You say you can stand anything for travel, because you love it so much: The heat of the sun, the stiffness of a bed, the strange flavours in a foreign land, the language barriers… You’re a hardcore adventurer, an exciting globetrotter. Here’s the catch: There’s this one part of your body that just won’t cooperate — your bladder.
Weak bladders don’t choose anyone. Some people are only lucky enough to escape the struggles of needing to go to the bathroom often. Unfortunately, you aren’t one of those fortunate few.
News flash: There are certain things you can do to conquer travel like a pro, even with a weak bladder.
1. Choose transportation with bathrooms
This is probably an obvious one — when taking public transportation, choose one with a bathroom. Plane rides won’t be much of a problem, as all commercial airplanes have bathrooms. (Tip: Go on a bathroom break before you feel the urgent need to pee. There’ll most likely be a line for the bathroom, and you might have to wait a while for your turn.) Most bus lines now have models with bathrooms, too; however, travellers will have to endure wobbling to the bathroom while in transit (Take note: It’s not that easy).
2. Wear loose clothing
Aside from being annoyingly uncomfortable, tight-fitting clothes — specifically those that suffocate the groin area — are restrictive; in turn, they give you the urge to pee more often. More than that, they put pressure on your lower abdomen. In the long run, this may lead to urinary tract infections that will badly affect your bladder function.
Skinny jeans may make your butt look good, but there’s no need for you to be a purist. The reign of tight pants has been long gone (and boy, are we thankful for that!). When travelling, opt for loose clothing: dresses, jogger pants, leggings, culottes… My personal favourite? A jazzy pair of harem pants!
3. Pick an aisle seat
You don’t want to disturb other passengers every time you have to go to the bathroom — especially if they’re sleeping! Choose to sit by the aisle whenever you can. If possible, pick the seat closest to the door so you won’t have to go through an obstacle course of people (and their bags!).
Make sure to check in for your flight as soon as possible (you can do this online) so you can select your seat before everyone else does. Based on my experience, aisle seats are usually the first ones taken. If you’re taking a vehicle without a seat reservation option, you might have to arrive extra early at the terminal to reserve your seat. Say it with me — #titaproblems.
4. Limit diuretic intake
Before and during travelling, go easy on the liquids. Juice, caffeine and alcohol are considered diuretics and are your worst enemies when it comes to long-haul trips. Avoid having them when you know you won’t have access to a bathroom for a certain period of time. Don’t worry: You don’t need to die of dehydration. Drinking water is fine, as long as you don’t chug down a whole gallon in one sitting (Who does that, anyway?!). Take it slowly and surely, my friends. Also, keep your bladder healthy and make sure to drink at least eight glasses of water a day!
5. Maximise all bathroom breaks
Imagine this: You’re riding a bus, and it finally goes for a stopover. You think you don’t need to pee, so you decide to stay inside the vehicle. Little did you know that was the last bus stop for the trip. You can’t take it anymore, so you ask your driver to please make another stop so you can pee. But you’re in the middle of nowhere. “Fine,” he says, “Go pee over there.” Your eyes widen and your jaw drops — he points to a tree.
As a traveller with a weak bladder, you need to maximise each and every bus stop that there is. Food stops. Gasoline stops. Even random stops when the driver needs to pee or smoke. Don’t wait for an explosion to happen. When there’s a chance, release.
Note: Make sure to let your seatmate, driver, and bus conductor know you’re going to the bathroom. You don’t want to be left behind.
6. Bring public bathroom necessities
You have to face the music — not every public bathroom is clean. That’s just a sad truth travellers have to accept. If you have a weak bladder, you have it bad: You can’t be picky when nature calls. To survive the worst of worst bathrooms, have a handy survival kit with you. Mostly, this means toilet paper, wet wipes, and hand sanitiser. But if you want to be a little extra, then, by all means, go! Take toilet seat covers, some air freshener, and a portable bidet with you, too.
7. Prepare distractions
Preparing for a long-haul trip with a weak bladder is a lot like preparing for war. You need to train your body (some experts swear by kegel exercises). You need to watch your diet (avoid diuretics!). Finally, you need to prepare your mind.
There’s a reason why we hate thinking about running water when we need to pee. Travelling with a weak bladder requires you to master the art of mind over matter. Pack enough entertainment materials that will distract you from your urge to pee. Download your favourite Netflix movies and series or bring a book. Avoid comedies, suspense, and jump scares, though! Laughing and shock will both trigger your bladder even more.
8. Learn to ask where the bathroom is in the local language
Finally, be sure to equip yourself in every destination. When travelling to a non-English speaking country, learn the phrase “Where is the bathroom?” or “Can you point me to the bathroom?” If you’re not confident with your linguistic skills, bring an illustration or sign for a bathroom instead.
Even when you’re travelling to an English-speaking country, some nationalities won’t recognise the words bathroom and comfort room (CR). Familiarise yourself with how they refer to their bathroom. Some say washroom or water closet (WC), while others stick with toilet or lavatory.
Congratulations! Now, you’re ready to conquer the world — one bathroom at a time.