These Road Trip Bathroom Options Are Way Better than Gas Stations

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Road trips are a great way to travel. They create well-rounded trips allowing you to see a lot more than if you had flown. Getting there can be half the fun!

Of course, road trips can present their own set of challenges. Today, we’ll cover your options when nature calls. 

Where Should You Go to the Bathroom While on a Road Trip?

Unless your road trip is very short, someone in your vehicle will inevitably need to make a pitstop to use the bathroom. Even if you limit fluid intake, you’ll likely find yourself scrambling to find a spot to stop. Thankfully, there are usually plenty of options to take care of business while on the road. 

A family of three smiles as they embark on a road trip.

The Best Road Trip Bathroom Options

Some road trip bathroom stops might seem obvious, but there are a few you may not have considered. Let’s take a look at some of your best options when it comes to making a quick bathroom stop before getting back on the road.

Rest Stop Bathrooms

You’re likely to find plenty of rest stops along major interstates throughout the U.S. Thankfully, there are even signs often letting you know how many miles until the next rest stop.

Be mindful that not all rest areas have bathrooms. Verify on Google Maps by checking reviews or the DOT website for the rest stop you’re considering stopping at. 

Restaurant Bathrooms

Why not combine your food break with your restroom break? Not only will you save time by combining the stops, but restaurant bathrooms tend to be clean. Nearly all restaurants have a bathroom for patrons, including fast-food joints. 

Waiting in line in a fancy restroom with murals on the stall doors and a brick and gold walls.

Your Own Portable Toilet

Sometimes you just can’t wait to find a bathroom. Having a portable toilet can be especially useful out west, where you’ll find stretches of highway without any services for more than 100 miles. Portable toilets are also useful for small children with small bladders who just can’t wait. 

Hotel Bathrooms

One place you may not have thought about for your pit stop needs is a local hotel. While they might not be the obvious choice, many hotels do have restrooms in their lobbies. Ask if you can use their bathroom if you’re not staying as a guest. Thankfully, in most cases, the hotel won’t have a problem with you using the bathroom. 

Coffee Shop Bathrooms

Need some caffeine to get you through to the end? Finding a great local coffee shop can give your body some fuel, give you a restroom, and boost the local economy. Not only are coffee shop bathrooms usually clean, but you’ll be able to get a great drink and possibly a yummy snack.

Traveler’s Tip: If you decide to stop at a gas station for a bathroom break, consider finding one of the 7 best road trip gas stations ahead of time.

How to Find Public Bathrooms

You might be surprised to learn that there are entire apps dedicated to helping you find clean bathrooms while on the road. There truly is an app for everything! Check out apps such as Bathroom Scout, Flush, and Sit or Squat to find a nearby bathroom during your travels.

If you can’t make room for any more apps on your phone, you can use Google Maps in a pinch. 

A wooden restroom sign with a yellow arrow are mounted to a wooden post with trees out of focus in the background.

Tips for Using Public Bathrooms During a Road Trip

There isn’t much worse than really having to go without a bathroom in sight. You don’t have to wiggle in your seat holding it in. Here are a few tips for avoiding uncomfortable situations on the road. 

Plan Your Route

Know where bathroom break opportunities are before you begin your trip. If you know members of your party might need to go at certain intervals, plan for it. Know in advance if there are long stretches without services so you can make one final stop before you go into areas with no options. 

Friends enjoying a laugh in the car on a rode trip.

Have Backup Plans

What will you do if someone needs to go RIGHT NOW? This might vary a bit depending on your travel companions. If you’d planned on stopping in 30 minutes but can no longer wait, have a way to find a backup. This might mean a portable toilet or an app to help you find a new location quickly. 

Bring Wipes Just in Case

Don’t find yourself in a stall only to realize there’s no toilet paper. Sometimes restrooms in the middle of nowhere don’t get serviced often. In these cases, you might need to bring your own supplies.

Having wipes or toilet paper with you can avoid a situation you’d rather not be in. Having wipes handy is also great for cleaning up if you’re traveling with small children who have had an unavoidable accident. 

Pack Hand Sanitizer as Well

Remember how we said sometimes roadside restrooms aren’t the cleanest? If this is the case, there likely isn’t soap either. Bring along hand sanitizer so you can feel clean even if a pit stop doesn’t have soap and water. It’s never a bad idea to use hand sanitizer after a stop, especially in locations that see a lot of traffic. 

Close up of hands as someone uses a small container of hand sanitizer outside.

Arrive Prepared, and You’ll Have a Painless Pit Stop

You know you’ll have to go, so you might as well be prepared for it. It’s always better to know your options before it’s an emergency. Sometimes going before you hit the road just isn’t enough.

What are your favorite places to make a pit stop while on the road? Do you prefer to preplan them or wing them?

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