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Will You Ever Get to Shower Again? Road Trip Hygiene



Yes. You will get to have showers even if you are doing a mainly off grid camping trip! And don't have a built out sprinter or RV. This guide will let you know all the places where you can score a shower on the road.


My main personal way around not getting to have as many regular showers is seeking out fresh water sources to jump in. I NEVER use any sort of product in fresh water sources, please don't do it. Small amounts of very gentle soap should only be used far away from water and over plain soil/gravel (not over plants). I simply go in and splash around, which really feels great and helps a lot!


When it comes to having a proper shower here are some places to find one;


Randomly While Driving, Watch For Signs

When I was driving across Canada a few I spotted showers because a gas station was advertising them. Sometimes they may have other conveniences like laundry as well. These are more likely to be found on the less populated stretches of driving, rather than city gas stations. They are non-big-brand stations that are realizing an extra market for themselves. You can probably expect to pay about $5 and may be timed but not usually. So be mentally prepared to stop unexpectedly for a shower sometimes!


Truck Stops/Traveller Stops

You'll know it because there will be a giant sign saying either "TRUCK STOP/TRAVELLER STOP". And it will be a large lot with tons of big rigs in it, but it is okay for every one to go there. They are just advertising they have parking for big rigs. These are usually closer to a main city/town. Showers here are likely to be $12-$15 plus gratuity for the attendant. From the couple I have seen you will likely feel like you're using a hotel bathroom, they are quite nice and come with fluffy towels. (Bring your own shampoo etc). If you're going to use this option be prepared for a fairly expensive shower. Time is unlimited and you get a completely sealed private room.


Marinas

Not a guarantee as it can be members only. But I've come across enough public bathrooms that have a shower stall that I feel like it's worth a mention/something to keep an eye out for. They will be coin operated, $2-$4 and timed, usually less than 5 minutes.


Gyms

You can't assume you can just walk in and use their facilities but a good chance they will let you if you ask. Either walk in and ask at reception (always offer to pay) or phone ahead if you don't want to risk the driving time for a no. They may charge you a couple bucks but also a good chance they'll just let you go. Keep in mind the showers are likely to be communal (no privacy).


Rec Centres

Generally the same concept as above. Maybe a higher yes rate since they can be more open to the public but also since they are such large facilities usually they may say no since it would be hard for them to keep track who went beyond the restroom. However you could just pay the fee to go swimming (and also go swimming!) or enjoy whatever other amenities they have. In the past I've called ahead and explained "I'm on a road trip/just driving through would it be ok to have a quick shower here?" You'll get that person's name and they will help you when you get there. Free - to swimming fee price depending on your negotiation. Unlimited shower time, but be courteous and go as quick as you can if they let you in for free. Again likely communal so bring a swim suit and shower shoes if you like.


Parks

Like the kind that have a ball field/concession/playground/beach. I was surprised how often I found a shower in this sort of place. They've always been free in my experience too! Check all the doors on any buildings in the park if there isn't a shower in the bathroom. I've found showers behind unmarked unlocked doors!



Beaches

Many beaches have outdoor showers. Possibly a proper indoor one. You'll definitely need a swimsuit for this one since you'll be out in public! I've never had a full shampoo/wash shower in one but good for a freshen up like the lakes in the beginning of this post. They will be free but also cold. It will be summer though I'm guessing ☀️


Campgrounds With Day Use

You may be able to ask at smaller campgrounds, I've been turned away in my experience because they've said it was a liability issue. The big campgrounds that have day use/are open to the public though will have showers accessible.


Laundry Mats

Not overly common. But a couple times I've stopped for laundry there was the bonus of finding out there was a shower too. It will be coin operated and timed. $2-$4 and less than 5 minutes.


National Parks

You'll have to have a park pass to be here which is often around $10-$12 for a day. There is not necessarily a shower in all parks, it's just worth keeping an eye out if you're already visiting anyway.


Being Prepared For Surprise Showers

At some point during my across Canada road trip I started to carry a mini travel towel, swim suit (in case communal), mini shampoo and coins in my backpack because too many times I would come across a shower while out walking around. They just surprise you sometimes where you find them! If you're away from your car and you find a free (not being used) one that's likely something you want to be able to jump on when it happens. Because it's like finding GOLD.


I'm not sure what the shower situation will be like post-covid, I haven't travelled on a long enough trip since 2019 to see if this all a go still. We'll all just have to try these options to find out if they still work!


For future trips I'm looking in to items like a portable gravity shower or a shower head type nozzle that goes on to a water bottle.


If you have any shower tips to add in the comments below you are more than welcome to do so, cheers!

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