Tips for Traveling with ‘Aunt Flo’ • The Blonde Abroad
As you probably already know, one of my goals with The Blonde Abroad is to talk about the not-so-nice side of travel. This isn’t just about showing the glam side of globetrotting. I’m here to show it all!
I recently talked to you guys about why solo female travel isn’t safe and there’s another important topic I want to dig into: periods. While they are just a minor inconvenience at home, things can be more complicated when you are abroad.
Did you know that tampons are not readily available around the world? In fact, period supplies can be a downright nightmare to get your hands on in certain countries. To prevent drugstore shock and ease some of the pain, it’s best to know a few basics before you jet off.
Here are a few tips and tricks to traveling while on your period!
Finding Feminine Hygiene Products Abroad
If you are from North America, you’ll probably be a bit surprised by the tampon selection other parts of the world. While you can easily find tampons in Australia and Europe, they are probably a bit different from what you are used to—Americans are used to “plastic applicators” and some places only have “cardboard applicators,” or none at all.
In most places around the world, you will find that tampons with applicators are rare. If you’ve never used a non-applicator tampon plan ahead or be prepared to use one.
In Asia and the Middle East, tampons can be hard to come by. The aisles will mainly, if not exclusively, be filled with pads. Occasionally you can ask at the pharmacy for a tampon and they’ll have it behind the counter but there are no guarantees.
If you can’t deal with pads, I’d recommend packing an ample supply of tampons. Be sure to stash some in your carry-on in case your luggage is lost or you’ve got a connecting flight.
Useful Items to Pack for Your Period
Menstrual cups are a game-changer in the world of female travelers. These cool little cups can be reused for years and you just need one to be covered for your entire period.
If you’ve never used one, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy and clean they are. Just insert it then empty as needed. You can wear it up to 12 hours at a time. They are easy to clean and get ready for instant reuse.
Tip: While I’d highly recommend menstrual cups, try them before you go. Luna Cup, OrganiCup, and Saalt are some of the most popular brands. However, there is a range of options out there and you might find that one type is better than another for you!
Period panties are another must-try! Thinx is a really cool concept that can replace tampons or liners. Each pair of panties can hold up to four tampons’ worth. And don’t worry—it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a diaper.
Rural Places + Backpacking Trips
Traveling outside of the city and backpacking while on your period isn’t the most ideal of situations, but that shouldn’t stop us! A bit of extra prep will have you totally covered in even the most remote spots.
Before you go off the grid, pack some disposal essentials. To keep things hygienic, bring toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and plastic bags for storage (black bags are best for discretely tucking away used pads and tampons. Pet waste bags are a great option for this!)
Pain Management Options
TENS Unit + Heat
To avoid popping pain pills, I love options like the Livia Tens Unit Pain Reliever. This TENS machine sends tingling, massage-like sensations to the spot where the pads are applied to help relieve pain. It’s totally travel-friendly and easy to use anywhere, anytime.
Old school hot water bottles and heating packs are a dream as well when you’re dealing with period pain. While I love to cozy up with a hot water bottle at home, disposable heating patches are super handy on the road.
Herbal Remedy Option
Another one of my go-to fixes for period pain is Cramp Bark. I always recommend it to my lady friends on the go and get so much positive feedback.
I take the liquid extract, which works by adding 30 to 40 drops in water or juice. Just take it every 15 minutes until the cramps disappear (I usually find I need two to five doses in a day). If you prefer, there are tablet supplements available too.
Beware of period jet lag! Long-distance travel came completely throw your cycle out of whack. If you are changing times, your period can come at any time so it’s best to always be prepared.
Alright, ladies, now share your tricks! How do you deal when your time of the month comes around?