One of the mistakes I made the first time I travelled to India was to take the advice found on many blogs regarding taking toilet roll to India – What was I thinking ? Yes there were occasions where I needed some tissue for the bathroom but had to fish into my suitcase / rucksack for the messy unravelling loo roll. And how discreet was that ? Not. I learned from this and now make sure I pack lots of small packs of 12 tissues. They fit easily into pockets, rucksacks, daypacks bumbags and inside shoes and corners of your suitcase/backpack – and if you have them tucked away everywhere you are not going to have to be searching around for them. I did not encounter any squat toilets during my travels – all were flush toilets – but I did encounter the spray hose ( spray wash yourself clean) and also the jug ( to be filled with water and poured over yourself to clean).
Often there was also an option of loo roll but not always. I did use both the spray and jug methods – hygienic I guess but I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to dry myself afterwards – so still needed tissue. It is easier if wearing a skirt than trousers – I will have to research the logistics of using these methods a little better for my next visit! By the way – you are supposed to use your left hand for all toilet business – and your right for eating. Mostly there were hand washing facilities but again not always. I would recommend taking hand sanitising gel – I usually have a small one of these wherever I go even in UK. Although cheaper per ml to buy larger size bottles – again I would take several smaller bottles – I buy mine from Aldi – a small 50ml bottle is less than 50p. These again can be tucked into pockets, handbags, bumbags etc and if you have several you will always find one. For the journey home they are so cheap you can leave all but one bottle in India so that you have plenty of room to bring back all your favourite Indian souveniers. I will go into detail in a later blog about items to take and leave in India.
If you have a compromised immune system or you are working in an environment where a more professional hand sanitizer is required – or you just want to be extra careful , I would recommend Purell which comes with a handy lanyard to hang around your neck. I recently voluteered at Mother Terasa’s in Kolkata and used this system.