Toilet Diplomacy: Always Find A Free & Clean Bathroom While Traveling

I’ve spent a fair amount of time traveling around Europe this past year for both work and play.

Toilet Diplomacy

There are a number of differences between most European countries and the States (a lot of them have to do with bathrooms).

Some of the differences are quite lovely. I am a big fan of bathroom stalls that go all the way from floor to ceiling and don’t have those goofy gaps in the joints like we have everywhere in the USA. WTF is that about?

The flip side is that it’s pretty damn hard to find a free bathroom in a public place in Europe.

To gain admission to a bathroom (water closet / WC) you typically need to:

  • Patronize a restaurant
  • Buy a ticket to some venue
  • Use your hotel room
  • Or literally pay to use a toilet

It’s actually kind of a startling experience the first time you encounter it. I’ve seen more than a few Americans encounter this for their first time, and it always shocks.

How to Get Some Free Peeing in Europe (or just about anywhere else)

The McDonalds Corporation has a worldwide policy regarding their bathrooms that boils down to:

  • Always have to keep them clean
  • Never charge or prevent a person from using the bathroom (even if they aren’t customers)

Et voila… You do not have to buy a thing from a McDonalds to use their toilets anywhere in the world.


Gives a new meaning to golden arches, don’t it?

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