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Going with The Flow: How To Travel When Mother Nature Strikes
Written by: Brittany Vickers
Ladies, we’ve all been there. Have you ever been excited to finally take that much-needed vacation until, like clockwork, you realize your period is squeezing its way into your carry-on? Or maybe you’re three days into your East African vacation and Aunt Flo decides she also wants a change of scenery? You may already have a routine and favorite products but when you’re traveling, those plans can be derailed when you’re constantly on-the-go or at a destination where sanitary products and bathrooms are not easily accessible.
When Mother Nature strikes, traveling can suddenly become inconvenient. However, there are so many new products and tips designed to help you go with the flow!
Stay Ready, So You Don’t Have To Get Ready!
Even if your period isn’t “due” to arrive on vacation, pack backup products just in case. Between packing a jacket and that cute sweater, make sure to also grab a handful of pads/tampons to be on the safe side. You don’t have to pack everything but in the event there are any surprises, it eliminates the struggle of being caught off guard and having to make a mad dash to find protection.
I remember the exact moment I switched from pads to tampons. I was in my early 20s with girlfriends prancing around on a beach vacation and my period decided she also wanted to see how the beaches were in Puerto Rico! I left my bag of pads in the bathroom and someone randomly called out, “WHO IS STILL USING PADS?!” I meekly answered they were mine and every girl on the trip immediately launched into the benefits of using tampons, especially while at the beach. It’s not that I was against tampons, I just never tried them. They all decided right then that I should at least try them! So, my best friend talked me through insertion and after that trip, I became a fan. Following that moment, I decided to be more open to trying new products instead of just sticking to what was familiar.
Be Flexible (Part Deux)
On the flip side of trying something new, be ready to revert to the trusted pad we all started out with. The United States is the only country that uses tampons more than pads. So, when you’re traveling don’t be surprised if tampons are not available and pads are the only item you have access to.
Consider Menstrual Cups
Menstrual cups are rising in popularity because, unlike pads and tampons, you don’t have to worry about changing them constantly throughout the day. So, if you’re on a long flight from L.A. to Thailand and want to eliminate the, “is it time to change my tampon/pad” anxiety, menstrual cups can stay in for up to 12 hours. The cup also saves space in your luggage, versus having to pack days worth of tampons and pads.
Keep Your Products Close
If you land in Ghana but your luggage ends up in Belgium, the products you have stashed in your suitcase will be useless. Make sure to keep your products in easily accessible places such as your carry-on bag or maybe one or two tampons/pads in your purse or backpack for emergency situations.
Music festivals from Coachella to Glastonbury are an incredible way to experience your favorite artists and jamming alongside thousands of other fans but maneuvering the often limited bathroom options when you’re in the middle of nowhere is never ideal. After days of use by countless people porta potties are nobody’s favorite and often run out of the basics. So, make sure you keep an emergency kit handy with wipes and hand sanitizer in the very likely event that you’re in a situation with no running water or toilet paper.
Birth control pills provide more control over your period with the option to skip your cycle entirely when traveling. The pill grants you the freedom to postpone your monthly by skipping the inactive pills and using the pills containing hormones but be sure to ask your doctor what’s best for you.
Period Panties are the new girl on the block and I’m all for new ways to help us manage our periods. Let’s say you’re hiking in Armenia and need an extra layer of protection, period panties are a great go-to to wear in addition to tampons, pads, or cups. Depending on your flow, if you’re just spotting and it’s a lighter day, period panties can replace pads, tampons, and liners. On the plus side, they’re washable and reusable, a great alternative when you’re on the move. Thinx and Luna are two popular brands.
Plastic Bags For Your Products
We’ve all had those terrible moments opening your bag and realizing a bottle of water has soaked through everything. When you’re home it’s not a massive concern because you can easily grab another pad or tampon from under your sink. However, when you’re traveling and only have a few products on hand getting them wet is the worst case scenario. So, make sure to store your products in a plastic baggie to keep them protected from the elements.
Prolong The Inevitable
Believe it or not, there are a few natural ways you can delay your period or, at the very least, lighten it a bit to make your vacation more enjoyable. Certain foods such as cold watermelons and cucumbers delay periods, as well as shots of Apple Cider Vinegar and Maca Root.
Be a Friend to Those In Need
You made it to the end of your fabulous vacation and Mother Nature decided to mind her business and let you be carefree, no pads or cups needed! If you did not need the products you packed, a great option would be to leave them for the next girl in need. If you’re staying in an Airbnb, instead of lugging the tampons and pads back home, simply leave them under the sink for the next guest. I’d send a quick note to your host to let them know as well so they’re not just tossed out.
Traveling while on your period is not optimal, but with these tips, you’ll be more prepared to “Go With the Flow!”
About the Author: Brittany is a journalist for CNN International and is passionate about storytelling. If she’s not on a flight headed to a new adventure, she can be found brunching or curled up with a book.