Advice from Clémentine at Voyage de Miel.
Anyone travelling with a womb may have to face dealing with their period on the road. Sadly, period protection is yet another concern a male traveller wouldn’t have to worry about.
My husband and I just came back from our honeymoon: a 14-month world tour, here is how I handled my period while travelling.
Contraception on a world tour
This conversation can’t start without mentioning contraception, which often dictates period flow and regularity. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any of the contraception options offered to me good or really convenient while travelling. Also, it is sad to note that when going to the doctor and asking what to do for contraception while travelling as a couple it was never mentioned my husband could be the one dealing with it…
So, here is my rundown of the options available: Patches and rings might not be available everywhere and are tricky to safely store in the long run. You could stock up on a lot of pills but you might end up getting it wrong with the jetlag, the time difference or lose it’s effectiveness if you get sick from food or drink poisoning. Implants and IUD’s can be rejected, are a significant medical procedure to put in place and not suitable for everyone. Condoms quality, safety and availability might vary greatly depending on where you are in the world so might not be 100% reliable.
But I do have a great answer on the best period protection: reusable period underwear!
Accessibility to disposable period protection worldwide
First a word about using disposable period protection. I always found sanitary pads for sale in pharmacies. However, it was mostly external pads, not tampons. Also, the quality and effectiveness were extremely variable from one country to another meaning that some were unpleasant to wear.
It is also essential to note the very negative impact the use of disposable protections has on the environment. We would like to encourage anyone travelling to consider the best options for the planet and to work on reducing their waste on the road. The health risks due to the use of toxic agents in manufacturing also need to be considered.
Taking a menstrual cup on a world tour
I have tried and used the menstrual cup while travelling. The advantages of the menstrual cup are obvious: a low purchase cost for long use, the possibility of using it for several hours without needed to change, and, of course, it hardly takes up any luggage space.
During a backpacking-style world tour, however, it is not so easy to use. We sometimes spent several days with limited access to water, making cleaning the cup and changing it very complicated.
After hearing about the period underwear among the travel community, I finally decided in Australia (midway through the world tour) to invest in period panties. It was a revelation for me!
Reusable period underwear
Menstrual panties or period underwear, are external hygienic protections, which are washable and reusable throughout the life of the product.
The price, however, is a dissuasive factor as the technologies used makes it an expensive purchase, but it is a real long-term investment. Period underwear is easy to use and convenient on the road. They just need to be rinsed after use and can be washed with the rest of your laundry. A good brand will have the underwear coming out clean in any type of laundry, a conventional machine cycle or a cold by-hand one (which is the most common laundry style on a world tour). The fabrics used for the absorption capacity means the underwear will dry quickly. In reality, you only need to invest in a few pairs depending on how efficiently you can clean them (3 was enough for me).
For me now, period underwear is the easiest and best period protection for travelling. They don’t take up extra space in your luggage as you can wear them on regular days. In fact, they are also great on sweaty or humid days as they are fast drying. With more and more competition on the market, the technologies are getting better and prices lower. But there is definitely room for improvement on contraception and period management for travellers overall.
Find period underwear brands tested and tried on our blog: https://voyagedemiel.com/en/period-products-while-travelling-period-underwear/
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