What to Do When YOUR Period Hits You While Traveling

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Getting your period on a trip - 4 products evaluated

What to do when your period hits you on your trip

It's the perfect day. The sun is out and you are on your way to the beach. A little fly disturbs your peace for a moment, crawls around your nose, making you sneeze. Suddenly, you stop walking, cringing, pressing your legs together, because you just felt something squishy and warm float into your panties. 

Instantly annoyed, you rush back to your hostel to change your (newly bought) bikini panties. Upon arrival in your hostel you notice that you forgot to bring tampons with you and you're in a remote Bali hostel in the middle of NOWHERE. Damn, you should have bought those tampons in Ubud for 2 bugs a piece. 

Every Women Has Gotten Her Period on a Trip

on hI am sure that you're smiling right now because literally every one of us has been in a similar situation. Getting your period on your trip sucks! While I was still on the pill (thank God I'm not anymore, going to write a post about it soon), I sometimes ’planned’ my period in advance. You simply took the pill a couple days longer, or even went through without stopping to get your period altogether. I definitely do NOT recommend that; usually this resulted in unbearable pain during the following period. 

I hate these flowery commercials that make women think they are an abomination of nature because their blood is not ’clean’ when in reality it IS nature (*raving madness about sexist commercials over*). Which is why I am going to talk about this issue as vividly as I can. Also, if you're dealing with PMS, you might also be interested in our post on How to deal with PMS on the Road!  

Today I will evaluate all the different forms of dealing with your period on the go. Advantages and disadvantages from my perspective.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor (duh). These are my personal experiences and research. If you experience any difficulty relating to your period on your travels, call your gynecologist. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Period Products for Traveling

1. Tampons

My vote: 7/10

I have used tampons all my life and never really had an issue with them. Recently, though, I have heard of the Toxic Shock Syndrome that can occur when a woman leaves in the tampon for too long. Since I have always been concerned with their ability to soak up all of what I wanted to get rid of: blood and itty bitty brown bits (Yep. Period blood is not only blood. Let’s say it out loud, because periods are NORMAL), I never really thought about how long I could leave it in and that leaving it in for the night might be harmful. 

A lot of brands bleach their tampons with chemicals, which is another thing we should consider. Our vaginal mucosa is extremely delicate and its natural balance can tip easily. I do not like putting something chemical up my vagina while I am bleeding, which is why I am now reconsidering my use of tampons.

In addition, when traveling it is essential to bring tampons along with you. If you plan to travel for a couple of months, however, you do not want to take a suitcase full of sanitary products. Buying tampons in other countries can be a little tricky, especially in remote areas. In South East Asia I especially struggled with the price, up to 2$ for ONE tampon. People in Indonesia do not seem to use tampons, which is why they are often imported only for tourists. 

2. Pads

My vote: 4/10

I cannot really say much about pads, however, you usually get them all over the world, since in more conservative countries they are usually the way to go. In my opinion, I would never opt for pads. When wearing summer clothes having to wear a pad and not being able to lie on the beach because of it, would still simply annoy the shit out of me. I hate the feeling of something wet in my pants. However, I know a bunch of women who feel most comfortable using pads instead of tampons or other products. They love that one can get them almost everywhere! Each to their own preference, girls! 

3. The Menstrual Cup

My vote: 6/10

Scrolling through your newsfeed you probably have come across these silicone cones that are supposed to fit into your vagina and replace tampons, pads, etc. 

Lately, I bought one because my best friend was going on and on and on about their usefulness. I took the middle size, as I have been struggling with heavier periods ever since I got off the pill. The biggest advantages that were advocated was that you do not have to change it throughout the day. While I have found this to be true when it comes to leakage, I have also conducted some googling for the risks of Toxic Shock Syndrome. Finally, I concluded that changing the menstrual cup every 8 hours (at least) is important to avoid any harm to your health. 

The problem with the menstrual cup is that changing it is not that easy. I have had some occasions where getting it out due to the vacuum that it created was very difficult. These problems have led to blood spills all over my bathroom floor. Imagine, the bathroom floor looked like a crime scene from "Dexter". You definitely want to avoid that in a hostel bathroom!!! 

You ALWAYS need to wash your menstrual cup with clean water when you change it, which is also not so easy when you are in a hostel with public sinks with another girl wanting to use the same sink for brushing their teeth. They might not be amused when they see you dumping your period blood in there. Keep in mind that in many countries tap water is not clean, and should not be used to wash your menstrual cup. Before you use it for the first time each month, you should also boil it to get rid of any leftover bacteria.

My advice, coming directly from my gyno is also to not use them when you're prone to bladder infections - when they're in right they constantly press against your bladder and raise the risk of getting an infection.

A BIG Advantage of the menstrual cup is the ecological factor. They are reusable for a long period of time, cheaper in the long run, and way better for the environment. If you always have access to clean water, are able to sanitize it in the beginning of your period, and have access to a private bathroom every 8 hours, I would recommend using a menstrual cup. However, even in these cases, practice using it a couple of times while you are on your period before you choose to take it with you on your trip.

4. Period Pants

I have recently come across period pants. I have never used them but would be open to trying them out. However, I doubt that washing your period panties in the hostel would be a great idea! If you're looking for a good review, I can recommend Youtuber Safiya Nygaard!

If you have experience with them, please please please, enlighten me in the comments!

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