Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Planning your travel by toilet: The National Public Toilet Map


Next week is our big move. We're moving from the city to the country, a 2 1/2 hour trip. Given that the most I've driven for the past few years is the 45 minutes into town for my specialist appointments, such a long trip is a cause for concern. One of the main reasons for stress is that I need a toilet, frequently.

My body does not like travel. Without fail it wants to expel fluids from one end or the other. I do tend to prepare for my trips by taking both Imodium and Desmopressin, in the hope I can last just a little longer. But frequently even these medications aren't up to the task. Something about the movement of the car sets my bowel and bladder into overdrive.

For a long time I have planned my short trips by toilet. I know where all my local public toilets are located, and which are more likely to be clean. I also have a list of clean toilets I can use on the routes to my specialist appointments in town. Having such a list alleviates some of the anxiety of travelling.

With this big move the worry about toilet availability during the trip has arisen again. Thank goodness for The National Public Toilet Map (NPTM), provided by the government through The National Continence Program.

This program has a listing of over 14,000 public and private toilets across Australia.

The NPTM is easy to use and can even be personalised. For example, you can specify a search for disabled toilets. And specifies open times (information regarding the MLAK program which allows 24hr access to toilet facilities for the disabled, can be found at the bottom of the post), listing of facilities and even if they are accessible directly by road.



You can easily pop in an address to find public toilets in your local area. I thought I knew all my local public toilets, but now have a total of 10 to pick from thanks to the search function.

The trip planning function is particularly handy. I simply typed in my starting suburb and destination and numerous options came up. Phew.


Look at all those lovely, anxiety reducing, markers.

You can go further into the application to see a more thorough listing of each marker. Including location, type of facilities and opening hours.


Clicking onto each entry takes you to a map of the area so you can find your way to the facilities.


And you are sorted.

I can't stress how much this decreases my anxiety about travelling. Whilst it wont alleviate many of my symptoms that arise with travel, plus the stress of moving to a new area, knowing that I can find a toilet if needed, rather than running behind a tree, or having to resign myself to using a bucket if there is naught but open fields on the road side, takes a huge weight off.

The NPTM is available for iPhone. Those of us on Android can bookmark the website on our phones, though hopefully an Android app will be provided.

Master Locksmith Access Key (MLAK)


The Master Locksmith Access Key or MLAK program allows people with a disability to access locked toilets, playgrounds and other facilities with a specific lock. These locks have been fitted to:

  • Elevators at railway stations. 
  • Accessible toilets in Council municipalities 
  • National parks.
  • Adaptive play equipment such as the Liberty Swing.
There is a fee involved (approx. $10) and access restricted to those with a disability, or those who have written confirmation by a doctor, disability organisation, community health centre, or the owner or manager of a site with an accessible toilet on the site. Keys can be accessed by contacting a Master Locksmith.

A listing of MLAK enabled facilities is provided by Spinal Cord Injuries Australia.

Tips

The Continence Foundation of Australia also has a list of handy Travel Tips, for travelling with any continence issues.

Personally, I always travel with a kit, part of which is a dedicated Toilet Kit. My Toilet Kit includes:
  • Toilet Paper
  • Sanitising wipes
  • A plastic bag
  • Change of underwear
  • Towel
  • Bucket
  • Imodium
  • Desmopressin
This kit has proved it's worth on many occasions.

Travelling when you have continence or frequency issues, either faecal or urinary, can be very stressful. I hope these tips can help alleviate some of that stress.

Similar toilet maps are available for many countries, and even some cities eg New York.

Cheers
Michelle :)

Wish me luck on our road trip.


Don't forget to check out my Clicking my Heels for Dysautonomia fundraising for The Greg Page Fund for Orthostatic Intolerance, and the Baker IDI. Nearly at $1,500 already!

4 comments:

  1. That is… amazing. Simply amazing. The sheer amount of WORK that must have gone into the creation of that map and the maintenance of it just astounds me. And WOW, must that really, really reduce your anxiety! I tend to get very dehydrated on trips because I avoid drinking liquids. They just run right through me, and that's awkward on a trip. (Especially on trips with others driving who don't know me or my conditions very well. I feel like SUCH a hassle!) Good on you for being proactive and making things just a little bit easier for yourself.

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