There were plenty of rest stops when the dogs and I drove west through Iowa and Nebraska on our road trip back to Seattle from Buffalo. However, not one of those rest stops had enough shade for me to safely leave the dogs alone in the car to go to the bathroom on a ninety degree day. There were absolutely no rest stops as I slogged through an over one hundred degree day of driving towards Phoenix with three dogs and a cockatoo. Even though it seemed I was in the middle of nowhere, I learned from many road trips with my dad and grandfather that even men shouldn't just randomly unzip when being a polite, law abiding visitor. Pet friendly Mather Campground at the Grand Canyon National Park had clean, convenient restrooms but pets are not allowed in National Park buildings nor could they be left unattended at the campsite. What does a solo traveler with pets do when nature calls? I don't mean the pets. I always have bags and supplies to clean up after them. I mean, what happens when a lone human has gotta go but there are pets in tow? The pets can't be left alone if it is too hot, cold, unsafe or illegal. A human can't hold it for an entire pet friendly road trip or camping excursion. There is one easy and convenient item to bring on pet friendly solo travel that keeps humans comfortable and pets safe. I always carry my own travel toilet.
The idea for pet friendly road trips and camping with a portable toilet might have come from living in a van during summers as a child, traveling the country with my parents, brother and two dogs. My mom and dad always had a camp toilet stowed away for road side "emergencies." The toilet I have takes up even less space and has saved me from the horrors of having to leave my pets alone in any unsafe conditions when I have to go. I can conveniently use my toilet at my campsite to avoid breaking no pets unattended campground rules, worrying about the pets being stolen or risking the pets annoying neighbors while I am out. Of course, whipping out a travel toilet in a campground, rest area or on the side of the road may not be for everyone, but neither is solo travel with pets. The safety of my pets matters more to me than modesty. Wait. I am making it sound like I just sit down and go out in the open. Getting in trouble for indecent exposure or public urination wouldn't be very safe for my pets either. No. I set the toilet up in the van or outside of the car with a quick do-it-yourself hide attached to the car door. This still might not be a solo pet travel bathroom solution for everyone but it is a safe for the pets and good for the human solution to bathroom breaks to consider when traveling alone with pets.