The number one rule of international travel is to bring toilet paper, to keep it with you at all times. Don’t downplay this universal advice! Here’s ten specific reasons drawn from my own experiences as to why you must BYOTP when traveling–especially in Asia.
- Because you need to use a BUNCH of toilet paper so that you won’t touch the nastiness when you wrap it up or something because you have to throw the toilet paper in a trash outside of the stall. Flushing it is not an option, due to bad plumbing. This was the case when I was at a large event venue in Manila, Philippines.
- Otherwise, you will be forced to buy some toilet paper at tourist traps. I didn’t have any with me at the volcano crater viewpoint in Tagaytay, Philippines.
- If you prefer not to use a hose to wash yourself. This will be the case almost anywhere you travel in Asia, especially in Malaysia and Vietnam.
- In case you cannot figure out how to use a bidet. I had this issue at my friend’s house in Bucheon, South Korea and at a fancy mall in Bangkok, Thailand.
- Even when you stay at a hotel–because sometimes they will NOT refill the toilet paper, either because they forgot or because only the first roll is free. This is a huge issue in Vietnam. My previous experiences with lack of refills in Ho Chi Minh City is the exact reason why I was well prepared for my recent trip to Cat Ba Island, where, of course, our room was never serviced.
- Even when you visit a friend at their house, because you may be suddenly stricken with diarrhea and feel bad for using all their toilet paper. Such as when I had a painfully spicy curry for breakfast one day in Bangkok, Thailand.
- Even when in the “cleanest” country in the world…because, in actuality, it has dirty bathrooms and you may need to wipe down those toilet seats before you sit down…’nuff said. I’m pointing the finger at you, Singapore, because i was disappointed that Hong Kong has cleaner bathrooms than you do.
- In case you end up with severe bronchitis from too much air conditioning and you end up always blowing your nose and hacking up nasty stuff. Unfortunately, I caught a cold from the air conditioning in the Philippines and immediately found myself in Hong Kong, where spitting is illegal. It was super awkward and torturous to spit into tissues and bottles all day. And then it occurred again in South Korea, just two months later.
- In case you are given a rationed amount of two squares. That’s it. Just two paper squares. This happened to my mom in South America, years ago.
- In case your period starts and you haven’t gotten around to replenishing your pad supply. Ladies, you now I don’t need to give you any hints about this. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
I know, I know…TMI.
More packing tips: What’s in my backpack?