While on travel: Tons of information about a culture from the restrooms


I, like many nowadays, love traveling.  The world has managed to get smaller. Sadly, I must work and as an American I only get so many vacation days a year. So, I have to make my vacations really count. For me that means, I wake up at 6am each day to explore the city, the country in which I find myself. I know that for many people that does not sounds like a vacation. For me, it is divine.


Besides exploring city streets and alleys, musems and parks, I also like to check out the local bathroom system.  I know that sounds weird but you get so much information about a culture from the restroom.   Do you have to pay for a stall? Are there stalls? Do you have to pay for toilet paper?  Are there holes in the ground?  Are there bidets? Are the waste baskets filled with used toilet paper?

All these questions you can even start answering at the airport in which you arrive. Which is why, I always bring my phone camera or regular camera to the restroom with me. I know that it sounds super strange but  I have captured interesting bits of cultural information. Grafitti on bathroom stalls are an awesome bit to read through while on vacation.

Of course, one of the funniest things to experience while photographing restrooms, that is public restrooms, is the sound of the camera click and then the ensuing silence in the rest of the stalls. Many will wonder what is it that you are taking a picture of. Are you photographing particularly interesting toilet experience?

I also enjoy photographing the signs that they have in the restrooms that direct individuals on how to use the public space.

 I also like noting what besides soap is offered in the particular restroom and why those items are offered.

Next time you are out on travel don’t forget to take that camera in with you to the restroom so that you may capture all the cultural nuances.

9 replies »

  1. Love it! I take pictures in bogs too. When I go for my temporary job interviews I also go the Ladies. My husband asks “Did it pass the toilet test?”. So important. One place had a urinal next to a solo cubicle. I was not about to be sorting my hair next to a man pissing.


  2. Ha! I take pictures in restrooms all the time! 🙈 Sometimes it’s the toilet, sometimes it’s certain signs. Some of the most interesting toilets are the ones in Japan with all the buttons!


  3. Some of the worst and best loos have to be at bus stations. The worst was in China, basically a little cubicle on top of a heap of you-know-what. The best one was in Christchurch, New Zealand, where much of the infrastructure was destroyed during the 2010/11 earthquakes. They now have a bright new bust station in town, with a row of neat, clean, individual, unisex toilets, each with it’s own handbasin. No more queuing at an overcrowded Ladies’ while your man races in and out. And no problems for anyone who doesn’t identify as ‘male’ or ‘female’. Or for parents out with a child of the opposite sex and unwilling to let them go in by themselves.


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