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Restrooms on RS Tours (Best of Italy)

I have mild-to-moderate chronic bladder pain that has not responded well to medication. Drinking lots of water not only keeps me hydrated but also helps with the pain, as long as I am able to use the bathroom (restroom).

In your experience, does the tour guide periodically point out such places? I recall a RS staff person saying that some of the buses have restrooms, others not...

Posted by
1091 posts

Hi,

I've been on 2 RS tours and there were no bathrooms on the bus. However, the bus stops about every 2 hours at a place where you can stretch your legs and use the facilities. I hope this helps.

Mary

Posted by
299 posts

Thanks for sharing your experience. I will have to not drink as much water as I do at home...I figured that every so often the driver would want to stop and let people respond to the call of Nature.

Posted by
3446 posts

We've been on half a dozen RS tours (including Best of Italy) and all the busses had bathrooms but they were rarely used since there were stops fairly often. I think that might not be the case in Spain, but I'm not positive.

Posted by
672 posts

Denny,
I've been on 21 RS tours. Most, but not all, of the buses have had a bathroom, but we were asked to save it for emergencies. There would be no problem with you using them. Buses do stop every couple hours by law and it's always at a place with bathrooms. I've found that the guides are very conscious of restroom needs when we're out and about. I would suggest that you discuss this with your guide at the beginning of the tour as your health and comfort are important factors in enjoying the tour. This is just part of the job of a guide.

Posted by
419 posts

There isn't a bus in this world ( that I can think of) that has a bathroom, rest room.. Some have toilets which is what we are really looking for, right?
Why is it that many Americans, perhaps others as well, find it so difficult to use the word "toilet?"
I have found in my travels that if you ask for the bathroom, you are greeted with a blank stare. Ask for the toilet or the WC (Vayztay) and off you go.
As far as your question goes, Denny, I have only been on one Rick Steves tour with a daughter and granddaughter and there were frequent rest stops. I don't recall anyone being in distress.
Hope this helps.

Posted by
2786 posts

I have been on 12 RS Tours, soon to be #13 (Bulgaria) and 99% of the busses have had a toilet but it was explained at the beginning of each tour that it was to be used only for emergencies as the bus would be stopping every two hours (+/-) for a rest stop. Only time I saw one used was last summer in Greece when a person who had picked the wrong type of tour went and use the toilet right after we started out the first of second morning without asking anyone. Come to find out, the bus driver had stored all of his belongings in the toilet as he was relocating. Bad karma that extended too long. I get up every two hours to use a toilet due to a medication I take and I have never had a problem lasting from stop to stop. I do practice "holding it" for some period of time before the tour begins which seems to help. I think that if you do not dwell on those needs, you just might be more successful. Happy travels.

Posted by
299 posts

I think I could "manage" if I strictly used the bathroom (toilet) right before the beginning of the day's bus trip and then at each 2-hour interval. And sipped small amounts of water during the two-hours rather than gulp a liter down at once (which I can do). I'm not sure what would constitute a "real emergency" other than particular discomfort.

Posted by
1552 posts

Isn't one of RS's travel mottos, "never pass up a toilet break"? Even on the city walking tours, the guide for Heart of Italy made sure there were breaks and would point out the W.C. You'll never be the only one looking.

Posted by
299 posts

Thanks! I've been feeling kind of "stupid" for asking this question.

Posted by
644 posts

I kind of wish the guides would lighten up on the emergency only toilet use advisory. Without getting into details, I really needed to use the toilet within minutes after we left the hotel after something I ate got the best of me. Rather than trying to self-determine whether I had an "emergency" or not, I toughed it out for the next hour and a half until we got to a stop. Not a pleasant experience but I made it.

The company does an excellent job of scheduling breaks every two hours. So it's rarely an issue. But occasionally it is. It would be nice to not have to feel like something of a pariah for using the toilet on the bus when those rare occasions occur.

My $0.02

Posted by
796 posts

Denny, when starting the tour, let your guide and the driver know of your medical condition and that they might need to stop in case you are in pain. You should not have to suffer pain and also, with your condition, trying to suffer in silence can lead to bladder infection which can lead to kidney infections that can cause the loss of a kidney. I have a similar problem and could make a directory of where toilets are in 100 countries! We don't go on tours other than short day tours in various places but it pays to let your guide and driver know in advance rather than trying to explain during an emergency.

Posted by
8063 posts

I'm not an expert by any means, but I've been told that the reason most bus/coach drivers want to minimize the use of the coach toilet is because the drivers have to clean them. They love driving, but cleaning toilets? Not so much. I also had a long chat with a coach driver in Wales on a non-RS multi day tour who said the holding tanks are small and he could not dump it until he got back to his home base. Therefore if anyone used it for anything other than urine it would make the coach smelly. Someone on that tour did and yes, it was smelly and not just after the big moment. (RS tour guide in Paris giving us a lesson on what to do and what not to do when using the public sanitizing toilets which replaced the pissoirs said she and her friends in college used that term. Thank goodness for those audio systems because she had us cracking up!)

Denny, I agree that you should just pull your guide aside early on in your tour and just let him/her know your needs. Usually after the initial introduction/meet-up you will have a few minutes to chat with the guide about special needs. People often use this time to let the guide know if they have special dietary needs/allergies and for other things.

You are getting close aren't you? I know you will have a wonderful time!

Posted by
419 posts

Norma--I'm not quite sure how to answer your question because I don't know if you're joking or asking a serious question. and I don't want to look like an idiot.
The W is translated as vay and the C as tsay.

Posted by
8293 posts

No. The letter W in French is pronounced "double-vay". If you say "vay" that is the letter V. W is made of two Vs, therefore "double V". I only mention it because if you use your pronunciation you are asking for the VC, not the WC.

Posted by
419 posts

I see where the confusion comes in. I was doing German pronunciation. In German the letter V is fau, the letter W is vay--a VW car is a fauvay.. Thanks for chiming in--always good to hear what others think.

Posted by
11246 posts

One point to emphasize that was mentioned above: whatever you're used to calling it, in Europe you want to ask for a "toilet" to be sure of getting what you want. Even though that sounds "coarse" to me, it's how it's done, so you have to get used to it. If you ask for a "bathroom" or "washroom" or "restroom" or any of the other North American terms, you genuinely might not be understood.

Posted by
8293 posts

So, Denny, in Italian you would ask: Dov'è il gabinetto, per favore OR Dov'è la toiletta, per favore, or if that's too much to contemplate, put on a questioning expression and just say "Toiletta ?" and then "Grazie"

Posted by
299 posts

Denny, I agree that you should just pull your guide aside early on in your tour and just let him/her know your needs. Usually after the initial introduction/meet-up you will have a few minutes to chat with the guide about special needs. People often use this time to let the guide know if they have special dietary needs/allergies and for other things.
You are getting close aren't you? I know you will have a wonderful time!

Pam,

I'm leaving next Wednesday! Time seems to be accelerating fast! I'll undoubtedly feeling at least a little vertiginous as the time approaches very close.

Thanks for that bit of advice about talking to the guide early on in the tour. Because of my, I'll be frank, unresolved bladder issues, urinating even when I don't have a full bladder relieves the discomfort considerably. I don't think I'd probably fill up a whole tank, and, hopefully, not make the bus malodorous.

Denny

Posted by
299 posts

So, Denny, in Italian you would ask: Dov'è il gabinetto, per favore OR Dov'è la toiletta, per favore, or if that's too much to contemplate, put on a questioning expression and just say "Toiletta ?" and then "Grazie."

Norma,
I am assuming you know French, could I simply say--it'd be much easier--in French:

"Je cherche le WC....pourriez-vous me dire ou le trouver? Grazie."

But "Toiletta?" (with questioning look) and then "Grazie" I should be able to remember as well.

It's just that the French--a full sentence--sounds more polite.

Posted by
2258 posts

Well Denny, the French phrase seems polite and even elegant, but I trust your primary goal here would be to find the darn toilet as quickly as possible, not to be either polite nor elegant. "Toiletta?" or just "Toilet please?" would meet your need, while speaking French would likely just confuse the matter and delay your quest. I do believe that more people in Italy will speak either English or maybe some German than will speak French. In some public places you may need to pay half a euro or so to use the WC, not usually true in museums. In small businesses, like restaurants and stores, the WC is often for customers only, which is why one of my mottoes in Italy is: "When you need a bathroom, go into a gelateria, order a gelato and pay for it, then ask to use the bathroom, then pick up your gelato on the way out. Then, enjoy the gelato!"

Posted by
8293 posts

If you really want to use French for whatever reason, say, "Pardon, ou se trouve la toilette, s'il vous plâit?"

Posted by
299 posts

If you really want to use French for whatever reason, say, "Pardon, ou se trouve la toilette, s'il vous plâit?"

Thank you for the correction, Norma. I was thinking too literally in English and forgetting the necessity of adhering to the forms of politesse in French.

Posted by
299 posts

In small businesses, like restaurants and stores, the WC is often for customers only, which is why one of my mottoes in Italy is: "When you need a bathroom, go into a gelateria, order a gelato and pay for it, then ask to use the bathroom, then pick up your gelato on the way out. Then, enjoy the gelato!"

Thanks, Larry, for the suggestion. I was stumping hard my brain for an alternative to gulping down an espresso and not coming up with an alternative way of using a WC at a private business.

Posted by
9324 posts

I'd like to chime in on the "emergency" toilet since I used to have to give that speech.

Pam was correct. Driver's cannot empty the holding tanks at every stop. Sometimes it's days. So, we ask that passengers only use it in an emergency.

As for the odor, that's why the speech is given. However, there is a way to mask it....motor oil. Pour some motor oil into the toilet and it will cover up the smell. A driver taught me that after a passenger had to
"use it" in an emergency.

Posted by
25120 posts

So, Frank II, you and your driver were intentionally polluting a sewage treatment plant (where all that black water goes after it has been drained from the tank at a government run tank drain) with motor oil?

That's a bit naughty....

Posted by
507 posts

Denny,
I recently returned from a non-RS trip that included Portugal, Spain, & France, primarily Spain. Our guide told us as the bus left the Lisbon airport the law states Bus drivers must stop every two (2) hours which our driver abided by. Our bus did not have toilets. The bus was similar to a city bus here in the USA, only with seat belts & bins above our heads.

Incontinence pads are great for people like us to get from point A to the rest stop with peace of mind.

I wish you a good travel experience.

Posted by
4359 posts

And to beat this fine point to death ;-) My French instructors (from France) all taught that 'WC' translated to 'VC' when pronouncing it, so it's 'vay-say’.

...but...I go (no pun intended) with 'toilette'? ('twah-let'?) Works from Paris to Munich to Rome to Prague.

Now if you'll excuse me...

Posted by
507 posts

I have gotten by with a smile & "Pardone, Madame/Señora toilet?"

If one knows the language, terrific! If one does not, keep it simple!

Posted by
658 posts

I can confirm that while Norma is literally correct in how to pronounce those letters, it is customarily shortened to "vay say" when speaking the French language. "Ou sont les toilettes" obviously works too. Just my two cents. Hopefully that can help if anyone is asking for the bathroom.

While I've had a bathroom on the bus for each of my tours, other posters are correct that this is not always the case and the bus typically stops every two hours for bathroom breaks.

Posted by
340 posts

I believe the 2 hour max driving time is correct.

But.... even the best drivers can get stuck in rush hour, or stopped for a long time due to an accident.

So...

Take advantage of modern, clean toilets whenever you can.

Posted by
5515 posts

While I know that Denny is currently enjoying (or not) the WC, Toilet, Bathroom, restroom, Loo, whatever, I still have to post about my experience on the Berlin Prague and Vienna tour. Christoph, our guide explained early on to all of us about the need to ALWAYS take advantage of the WC, toilette etc whenever it was offered. We also discussed and became familiar with the Pay to Pee facilities--shortened to P2P. :) And by the end of our ten day trip we were all well synchronized.

Pam