I am in Belgium since almost 3 months now and I still cannot get used to the fact that you have to pay for most of the public restrooms. There are thousands of things I love about the city of Brussels. Only to name a few, the beer is delicious, strong and cheap, people are welcoming and funny and cafés are open after 3 am (which differs from Quebec where everything is dead after 3). It is a very nice place to stay BUT you have to pay to pee. Ok, let me get this straight, I am not miser, but I do have principles. For example, you cannot make me pay to go to the restroom if I bought something from you, for example in a bar (especially in a bar because they want you to buy beers and drinks which makes you need to go to the restrooms), in a restaurant or even in a train station. In fact, in most public restrooms, you have to pay. It’s not that expensive, but still if you have to pay 0,50 € each time, at the end of a trip, you could have saved up for a few more beers instead of paying to evacuate them… Because of that, I decided that during all my trip in Brussels I would NEVER pay to pee! Question of principle 😉 So I developed a few strategies that I want to share with you, if like me, you want to bypass paying.
- Hold it.
Seems obvious, but sometimes if you just can hold it for a few minutes, you can probably find another option you won’t need to pay for. For example, if you are planning to visit a museum, make sure to do what you need to do before you go out. Usually, they offer free restrooms. So wait till you find a museum or an attraction you need to pay anyway, most of the time, there are free restrooms. But not always! In those cases…
- Avoid eye contact with the restroom employee
It could seem rude, but if you avoid eye contact, they usually don’t ask you for the money. If they still do…
- If the toilet isn’t properly cleaned, you can refuse to pay
The fee you have to pay to use the toilet, is to keep it clean and filled with toilet paper. If there is no paper or it’s dirty, you’re in luck… well no you aren’t but at least you have a good reason not to pay! And plan ahead, always have a tissue in your bag or pockets, that way, you are never screwed!
- Speak another language, fake to misunderstand
Sometimes it’s the best way when they really want to make you pay. Fake to speak another language and go in there anyway! Maybe they will try to make you pay after but… too late for that! Just run!
- If there is no employee guarding the doors
In that case, the door probably unlocks after you’ve put a coin in a mechanism. Sometimes, you can be in luck, and someone left the door cracked. If it’s the case, make sure that when you leave, do not close the door entirely to allow that luck to someone else 😉 I hope those few tricks can make you save a few euros during your trips! And you, do you have other tricks?
Thanks Marianne! Personally, i’ll definitely be using those tricks, since paying for the restrooms seems to be very common in Europe! Comments are always appreciated! x, K