Words by Jean Cheney - Author, Traveling Honeybird.
It’s kinda like the friend that you wished no-one had ever invited to a party. That one friend that you don’t actually want to admit to all your friends that you hate but you’re occasionally relieved when it comes to visit. Now without a doubt your period is playing a dangerous game with you, threatening to ruin your outfit, destroy your day and generally be a pain in the uterus. Sadly, when you go on holiday, your period doesn’t always get the memo to stay at home.
As if the packing, getting to the airport and the joy of actual flying isn’t stressful enough, it does seem to be the perfect time for my period to drop on by for a visit.
I’ll never forget being 17, on my first trip out of Australia and trying to find sanitary items in a Tokyo chemist. Far too ashamed of the betrayal of my uterus to ask my friends or even the female teachers for help. With a total of three Japanese words up my sleeve, I bravely entered the pharmacy. With a dance of sign language, the helpful young woman handed me a pregnancy test and seemed overly excited about my upcoming motherhood. Through tears of laugher, I was relieved to see a more senior staff member, with wonderful English skills step up to the counter and gently remove the test kit from my hands. Within moments I was stocked up and walking out into the cool night air. Now, I never leave the house without a secret stash of tampons.
Put a stop to period drama
Getting your period on holidays does happen to a lot of people and it isn’t something that you need to try and hide from. More so it’s a time to let your organisational skills go crazy and get shit done before you go on your adventure.
Be period prepared
Not all countries have the variety of period products that we do here in Australia. For instance you’ll be hard pressed to find tampons in a lot of Asian countries, especially China. And Africa isn’t much better if you’re on the tampon hunting trail. Tampons don’t weigh very much nor do they take up a lot of space in your bag. So throw in a box or two just in case.
I also have half a dozen tampons between my first aid kit and my handbag. Remember, tampons are effectively plugs and you never know when you’ll need to plug a bullet hole wound. Just saying. More likely though you may come across another intrepid traveller who isn’t as prepared as you, and sharing is caring in these situations.
Or a packet of pain killers. For many countries, basic paracetamol shouldn’t cause you any issues. Just remember to keep these in the original packaging that you bought them in. Anything stronger than that and you might want to consider travelling with a letter from your doctor.
It’s ok to go slow
If your period likes to punch you in the vagina and knock you off your feet each month, don’t be afraid to take things slow when you’re travelling. You don’t need to cram-pack in every moment of every day. It’s ok to take some time off to relax, rejuvenate and take care of yourself. It can be really difficult to do, especially when you think about the limited time you may have and how much money you’ve spent. But you don’t want to return from your holiday more exhausted than you were before you left!