Technology is great. If you need any more proof of that, look no further than the amazing invention that is a toilet finding app. These apps truly are an overlooked and undervalued part of app stores, even as they quietly serve users in their, er, hour of need. So to give them due credit, we’ve rounded up some of the best ones out there for you to consider based on your travel habits.
Note that we’ve narrowed down our search to only the free ones, because no matter what kind of traveller you are, free is free, and free is good.
Flush: For The Instagrammers/Lifestyle Bloggers
This toilet finding app is the prettiest of the lot; rather than the conventional symbol for toilets, it uses a somewhat more elegant picture of a roll of toilet paper as its app icon. So even if a corner of your phone’s screen gets captured in one of your photos, you don’t have to worry about it spoiling the rest of the shot.
Looks aside, it comes with most of the main functions one is likely to seek in a restroom finding app: it lets you rate toilets, choose to view only disabled-accessible bathroom, or limit your search only to toilets that you don’t have to pay to visit. Flush also helps you navigate your way to the nearest toilet via Google Maps, which is great if you really can’t afford to get lost with a full bladder.
Toilet Finder: For The Map-Reading Adventurer
Like Flush, this toilet finder will allow users to rate bathrooms, as well as show only disabled-accessible toilets or free-to-use ones. One main difference, though, is that no directions are given. Nope, not even a marked-out path to show you the shortest route to the toilet you select. This means you will have to have some basic map-reading skills on hand.
One other problem is just how long the app takes to load after you tap to launch it. It took nearly 10 seconds for the main page of the app to load, which is eternity when compared to the 2-second wait that other apps required. Stay away if you really have to pee.
Nearest Toilet: For The Health Nut
You know who you are: the one whose workout gear goes into the luggage first thing when packing, the one who checks out the gym upon arrival at your hotel, the one who must #eatclean no matter what, even when served the most delicious-looking street food.
And this is why this toilet finding app is for you — it comes with a urine colour chart to measure how (de)hydrated you are (which is kinda helpful but in a gross way). Yup, this one’s for the ultimate health/fitness freak, all right. Nearest Toilet also allows you to narrow down your options based on distance, and like every self-respecting toilet app, helps you navigate via Google Maps. You can even ask the app to recommend you a toilet, if making decisions is not your strong suit.
Take note, however, that this app is not exactly pretty — icons are pixelated — so if beauty is something you care about, give this one a miss.
Toilet Quest: For The Gullible Traveller
This app has a really ambitious tagline “The King of Toilets”. Clearly, it wants to do a lot — and make you believe that it can. But don’t be taken in because it does fall short of what it promises: in-app navigation isn’t very helpful; it simply offers you a red line leading from your current location to your selected bathroom, without any instructions. It’s also not hosted on Google Maps, which makes navigation a little hard to get used to. Basic map-reading skills is definitely recommended if you decide to use this one.
Bathroom Scout: For The Holiday-Maker Who Doesn’t Speak English
Unlike the previous apps, which function only in English, Bathroom Scout is a serious lifesaver for travellers who speak other languages like Mandarin or Spanish. Nothing is more painful than having an app that works but which you can’t use, so this is definitely a plus point for users.
The app also lets you choose if you’re navigating to a bathroom via car or on foot, which can be a big help if you’re on a road trip. You also have the option to view directions in a map app of your choice: I had both CityMapper and Google Maps downloaded, so I got to select my preferred one. Note, though, that when I opted to receive directions through CityMapper, it didn’t seem to work.