When you pay $1,600 for a flight, you may want to stay a while. And when you stay 3-4 weeks somewhere and you’re a female, that means you have your period while you’re there. I recently had my cycle while traveling Asia and I couldn’t wait to share my 5 tips with you because you don’t have to let it ruin your vacation.
#1 Bring a water bottle.
If you’re like me, then your first day flow is similar to the final scene in The Godfather – a massacre. Bringing a full water bottle with you into any bathroom allows you the comfort of giving your kitty a mini bath. In countries like the Philippines, bathrooms will come equipped with a bidet-type hose and/or a bucket of water called a tabo. This is what locals use to replace toilet paper altogether, and also to power flush the toilet. It is pretty economical, but sanitation is questionable. So I prefer my own water bottle for rinsing.
#2 Bring wet wipes & your own toilet paper.
Toilet paper is a luxury in other countries. 9 out of 10 public bathrooms will not have it readily available. Best to bring your own. And on your period, you may prefer wet wipes to get the job done more completely.
#3 Carry hand sanitizer with you everywhere.
Bathrooms are more likely to have soap than toilet paper, but still not a sure bet. Yes, this means that many people in third world countries don’t wash their hands. But if you’re on your period & especially if you use the menstrual cup, that’s not an option. Carry hand sanitizer for after your bathroom use, or even a small portable soap if you have room.
#4 You don’t always have to rinse the cup.
Keep in mind that worst case, it is possible to change your cup, dump it, and reinsert without rinsing it in between. This is not ideal just because it doesn’t feel as good to insert it with “old” blood still covering it, but the suction will still work and it’s not the end of the world. Even at home, you may find yourself in this scenario where you have to change your cup in a stall with no sink. However, this is also a good time to bring a full water bottle with you into the stall to rinse the cup. See Tip #1.
#5 Finally, bring coins with you.
Bathrooms at places like rest stops and gas stations will often charge a small fee – equivalent to 5 or 10 cents – to cover maintenance costs. Even if the bathroom looks like this:
and doesn’t have toilet paper or hand soap, please respect their work and support the local economy by paying your fair share.
Mother Nature has been known to strike at inconvenient times. But using these steps, I actually had a very pleasant period and vacation. More photos of my trip below!