Travelling and periods never sound like they should mix. But unfortunately, they sometimes do. If you travel often or are on a long term trip, and have female reproductive organs, chances are at some point you will have to cope with a period when on a trip. And we all know how periods are the worst. Sometimes it feels like your womb hates you, doesn’t it? So, if the inevitable is going to happen, here are some tips for coping with periods when travelling.
Disclaimer: This IS NOT medical advice, just tips that I’ve come up with due to my own experience. Before taking any new medication or trying new things to deal with your period, please consult a medical professional.
1. Plan Around Your Menstrual Cycle
I know, I know, this can be easier said than done. Obviously, women can have regular periods, but as soon as you plan anything your womb tends to have other ideas…
Anyway, having a bit of foresight in the planning can help. For short term trips, you can work out what week you are likely to be on your period and travel during another week (for me this is far too much foresight). If, like me, you book something and then a month before realise you might be on there are ways to get around this. For instance, when I was on the pill I often skipped a period by putting two packets together. There is also medication that you can use to delay your period, but you will need to consult your doctor first. I too this once when I was young, but can’t remember much about it.
If you are travelling longterm, you probably don’t want to miss so many periods (I never did). So instead, plan what you are doing when your period is due. If you have a bad time with periods, consider having rest days set for when you are due and don’t book any activities that you think you won’t enjoy whilst your on. Don’t book any long bus rides or anything else that may affect your comfort levels.
A little bit of planning around your period, especially when travelling longterm can really help.
2. Have Good Menstrual Products
This one is a bit about personal choice and what you are comfortable with. If you want to stick to old fashioned disposable pads and tampons, make sure you take enough. If you are travelling longterm, you want to make sure you can get what you need in the countries you are visiting.
When I first travelled, I was using disposable products. Sometimes I had a bit of difficulty finding what I needed, so be sure to always be on the lookout and buy before you run out. I also found that different brands irritated, but I had to put up with what I could find.
Now I am using reusable products and definitely recommend these if you are travelling. My periods have actually become much easier to deal with nowadays. I use a Lily Cup Compact and Lunapads. The best part is that I don’t have to worry too much about what activities I do on my period, as they don’t have to be changed as often as disposable products. I have even scuba dived with my Lily Cup and done an overnight bus with the Lunapads.
Whatever products you use, ensure that you have them with you when you’re due your period. Nothing’s worse than coming on and realising you left your menstrual products in the hostel!
3. Have A Coping Pack
Whatever you use at home to cope with your periods, try to have that with you when you travel. If you normally use painkillers, take enough with you. Normally use essential oils? Take them on your travels.
Although, not everything is possible. You can’t exactly take a hot water bottle with you (or maybe you can, let me know if you have given this a go). But there are heat pads you can buy.
Another item you should make sure have with you is hand sanitizer. You don’t want to deal with the ickiness in some of the public toilets I have been in without being able to clean your hands first. Better safe than sorry on this one!
4. Have Comfy Clothing
Whatever you need for your period, have it with you when you travel. Comfy big knickers, baggy pants, loose tops. What you’d normally wear at home, have it ready for your periods when travelling.
This is especially true if you have been unable to avoid a long journey when you’re on. Let’s face it, long bus journeys aren’t comfortable at the best of times (and neither are flights for that matter).
Even when you’re travelling, it’s important to be comfortable, especially when you’re on your period.
5. Don’t Panic
If your period isn’t “normal” when you travel, don’t panic. Long haul flights, stress and time zones can all have an effect on your cycle. Hormonal changes can occur that can make you be late or even miss a period altogether. So don’t panic!
Obviously, if you’re on contraception this can be less of a worry. If you’re already regulating your period this way it’s less likely that your period will be affected when you travel. Though you need to be aware that flights can have extra risks for certain contraception if you’re worried, speak to your doctor.
6. Take Care Of Yourself
I’m guilty of letting my general health slip when I travel. I often forget to eat as I’m so distracted and sleep isn’t a top priority for me. But staying healthy on the road can help to ensure your periods are no worse than usual when you travel.
If you’re due your period when travelling, just ensure your usual self-care is there, or even take it up a notch. Make sure you get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, eat healthily. Maybe even do some morning exercise, such as stretching to get you set up for the day. Personally, I find keeping active helps me, but do whatever works for you.
Though on the other hand, if you don’t feel like eating healthy and exercising, don’t beat yourself up over it. Do whatever works best for you.
My main advice on how to cope with your periods when travelling is to do what you would normally do, especially if travelling longterm. Plan ahead if you can, have the right products and do your usual self-care. It’s not always a good situation, but can’t always be avoided, so don’t let your period ruin your travels.