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While there are plenty of questions on SE Travel like Where to shower in X or Y I wasn't able to find a common approach to finding cheap or free public showers. For example, how do long-haul truckers usually make shower in Europe?

I do know about WarmShowers community, but it seems that they accept only cyclists which is not the case for me. Let's take the common case any traveler faced in his life:

  1. You are a single traveler
  2. You are making a layover or short stop in some city, airport or bus station
  3. You have a fair amount of time (3-4 hours)
  4. You do not intend to book any hotel in that city.
  5. You are just looking for a shower.

Is there any decent strategy I can use in any European country to find a public shower? If someone can share some strategy concerning worldwide, you are welcome, while I doubt there will be any common features in such diverse communities like Czech and Japan, for example.

P.S. By word cheap I mean €5-10 max.

UPDATE: as there were plenty of swimming pools suggestions, I can accept such option, however, it's preferable to give a detailed answer. Not just go to swimming pool, but a map of swimming pools which can be filtered by price, for example.

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    I don't know about Europe, but in the US, truckers normally shower at truck stops - large fuel stations that provide a variety of services to truckers including showers. For example this. It's not so practical for your hypothetical traveler: Truck stops are usually in rural areas where land is cheap, far from any city center and reachable only by car. And as in the link, they're priced to be attractive only to truckers: $13 normally, but free with purchase of 50 gallons of diesel. – Nate Eldredge Jun 9 '17 at 14:23
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    There are apps for truck drivers, where you can filter for shower etc. Lacking any personal experience, here are three I found through Google: truckparkingeurope.com - infinum.co/client-work/truck-parking-europe - androidmapsnavigationapps.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/… – user24582 Jun 9 '17 at 19:40
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    Could you explain why you are excluding public swimming pools? – chirlu Jun 16 '17 at 21:49
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    It depends. Large water worlds with many different pools, hot tubs, a sea pool (including artificial waves), slides etc. may well be that expensive, but a simple pool is more like € 3 to € 4. There sometimes are time-limited tickets at a discount, too. – chirlu Jun 17 '17 at 8:44
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    In Muslim countries, mosques have washing facilities. Not usually showers (although some do), but to wash. I cycled across the Middle East, camping, and frequently washed at mosques. This is marginally applicable to Europe (there are actually mosques and indeed majority Muslim countries in Europe) but adding it as you said you were open to "worldwide" suggestions. Additionally, in SE Asia, many regular bathrooms like you find in a cafe have showers, in the bathroom, the two rooms are not distinct. It's common that regular public toilets have showers, often right in the stall with the toilet. – Ivan McA Oct 13 '17 at 5:10
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  • Airports often offer showers (Airport Toulouse e.g. for free, nobody asks you for your flight or whatever);
  • lots of gas stations / truck stops on the motorway (usually they are a bit hidden, but for free then :) )
  • In case you will pass the coast: almost all marinas offer warm showers for 50ct
  • campsites. Just walk inside with your towel and bath stuff. Especially in the high saison they don't have an actual overview of who's from the campground or not. As long as you are not staying overnight, nobody will bother you.
  • hostels. Make some friends, take a shower, say goodbye.
  • gyms. Every gym has a shower, some even have a sauna. Most of gyms check, who enters. If you are on a long trip and prefer traveling through cities, it might be sensible to invest in a membership of a low-budget-gym-chain (e.g. McFIT in Germany)
  • I am very skeptical about hotel option, often hotels have only shared shower for 8 rooms and it's quite hard to make friends having only 3 hours of time:) But the idea of McFIT is very fresh and useful. I checked the prices and their membership fee is only 20€ which is very tolerate and can be afforded by any traveler. – Suncatcher Oct 13 '17 at 4:39
  • Campsites, marinas and gas stations are sort of irrelevant for me as the question was presumably about city experience. Do city gas stations allow shower for free (or for a small fee) or only on autobahns? Do they have showers at all? – Suncatcher Oct 13 '17 at 4:44
  • @Suncatcher please note, these sort of gyms that offer cheap options come with annual subscriptions, for short-term subscriptions you need to pay way more (if possible at all); - however, most of them also offer a free trial period (e.g: McFit allows you to train 2 sessions per year without registration -> link). – Hatef Oct 13 '17 at 8:14
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    @Suncatcher Hostel and marinas worked for me. Depends how you arrive at the city you usually travel together with other travellers in a bus/plane etc. And some of them stay in hostels :) Cities at the coast almost always offer a marina with showers from 50ct. Gas stations usually have their shower on highways, but especially in the outskirts of bigger cities you will find some truck parkings with showers and gas stations around. The "truck parking europe"-app, mentioned above, is great to check this out. – rüdiger Oct 14 '17 at 15:47
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EDIT: Just noticed you said you don't intend to go to a swimming pool but that is my first suggestion. You don't have to swim or anything to use the facilities, only pay the entrance fee. This is probably the cheapest and most common shower facility but I have other suggestions too:

For Europe, I would go towards water. Pools are quite common to find and the entrance fee is cheap. I have never seen one which did not have showers available. Spas in Hungary have showers and some charge very little for a stay under 3 hours (you often pay for the day and get money back when you get out under a certain amount of time). Iceland has thermal baths in nearly every town and have shower. Except for the large tourist ones such as the Blue Lagoon, entrance is not expensive.

Next place would be along beaches. Some offer only outdoor showers which is obviously not ideal to fully wash but ones in built-up areas sometimes have small service locals with private showers and lockers.

One idea that comes to mind is to go to a gym. I have never tried one in Europe but in many places they can sell you a day pass for the equivalent of a few dollars. They may even have a free pass for first-time visitors.

  • SPAs seem to me more expensive than regular pools, a place which is more like beauty salon which is opposite to word budget. And do SPAs allow using their shower without ordering services? – Suncatcher Jun 9 '17 at 15:21
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    @Suncatcher - That really depends and, there are spas as you describe that are for expensive beauty treatments mostly but in Eastern Europe, spas are often huge complexes with where you can go in for very little with showers, steam rooms, jacuzzis and pools being included in the basic fee. You then can pay for additional services such as massages and treatments but these are optional. Many people use these places just to hang out, like the thermal baths in Iceland. – Itai Jun 9 '17 at 15:30
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    Some main railway stations have showers. I would start looking in the main toilets area, asking the staff if there are no signs to be seen from the outside. – Willeke Jun 9 '17 at 20:18
  • @Willeke, ok will examine this option. The difficulty here is that there is no common database which lists stations with showers. And no common approach. – Suncatcher Jun 13 '17 at 6:11
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    In the past you could find showers in stations when reading guidebooks like the InterRail travel guide. Maybe you can now find them through an internet search. – Willeke Jun 13 '17 at 15:04
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If you have a (rental) car, a good option would be to go to a large fuel station along the highway. That is where truckers shower. I've never used one, but according to a Dutch truckers forum it costed a few euros back in 2011 (they actually complained about euro 3,50 being absurd). This price was mentioned for Germany, France and Italy, so will probably be the same in the Eurozone. Prices will have gone up in the last 6 years, but inflation in the Eurozone has been very low, so expect to pay less than 5 euros now.

EDIT: Hitchwiki confirms this for Germany:

There are showers in most Raststätte and Autohof service stations on and near the autobahn. Prices are between 2 euro and 5 euro.

  • Cool, if it's true. – Suncatcher Jun 17 '17 at 8:04
  • @Suncatcher Why do you have doubts? – RHA Jun 17 '17 at 8:40
  • Dunno) I am always over-pessimistic. – Suncatcher Jun 17 '17 at 10:54
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    @Suncatcher Well, the showers exist, I'm for sure. And about the prices, if they were to expensive, truckers wouldn't use them. – RHA Jun 18 '17 at 7:24
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In Paris and a few other cities, you have public bains-douches (baths and showers), intended for people living in apartments/rooms without a bathroom and homeless people. You tend to find them in small streets in low(er)-income neighbourhoods, you can find a map for Paris (where they're now free) here.

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I'd suggest Total Service Stations. The ones on the main highways have shower options for long haul truckies. You pay 2 euro for a hot shower. I'd recommend plotting one on your GPS then checking it has shower facilities on its correlating website (as the ones closer to town are either self service or regular stations). We've done it in Belgium, France and Italy.

  • The problem here is that rare traveler use highways for transportation, unless he is a hitchhiker. Usually we change stops in airports, bus stations, railway stations. Sort of irrelevant for my question. – Suncatcher Jul 17 '18 at 13:25

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