If there is one thing worse than a long trip, it’s having your period arrive just before you board the plane or bus. Or worse, unexpectedly while you are five hours in and you have no sanitary protection or means of buying any.
Traveling during a period is no laughing matter. You already feel out of sorts, tired, and grubby, so times that by fifty and you are halfway there. Some women deliberately avoid having their period when they are due to travel, usually by means of a contraceptive pill. But if you can’t or won’t do that, here are some tips to get you through the trip.
First things First
Be aware that travel can upset your menstrual cycle. There are lots of reasons for this. Firstly, the stress and jet lag can upset your endocrine system. Secondly, a change of diet can have a knock-on effect. You may find your period disappears for a few days, or it might go AWOL for several weeks or months if you are on a long-term trip. Try not to be too concerned. Things will settle down when you return home.
Pack a Period Survival Pack
Whether your period is due or not, it is sensible to have a survival pack in your carry-on luggage, just in case. You might not need it, but if your period arrives a day early, you’ll thank us!
Have a pack of wet-wipes, some emergency sanitary products (if you use tampons and pads), and a spare set of underwear in case of catastrophic leaks. Don’t forget to throw in a zip-lock bag for dirty laundry.
Planes, Trains, and Buses
Flying or traveling by bus or train can be tricky if you are in mid-flow. There may be toilets you can use, but hygiene won’t be great and don’t expect any toilet tissue or hand-soap. This is where your travel pack will come in handy. Don’t forget to use some hand sanitizer, too.
Make sure you are wearing comfy clothing when you travel. Give the skinny white jeans a miss, just in case. Stick to dark colored pants in case you have any leaks.
Choose the Right Period Products
If you have yet to try a menstrual cup, you have been missing out. Menstrual cups are ideal for travel. Unlike a tampon or sanitary pad, you don’t need to worry about changing a menstrual cup every four hours. It is safe to leave a menstrual cup in place for around eight hours. Waste disposal is not a problem, as you can empty the contents of a menstrual cup down the toilet, or even in a hole in the ground (if you are camping). As long as you remember to wash/wipe/sanitize your hands, you are good to go.
Using a menstrual cup takes a bit of practice, so it is wise to buy one well before you travel. Once you get the hang of using a menstrual cup, you won’t even notice it’s there. Most women find menstrual cups very comfortable once they get the hang of inserting them. And the best bit? No leaks!
Period panties are another option worth considering. Period panties look like regular underwear, but they absorb menstrual flow and prevent leaks. If you are a Paranoid Pam, combine a menstrual cup or tampon with a pair of period panties. This should put your mind at rest.
Period Pain Relief
Periods can be painful. Cramps and backache are no fun when you are stuck on a rickety bus for six hours. Always pack some pain relief medication if you think your period might make a guest appearance. Over-the-counter medication is best, as it is less likely to cause any hiccups when you pass through airport security.
Try and get some sleep if your period is causing you discomfort. Some people swear by lavender oil if they are suffering from menstrual cramps. Put a few drops of lavender oil on a travel pillow and let it soothe your pain. Lavender oil can also help you out if you end up with a yeast infection, which is good to know!
Don’t let periods ruin your travel adventures. With a bit of preparation, you are free to travel the world!