Ahhh, vacation — sand and sun, foreign adventures, camping in the deep woods — no matter what flavor holiday you favor, your period is never a welcome travel companion. Still, if tickets have been purchased and reservations can’t be changed, being ready for the challenge can keep your period from budging in on your fun.
First, you may want to consider postponing your period. Of course, this is only an option for that group of people that plans a vacation well in advance, as well as those having a dependable, regular cycle. If you are using Combined Hormone Contraceptives (CHC) this might work for you. Put a call in to your doctor if you’d like to explore this option.
If banning the blood over your vacay is not an option, take the time to make sure you’re covered, both for your own comfort and for your health. Use the guidelines below as your checklist:
- Products – If you’re going far from home, your usual menstrual products may not be readily available. Avoid having to waste time hunting around, as well as the risk of a sensitivity to something in an unknown product by having a sufficient stash on hand. Equally frustrating can be the potentially exorbitant prices charged in some areas for these same goods.
- Hygiene – While you certainly wouldn’t walk around dirty anywhere, proper hygiene while menstruating is extremely important. Make sure you’ll have ample water available to wash, as well as a decent supply of clean underwear in case of complications in getting laundry done. Depending on the situation in the country you’re visiting, consider carrying tissues and hand sanitizer as well.
- Medication – Many medications can be used to treat menstrual cramps. Make sure you bring along your trusty supply in sufficient quantities to keep you covered. If you take a prescription painkiller, bring a letter from your doctor detailing your diagnosis, as taking chances with border control staff is a risky affair. If you are wondering which pharmaceuticals may be an issue, read up to be sure.
- Water – Water is vital, not only for keeping clean, but also for keeping you feeling your best. Staying hydrated reduces bloating, allowing you to both feel better and look great in all those selfies you’ll be taking. Additionally, plane travel is dehydrating, so strategize a water plan that works for you.
- Exercise – Yes, even if you’re planning on just lounging on the beach, allocate time to move around, because light exercise can lessen the pain of menstrual cramps. Remember this when booking your flight and try to finagle an aisle seat, both to get moving and to reach the bathroom often enough to change your pad or tampon, keeping you clean and to avoiding uncomfortable leakage.
- Dispose – Finding a trash can in every public toilet isn’t a given in all countries. Take small plastic bags with you, as you will likely find yourself needing to search out a proper place to dispose of soiled pads or tampons. These bags will also come in handy when dealing with soiled underwear or other clothing.
- Heat – If using heat helps calm your pain, pack a hot water bottle into your luggage. Even if this item isn’t hard to come by at your destination, who wants to use vacation time to hunt one down? Hot water, especially when it doesn’t need to be potable, is rarely difficult to come by.
Last but foremost, and therefor deserving a separate section, bolded here below, HAVE FUN! Managing menstruation on vacation likely wasn’t your first choice but getting away doesn’t happen every day. Be prepared, set your mind onto positivity mode and ENJOY.