By Priya A. Shah
While I was in my 20s, I spent a year living abroad in Australia on a work visa. During that time, I took a short spur-of-the moment trip to the Australian Outback. Afraid that I’d miss out on a part of Australia that I really wanted to see, I decided to book the trip one day before a 5-night/ 6-day organized trip that departed from from Adelaide, South Australia and ended in Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory.
There’s nothing like sleeping underneath the stars, right? Anyone can sleep on a bed, in an air-conditioned room, right??
While I was up for a new experience, sleeping outside on the Uluru, Ayers Rock campground wasn’t exactly as sexy as I thought it would be. Terrified that a poisonous snake or dingo would come and get me, I barely slept on the trip. I also became really dehydrated and sick from the crazy-heat while hiking. One night, when I went to charge my iPod on the campground, it exploded and died.
Oh, and did I mention that Aunt Flo came knocking on my door? Perfect timing.
I normally love being spontaneous and booking trips at the last minute, but this particular time I was kicking myself. Why didn’t I pay attention to my period cycle and book this trip accordingly?
But don’t let my horror story scare you off! Just because I wasn’t prepared for this particular trip doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t travel while you’re on your period. Just *having* a period counts as a superpower. No need to cancel your upcoming trip!
You might need to do some extra work in preparation, but a little more prep will help you have the time of your life instead of crying on your tour bus because you’re stuck in the Australian Outback with stained shorts and no cell phone reception (speaking from personal experience, obviously).
Here are 5 tips you can you use to make sure your period doesn’t get in the way of your vacay:
1. Pack Comfortable Clothing
There are some things that women just don’t want to wear while on their period. Pack some comfy (but stylish) clothing. Here are a few examples:
- Over-sized sweatshirt
- Comfy t-shirts
- Flowy dresses
- Flowy shorts/pants
2. Plan Ahead
It’s amazing how much we don’t keep our monthly cycles in mind when we’re excited about all of the fun activities we’re going to do on our trip. With that said, every woman’s body is different. Some of us can handle intense physical activities, and others need to lay low for a few days.
Either way, know when your cycle is about to hit (you can easily track your period through one of the many apps out there). This will help you know your body and what you can handle. Are you up for ziplining, hiking, jet skiing, or being in a bathing suit on period days? Or would you rather do some light walking, museum-exploring, or food tasting?
If you’re on a solo trip, you can pretty much call the shots. If you’re with a group, try to compromise and ask if some activities can be done the week after your period. Or, you can simply let your travel mates do their thing and you do your thing.
If you don’t want to be caught in a hot tub after a long day of skiing with Aunt Flo, don’t. If you think your body can handle it, go for it. Honestly, sometimes some activities are not as bad as they seem in your head, and doing them can help you feel empowered.
3. Skip Your Period
Depending on the type of birth control you use, you can skip your period to align with your trip. Now, this is not a permanent solution if you’re traveling long-term. However, it’s an option to consider if you’re taking a shorter trip. It’s always recommended to check with your doctor before using this method.
4. Pack a Period Kit
This is something that every woman needs while on vacation (and even while not on vacation)!
Your period kit will make things a lot easier for you even if it’s not that time of the month — you never know when a friend will need a little extra help. All of these items can be easily packed in a medium-sized makeup bag or a small packing cube.
Here are items to include in your period kit:
- Tampons/pads/menstrual cup/THINX
- Extra underwear
- Painkillers (if necessary and prescribed by your doctor) or over-the-counter medication such as Advil or Tylenol. If you’re flying, make sure the medication is in the original packaging for airport security reasons.
- A stylish pair of period pants or period dress (aka something flowy that lets you breathe)
Take extra precautions to stay hydrated and try to eat healthy (fruits and veggies, yo!). And if you’re doing everything right, add a little chocolate in the mix.
5. Have A Plan B
Be as flexible as possible. Just in case you’re not up for hiking one day, have some back-up activities ready to go. Maybe today is a shopping and froyo day. Or maybe you just want to hang out by the pool and read a good book.
If you can’t get out of your plans because friends are depending on you or your activities are non-refundable, pull out your period kit and take a deep breath. You’ll get through the day! Just count your blessings that you’re not somewhere in the middle of a desert.
And if you are, you’ll still survive. You got this!
What are your tips for traveling on your period? Share them with us in the comments.
Priya Shah is a Chicago-based freelance writer and serial blogger armed with a journalism degree and a strong background in providing clients with value, creativity, and a killer voice. She’s also a world-traveler, has lived abroad, and loves exploring other cultures.