The ultimate guide to traveling on your period, because bloody underwear is not on the itinerary

We’re proud of our periods, but we don’t love how unpredictable they can be. We especially don’t love having them when we travel. When you’re shuffling through airport security or lounging on the beach, your flow is the last thing you want to worry about. But menstruation happens, and traveling on your period is inevitable. Whether you’re jet-setting for the weekend or traveling to a remote country for a few months, it’s important to be prepared for the possibility of getting your period.

You shouldn’t have to book your travel according to your period cycle (though some people definitely do that). With a little extra planning, you can be equipped to handle your period wherever you are in the world. From airports to hotel rooms to campsites, consider this your ultimate guide to traveling on your period.

Chart your cycle beforehand.

Though periods can be unpredictable, some people find success in charting their cycles and knowing exactly when their period is coming. Once you know your travel dates, check your chart and see if you’ll have your period during any part of the trip. This way, you’ll be perfectly prepared for it to arrive and won’t get caught off guard.

Assemble a period kit.

If you know you’re going to have your period while you’re traveling, bring everything you need. Even if you aren’t expecting to get it, bring some supplies just in case. Depending on your destination, you might not have the option to readily buy tampons or other items. Some countries only sell tampons without applicators, and others don’t sell them at all. And if you’re going to a remote location, you don’t want to be left with nothing. It’s best to have what you need to get through a typical period cycle, so think: pads, tampons, a cup—and don’t forget pain relievers.

Try a menstrual cup and/or period underwear.

Menstrual cups and period underwear aren’t for everyone, but they’re super convenient and don’t take up much space. Instead of crowding your luggage with boxes of tampons or pads, you only need one menstrual cup and a few pairs of period underwear to get through your travel flow. Just pack them in your carry-on, and if Aunt Flo comes knockin’, you’ll be good to go. It can take a few wears to get the hang of a menstrual cup, so take it for a test drive before you travel.

Pack your period supplies in your carry-on.

Make sure they’re easily accessible. If the airline loses your luggage, you’ll still have everything you need.

Bring emergency supplies.

When you’re traveling, you never know what the bathroom situation will be. Hope for the best but plan for the worst. Stash extra underwear, cleansing wipes, and plastic bags in your carry-on so you’ll be prepared in case the worst happens.

Don’t forget your pain relief.

There’s something about period pain that feels worse when you’re away from home. Bring painkillers, a heating pad, Tums, and anything else that gives you comfort.

Pack comfortable clothes.

Loose-fitting clothes and comfy underwear are your best friends. If your period strikes and all you have are tight leggings and skinny jeans, it’s going to be a looong trip.

If you’re flying, sit in an aisle seat.

If you need to change your tampon, empty your menstrual cup, or use the restroom on a long flight, the last thing you want is to have to crawl over a sleeping stranger.

Set a relaxing itinerary.

If you know you’re going to have your period during your trip, choose relaxing activities that keep you in close range to the bathroom—meaning, you might not want to hike a remote mountain while you’re bleeding (unless that’s your thing!). If that’s not an option, pack a small bag with the essentials and find small moments during the day to take a few deep breaths.

Squeeze in a morning workout.

Fifteen minutes of jogging or yoga can help reduce cramps and pesky period pains. Even just a few minutes of stretching in your hotel room can make a big difference.

Eat well.

A lot of people get extra tired during their periods. Traveling and time zone changes can throw off your schedule, but if you have your period, make sure you’re still eating regular meals—especially breakfast. You’ll appreciate the much-needed morning energy boost. Have healthy snacks on hand to satisfy cravings, too.

Drink plenty of water.

Why is it harder to remember to drink water when you’re traveling? Our water consumption tends to go way down when we’re on the road. Plus, you get dehydrated faster on airplanes. Carry a water bottle at all times and make sure you’re staying hydrated. Bonus tip: You can use your water bottle to rinse your menstrual cup if need be.

Get a good night’s sleep.

Things like cozy pajamas, melatonin, ear plugs, an eye mask, and calming pillow spray help create ideal sleeping conditions.

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