How To Handle Your Period On Holiday

Image: Dame

Sometimes life happens, even when you’re trying to get away from said life! Don’t let being on your period ruin that perfect beach vacay or long awaited backpacking trip. Dame are here to show you how to handle your period on holiday.

Periods love a good holiday too.  Whether it’s turning up as you don that new bikini or sip on that first spritz, they’re the travel companion you don’t always want (no disrespect to Mother Nature and all).  But there’s no need to let your period cramp your holiday style. We asked our friends at DAME, the sustainable brand behind the world’s first reusable tampon applicator and DAME organic tampons, for their top tips for travelling on your period.

Go with the flow

Just imagine…the wheels touch down and RED ALERT, you’ve got a surprise visitor.  We love using apps like Moody Month to track our cycle and anticipate whether our period will drop while we’re on holiday, but we know we can’t always expect our period to arrive bang on time when we’re away. Simple factors like the stress of travel, a change in climate (warmer weather can shorten menstrual cycles) and different time zones can throw off normal cycles. So there’s no need to ovary-act if your period shows up sooner or later than planned when you’re on holiday – your period’s just adjusting to its own ‘out of office’ mode. 

Image: @moodymonth

Travel Lite (or Regular, or Super Plus) 

If we know our period will be joining our holiday, we’ll try to pack as much of our preferred period product as necessary.  Periods can be miserable enough without being forced to resort to a foreign product you’re not comfortable with. And it’s amazing how much period care varies between countries. Take tampons for example – they’re much harder to get hold of in some Asian countries compared to pads.  And while in the US applicator tampons are the norm, you’ll be hard pressed to find an applicator tampon if you’re in say Australia or Scandinavia.   

But packing for your period doesn’t have to mean schlepping huge quantities of period products half-way around the world.  Choosing reusable options can provide all the comfort, at a fraction of the luggage allowance. Whether it’s one DAME reusable tampon applicator for all your tampons, or a few pairs of period pants – reusables make travelling light easier than ever.  Plus they’re better for the planet (and mean you’ve got more space to pack that 7th bikini).  

When it comes to choosing exactly which product to bring, a little forethought to what’s on the holiday agenda helps . A flop and drop holiday by the pool or on the beach? We’ll grab some tampons please (organic preferable). Road tripping, jumping aboard an overnight train or hiking without frequent (or sufficient) bathroom access?  Then we’ll opt for those items that don’t need regular changing – like period pants or cups.

Beyond the blood

We all know that our periods like to arrive with various accompaniments. It could be  a side serving of cramps or a fat portion of sugar cravings, so it’s best to pack some extras.  Pain relief, like period products, can vary abroad. If there’s something you can’t get by without, pack it in your hand luggage and keep it close by.  For the cultural warriors amongst us, this could be a great chance to delve into local culture and seek out local herbal remedies.  

Likewise, there’s no shame in carrying some of your favourite time of the month snacks with you while you’re away.  Although this could be another opportunity to delve into local food culture and discover something that becomes your new go to.  There’s nothing wrong with eating an entire bag of banana chips on your period right?! You might also want to think about packing a heat pack, or if you’re camping somewhere without access to clean water, then hand sanitiser might be a good shout when it comes to changing your tampon or cup.

Live like the locals

While periods are finally being accepted within mainstream conversations here in the UK (don’t get us wrong – we’ve still got a bloody long way to go), in other parts of the world, periods are still very much shrouded in taboo, shame and discretion. So before you start waving your tampon about, it’s important to be aware and respectful of the plight of women in the culture you’re visiting.  

For example, in rural Nepal, menstruating women can be isolated for up to a week, while in certain parts of Africa and South America talking openly about periods is prohibited. Religion also shapes attitudes towards menstruation. Mosques and temples won’t allow women to enter while they’re menstruating and some Jewish women are sent to cleanse themselves of the impurity of bleeding at a mikveh post-menstruation. Their periods aren’t considered to be over until this ritual cleansing has taken place.

While we can hope that periods will one day be seen as a natural and normal occurrence all around the world, it’s our place to respect the cultures who have openly welcomed us as visitors.
On a lighter note, why not check out how the locals coin their periods – you never know when you might find yourself on a tampon dash to a foreign pharmacy and in need of some lingo.  Germans christen their period as Erdbeerwoche’ (strawberry week),  Finns term it  ‘Hullum lechman tauti’ (mad cow disease) and a South African might say ‘Granny’s stuck in trafficâ. Not one you often find in the phrasebook. 

Image: @swellbottle

Keep Calm & Drink Water

As your oestrogen and progesterone levels recede on your period, your body retains more water. This may impact your digestive system and cause constipation, gas, or bloating, not to mention those bloody period cramps. Staying hydrated eliminates the build up of water in your body, which can help relieve those less than holiday-friendly symptoms.  Keep a reusable water bottle in your hand luggage, to ensure you’re not only drinking regularly but avoiding single use plastic too.  

Our top tips for drinking water abroad:

  • A metal bottle will keep your water cool in the heat 
  • Water purifying tablets like Steripen are useful in case you can’t drink the tap water
  • If plastic bottled water is unavoidable, buy water in bulk and use this to refill your reusable bottle

Zero flushes given 

Please, please, please, don’t flush it down the loo!  And especially not abroad. Many countries don’t even flush toilet paper, let alone period products.  If you’re worried you won’t have access to a sanitary bin, Fab Little Bag have created biodegradable disposal bags which can be operated with one hand. Genius.  

And please take a moment to think about where your period waste is heading to. 100 billion period products are thrown away globally every year.  Most of these are single-use, contain plastic and cannot be recycled so end up in landfill, or get flushed into our oceans. By swapping to reusable or biodegradable options you can have a comfortable, and sustainable period wherever you are in the world.  Channel the travel mantra: ‘Take only memories, leave only footprints’ and you’ll be a dab hand in no time.

Safe (and responsible) travels!

Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with Dame. We were not paid to post this article. The people and models in the images featured are not associated with The Vendeur and do not endorse it or the products shown. This post may contain affiliate links. Prices correct at time of publishing.