if your number two is perfectly timed so you also happen to be about to go for a shower, turn the water on full pelt while sitting on the throne for a few minutes, feeling smug that the rushing water will drown out any embarrassing noises. Your travel buddies will be none the wiser, unless you’re like us and reveal all after you’ve come out of the bathroom.
This was the technique Bambi, Remmi and I all preferred. The main drawback to this method is the wastage of water – so only go down this route if you know your bowel movements will be pretty quick. Also, if your poop is particularly stinky, and if like most hotel bathrooms, there is no window, the steam may not be enough to banish the smell, meaning the poor sod who’s next in the bathroom may have to hold their breath a while (could be the reason Remmi used nearly a whole bottle of shower gel in the first three days?).
Shitability score: 9/10
6. The Muffled Poop.
Again, a technique with a few variants, this one could a goer if all else has failed. Bambi’s preferred version was softening the poo plop with toilet roll, by laying a couple of sheets down first. I didn’t try this technique myself, as by day five we were out of toilet roll – which the cleaners didn’t replenish, despite us asking several times. Hooray to our hero DJ Ahmet who brought us up a few rolls, right when Remmi needed them.
A slight alternative to the above, but also considered a Muffled Poop, if there are towels in the bathroom, wrap one around your waist before you sit down on the khazi. Then pull this over the toilet, so it’s kind of like a canoe spray deck (one of these, in case you’re unsure what I mean). This will stifle any smells and sounds, and is a little more eco-friendly than using sheets of loo roll.
It is a method that needs practice though, so doesn’t score highly compared to others.
Shitability score: 5/10
7. The Pump Up The Jam Poop.
Perhaps the oldest technique in the book, but classics never go out of style: whenever you need the bathroom and don’t want to be heard, just whack the telly on or put some music on. Loudly. We had a pretty good wifi connection in our room, so Spotify came to our aid when one of us was going to the bathroom.
The only reason I’m not giving this one a higher Shitability score is because it’s pretty obvious that you’re going for a number two if you do it. Plus, it can’t disguise any smells, so have a can of deodorant or body spray handy if you do attempt it.
Shitability score: 8.5/10
Bonus: The “No Shits Given” Poop.
By the end of the week, all three of us were that comfortable with each other and our ablutions that we literally didn’t give a shit if someone was going for a shit. In fact, I think there possibly might have even been a (drunken) instance of someone going for a poo while someone else was only a foot away and in the shower. That’s true friendship, that is.
Shitability score: 10/10
Do you suffer with toilet trouble when you’re travelling? If so, give some of the techniques above a try and let me know how you get on. Or if you have any suggestions on how to poo privately when travelling, drop me a comment below. I’d love to hear them (some my friends don’t have to hear me when I “gotta go”).
* Swimming costume gifted by UK Swimwear