Periods are pretty much unavoidable. And tbh I like to think of them as a healthy sign that everything is working as it should down there. That aside, there’s no denying it can be a pain in the arse when you’re lapping up the sun a million miles from the safe haven of your local Boots.
If you’re planning a big trip, here’s some top tips on how to survive your period while living out of a backpack.
This section can be broken down into two parts informally known as ‘pads’ and ‘pants’ – a girl’s two best friends when her period decides to say hello.
Firstly, pads: this may seem obvious but whatever your sanitary go-tos, make sure you stock up. Despite living the dream there are times when travelling can be tough and you’ll really crave your home comforts. Particularly when your period strikes. As you’ll most likely be a long way from your favourite duvet and Netflix series, my advice is to make sure you have a load of your favourite tampons and pads on hand to make it all a bit more comfortable. They’re light and don’t take up much space so raid your local stores and build a stash fit for a queen. Of course, periods are universal, so you’ll always be able to pick up supplies somewhere but if you’re anything like me and your period can make you just a little grouchy… you’ll be thankful for the assortment of supplies at your fingertips.
Pants: everyone has their trusty pair of period pants. I’ll be the first to hold my hands up and say my collection is vast. Once again it all relates back to achieving maximum period comfort. No one wants to be squeezing into a cute pair of lacy pants mid-period bloat. When it comes to comfy knickers, the more the merrier. You’ll thank me later.
Hunting for ‘le tampon’ or ‘el sanitary towel’ could be a waste of valuable tanning time. My advice would be to locate the nearest pharmacy in each town you visit. That way, a few days before you come on you can stock up on everything you’ll need. From pads to paracetamol, a pharmacy will see you through. They also tend to have pretty good snack sections… just saying.
It’s also never a bad idea to learn some phrases to explain period-related symptoms or sanitary products in general. This will help avoid awkward incidents in which you and the pharmacist have to play a game of period charades. Re-enacting period cramps in an Argentinian supermarket in front of a queue of gawking strangers was really not how I pictured my acting debut…
Girl, you’ve done this whole period thing a hundred times before so don’t let a change in location get to you. So your period arrives unexpectedly, no problemo, just carry on as normal. When you’re away for a long stretch you’ll have plenty of time for a few chill days, so if you’re feeling groggy just rejig your schedule and spend the first day of your period relaxing in a hammock at a hostel. When you’re constantly on the move you can easily become tired, so having a much needed pamper day will give you the chance to rejuvenate and catch up with friends, family and those all-important z’s.
Although our bodies tend to be pretty intuitive when we’re changing time zones, the weather and other factors can definitely mess with your cycle. No one knows your body better than you do. If your period is late don’t be alarmed, Mother Nature may simply just be taking her sweet time to catch up with your new, adventurous lifestyle. If the problem continues, don’t be shy, just talk to the local pharmacist.
A menstrual history lesson revealed that some women were forced to remain bed-bound during their period. But a lot has changed since then, honey. You may never get to experience these wonderful places and things again, so put on your trusty period panties and face the day head on. Trekking the Amazon rainforest will still be amazing, period or not, trust me, I’ve been there. Do not, I repeat, do not let your period stop you from having fun.
Image: Katie Edmunds