Periods can come when you least expect them. Aunt Flo can make traveling uncomfortable and inconvenient. Let’s just say, bleeding has never made camping or swimming fun for most females. Nobody wants to experience back pain or abdominal cramps while hiking or traveling.
Travel can alter your normal cycle, especially when traveling across different time zones. Long-haul traveling or changes in your routine can impact your menstrual cycle and period. It can affect your normal flow or bring your period earlier or later than expected.
Prepare for your travel on the period if you aren’t on the pill, which controls your cycle. You may have to pack period products to manage your flow when it starts.
The good news is, your period doesn’t have to get in the way of your travels or vacation. With a little more preparation, you can travel bravely and confidently without any leaks causing you worries.
Here’re a few tips to prepare for your travel, hit the road during your cycle and get through it:
How to Travel on Your Period with Lots of Comfort
1. Plan your travel around your period
You may have to plan your trip and important activities around your monthly periods. Keep your menses in mind when planning your trip and creating your itinerary.
However, you may have to travel only at a particular time or need to select an itinerary that works for all members of your travel group. Knowledge of your period dates can help you plan your travel dates and activities; guides when to embark on certain activities.
For example, if you intend to do an Inca Trail trek, you can schedule it for a time when you won’t be on your period.
2. Is skipping your period an option?
Use birth control pills to move your period around your trip or skip it altogether. If you’re on traditional pills, don’t take the placebo pills to temporarily skip your period.
Alternatively, install a new NuvaRing if you’re already using that system.
According to Mayo Clinic, skipping your period is safe unless your doctor doesn’t advise you to do so. Test this option before your travel because you may still experience some spotting. This would help you determine whether you’re comfortable with prolonged spotting or find it annoying.
IUD, usually implanted in the cervix, often results in no period at all. If you’re already using this birth control pill, you can expect no period during your travel.
However, skipping your period isn’t ideal for extended travels.
3. Pack a period kit
What options does your destination offer in regards to periods? Australia and some areas in Europe offer tampons without applicators. On the other hand, only a few Western stores in Asia stock tampons so you may find it hard to purchase these locally.
Knowledge of period products to expect at your destination can inform your packing list and ensure that you don’t end up using something you aren’t used to.
Some feminine sanitary materials to add to your packing list to ease your period while traveling include:
- Traditional pads and tampons – pack your favorite brand of conventional pads or tampons if you use them. The number of pads or tampons you pack depends on the length of your trip.
Two or three packs are enough for each cycle, depending on the intensity of your flow. If there’s need to pack light for your travel, consider other sanitary options.
- Reusable pads and panty liners – available in mini and maxi sizes, reusable pads are more eco-friendly. The pads are washable for reuse and lack the nasty chemicals used in regular pads.
Cotton is used to make reusable pads and panty liners due to its highly-absorbent property. Good brands can last up to 5 years. Menstrual cups and sea sponges are great alternatives because they’re organic and reusable.
- Menstrual cups – if you’re traveling for a long period, consider menstrual cups such as diva cups. They’re durable for long-term use. Insert the cups according to the instructions provided and use it for up to 12 hours before you remove it for emptying, washing and re-insertion.
Try out different brands before your travel to find one that’s more suitable for you. Learn how to wash and clean your menstrual cups outdoors to ease you period when traveling.
- Period underwear – reusable period panties are worn without the aid of pads or tampons. They’re made for different flow types to suit the needs of different women. The beauty of period panties is that you can wash them for reuse while on the road.
Period panties are also great for use in places or countries where disposing sanitary products can be problematic. Although most women wear these panties with tampons for backup or on lighter days, you can wear the right period panty alone.
Test your period panties before hitting the road.
Other items to include in you period kit are:
- Tissues or toilet paper
- Plastic bags for disposal
- Hand sanitizers
- Extra underwear
4. Options for period pain management
You can treat and manage period pain while traveling in many ways. Some options include:
- Medication – create a medical kit with painkillers to manage period pain. Paracetamol, ibuprofen or Midol are good options. Chamomile tea is a natural remedy with anti-inflammatory properties.
Antacids relieve bloating discomfort and sleeping aids and positions would be perfect for those sleepless nights. Add acne patches and skin-clearing masks to your kit for hormonal breakouts and a washcloth to dip in cold water; for placing on your pelvis or forehead.
Vitamin D is also useful.
- Exercise – take walks as you sightsee to ease pain.
- Nutritious food and water – eat well (fresh veggies and fruits or smoothies) and drink lots of water to keep your body hydrated. This will make you feel good.
- Heating pads (check out hand warmers and microwavable options), hot water bottles and patches – use them to ease pain on your back and abdomen, and muscle pain without taking medication.
- Spas, massages, saunas, and hot showers – these can relax your muscles and reduce discomfort when on your periods. A bath, spa or hot shower is also relaxing and relieves cramps. A sauna eases water-retention bloating.
- Disposable heat wraps – ease cramps.
- Essential oils and teas – oils are applied on temples, wrists and back to improve your mood and general wellbeing.
Exercise, sleep and good nutrition effectively manage period symptoms when traveling.
5. Wear comfortable clothing
Wear loose clothing when traveling on your period. Tight clothes get uncomfortable when traveling. Comfortable clothing allow your body to breathe when traveling. Some casual and comfortable period outfit clothing options include:
- Organic cotton culottes or jumpsuits;
- Loose fitting tops;
- Yoga pants;
- Comfortable shoes;
- Maxi dresses;
- Flowy dresses, pants or shorts;
- Oversized sweatshirts;
- Comfortable T-shirts.
6. Period swimwear
Do you intend to swim on your travel? Don’t let your period stop you because you can swim on it. You can swim with a tampon or menstrual cup on. Technology has also made it possible to swim in your stylish period swimwear.
Period swimwear are made discreet and 100% leak-proof to ensure your period doesn’t get in the way of your vacation. With your swimwear pad on, you can also snorkel, paddleboard or simply relax on the beach.
7. Eat fresh and unsalted foods
What you eat on your period is also important. Eat fresh vegetables, fruits and drink lots of water. Avoid alcohol, processed foods, inflammatory foods and drinks, and foods with high dairy, sugar, white grain, or salt content. Eating right soothes your menstrual to ease bloating or digestive pain.
Drink hot (decaffeinated) liquids, warm water, coconut water, and other hydrating drinks to relieve cramped muscles. They’ll also keep you hydrated and prevent water-retention bloating.
8. Pack on-the-go disposal bags
Some toilets lack sanitary bins for disposing your pads. Buy some biodegradable disposable bags to seal your used sanitary pads for disposal. Keep the sealed bag in your handbag or throw it in a dustbin as you deem necessary.
Change your tampons every 4 to 6 hours on long flights. Opt for a black bag to keep its content invisible.
9. Take walks every few hours on long flights or train rides
Walk every few hours in a train or plane to get your blood flowing. Make sure you don’t oversleep or wear a tampon for too long to prevent the Toxic Shock Syndrome.
10. Stay active
Workout, engage in some yoga exercises every morning or take walks to relax your muscles and keep your body energized for the trip.
Periods can be painful and uncomfortable, especially when you have to leave the comfort of your bed and home. But, with proper preparations, you can travel comfortably on your period and still have lots of fun.
Ranging from packing the right sanitary materials to staying active, you can travel with ease and comfort on your period.
BIO: Anna Williams has worked in aged care for over a decade and now enjoys writing for Zorbies and volunteering. She loves to cook hearty, homemade meals (with a special spot for Southern food!) and spends her weekends exploring local hiking trails with her 2 beloved pups.