Find places where you can pee for a fee

WASHINGTON - It has been the ruin of many a pleasant outing: Nature calls, but there is nowhere to go.

Now, a new website is making it easier for tourists to get much-needed relief when travelling in an unfamiliar city or town.

The site, Airpnp, is modelled after the popular lodging website Airbnb, in which homeowners make their spare rooms or unoccupied dwellings available to paying lodgers for a fee - often considerably less than the cost of a hotel stay.

In a similar vein, users of Airpnp are matched with bars, restaurants, offices and homes where they can pay to use the loo, usually for a fee of US$5 (S$6.30) or less.

The idea was the brainchild of Max Gaudin and Travis Laurendine, two New Orleans natives - they call themselves "entrepeeneurs" - who have encountered the problem frequently over the years during that city's riotous Mardi Gras festivities.

Fat Tuesday celebrations in the southern United States city last week are marked by an abundance of drinking but too few places to relieve oneself.

The bathroom shortage prompts some revellers to resort to public urination, a criminal offence.

Airpnp solves that problem by connecting people willing to share the toilets in their private bathrooms with strangers willing to pay up to US$5 for the privilege.

"When there aren't enough bathrooms nearby for the amount of people in any given location, Airpnp is there to save the day," its website said.

Users can select from among pictures posted on the site, which also have descriptions of the amenities.

They are "able to rate their pee experience afterwards so others can see how each restroom stacks up", the Airpnp website said.

In addition to the site's dozens of loos in the US, most of which so far are concentrated in the New Orleans area, there are also about 120 bathrooms posted in Europe on Airpnp.

The site is available only on the Internet so far, although its founders say a smartphone app is in the works.