When you are on a road trip and have to go to the bathroom,

do what I do.

Skip the sketchy gas stations (there is nothing more disgusting than a truck stop bathroom, and I am guessing you don’t own a hazmat suit)…

Avoid coffee shops (so much pressure to purchase a drink!  And perhaps a muffin or other carb-filled treat!  EVIL!)…

I recommend that you look for a hotel.

Your best bet is a franchise hotel…..but any hotel is fine as long as it has conference or meeting rooms.  You need to find a good balance….big enough to have group bookings but not so expensive that you will feel out of place walking in there all road-trip grungy.

First tip: if several people in your group all have to go to the bathroom at the same time, enter the hotel in phases…..a large group coming in but NOT checking in will arouse suspicion.

Second tip: Clean yourself up a bit.  You want to look as if you are either staying at this hotel or could stay at this hotel….not that you just spent the last 45 days living in the back country and foraging for grubs.

Third tip: Decide whether you will walk in there with purpose or “distracted”.  Either way, you want to walk in the front doors confidently and not making eye contact with the front desk staff.  Walk in pretending to be texting or on your phone…or just walk in with head held high, as if you know exactly where you are going.

Fourth tip: Very quickly scan the hotel lobby for signs directing you to where the meeting/conference rooms are.  If you don’t see the sign right away, stop and “text” or “take a call” or “root through your purse for something”….all the while glancing up to look for some sign directing you to where you want to go.  When you see it, go in that direction.

NOTE: If anyone stops you (it is best if you choose a hotel that doesn’t have valet service, baggage porters or other “helpful” staff lingering about)…say you were looking for the meeting rooms because you are looking for a potential location for an upcoming work meeting / wedding / small event.  You don’t want a full tour, just say you were passing by and wanted to take a “peek” at the facility.  If you fail in this area, you might end up with someone offering to give you a full tour or a spiel including wedding packages.  Go with it…..try not to pee your pants…..and ask to check out the facilities (you want to use them and see how clean they are for your guests).  If you do run into someone eager, say you are in a rush but will take their card.

Fifth tip: Be respectful and clean.  The reason truck stop and gas station bathrooms are so gross are because people don’t give a damn.  You are in a hotel.  Use their nice facilities, then make sure you leave them clean and tidy…just like you found them.

The thing is, hotel public bathrooms are often larger, very clean and rarely locked.  They are cleaned regularly and on most occasions they are pretty vacant (unless you are there during a major conference or the evening of a wedding).  You will feel safe using them and letting your kids use them.

Sixth tip: Don’t linger in the hotel.  You are not a paying guest.  Don’t take anything they might offer free to guests, like newspapers, coffee or even toiletries.  It is bad enough you are using them….the least you can do is make sure the bathroom remains clean and that you don’t steal from them something you are not entitled to!

This is one of my most valuable pieces of wisdom.  Once you try this, you will never ever go back to your old ways.

And really, you shouldn’t.

I would rather pee outside.