Traveling on Your Period - What You Need to Know #GirlTalk

Photo of Traveling on Your Period - What You Need to Know #GirlTalk by Sushantika

Advertisements often glorify a "free" and "happy" period. But how many of us have actually experienced it? Maybe be a handful, maybe even less. I for one, find it extremely challenging to be comfortable when I am on my period. Throw in a trip, and you have the recipe for a perfect disaster. However, as an avid traveller, I have no option but to find ways to manage my period while I am travelling. 

If you too are like me, then you probably consider a lot of things before booking your trip - choice of flights, hostels, and the best time to go on a trek. I'm sure that these plans rarely ever sync with your menstrual cycle. So if you are the kind who would much rather book your trip, even at the risk of experiencing cramping and discomfort, here are some of the things I recommend to have an (almost) happy trip, while on your period.

1. Switch to biodegradable sanitary pads

If you prefer the good old sanitary pad, the market has a lot of 'green' options. This is especially useful when you are trekking or visiting remote locations that don't have a structured garbage disposal mechanism. Several companies advertise that their pads can be decomposed without affecting the environment negatively. Having said that, it is always advisable to test out a new product before you use it on your trip. The last thing you want to do is end up with rashes and other unanticipated discomfort while you are busy exploring a new place. 

2. Wet wipes and zip lock pouches are your best friends 

Sanitary pads and long treks don't really gel well. You are sure to experience plenty of chafing. Wet wipes help a lot in this regard and also help you stay clean and hygienic. Especially on treks where you can't shower for days on end, wet wipes are a woman's best friend during "that time of the month". However, since most wet wipes are non-biodegradable, try to opt for "greener" options. You might just need to pack the wet wipes in a zip pouch so that it can be disposed off in the nearest city.

3. Stay hydrated and add electrolytes 

While you might not feel like drinking too much water, it is important to stay hydrated and compensate for the dip in magnesium levels in your body. Being dehydrated can cause and intensify aches and pains, so the extra water bottle during a trip or a trek will go a long way. You can also mix electrolytes into the water that will help you tackle fatigue, giddiness and other period-related discomfort. 

4. Don't be afraid to take medication for pain

While most women are sceptical of taking medication for period pain, most gynaecologists have come forth to break the myth that such medicines are unsafe. Consult your doctor and before you embark on your journey so that you can stock up on all medication that you might need. Even if you don't always take one during your regular cycle, it is always better to have a prescribed medication handy when you are travelling.

5. Consider using a menstrual cup

The menstrual cup is all the rage these days. Many women swear by it and have suggested switching to the cup from traditional products like sanitary pads. The reason - less pain, reduced discomfort, no leakage, sustainable and not to forget, you can jump into a swimming pool without thinking twice!

While the process of inserting this reusable product might need some getting used to and some serious courage, plenty of women agree that the initial apprehension will be long forgotten after you find the 'perfect fit'.

Photo of Traveling on Your Period - What You Need to Know #GirlTalk 1/1 by Sushantika

6. Know what's best for your body

While most doctors suggest that staying active and working through the pain is the best way to deal with pain, there's no need to fall under that pressure. If you are travelling on your period, there is no need to prove your strength, it is all right to take a day or two off  to relax and recoup, You can always indulge in lighter activities such as cafe-hopping, taking a stroll through the city or watching a movie! You can also utilise this time, sorting through your trip photos, connecting with locals or planning your itinerary. 

7. Break the taboo 

Talking about being on your period has long been a taboo in most societies. Even today, in many progressive cities of India and the world, period talk is considered inappropriate. But the change starts with you. Whether you are travelling with your friends or a group of strangers, it is okay to talk about being on your period as it is as "normal" as having a headache. You might be uncomfortable at first, but there is no harm in asking another person for help. They might just pleasantly surprise you with a hot cup of coffee or a period playlist. After all, some pampering during that time of the month is always welcome! 

What's your take on traveling on your period? Share your tricks and best hacks in the comment section below! 

The above points were from crowd sourced answers from women travelers on Women Who Wander India. Please use the products mentioned at your discretion.