A Complete Guide to Travelling with Reusable Period Care Products
Traveling allows us to explore new destinations, cultures, and cuisines. Whilst reusable period care products offer great freedom, cost savings, the benefit on not running out and not having to buy period products on the road (internal period care products can be difficult to find in some countries), managing periods while on-the-go can be stressful!
Traditional disposable period products contribute to environmental waste, and finding sustainable options on the road can be challenging. Fortunately, reusable period care products offer a more eco-friendly and convenient solution.
We'll explore practical tips for travellers to manage their periods sustainably, ensuring a stress-free journey!
Choosing the Right Reusable Products
Before embarking on your journey, invest in high-quality reusable period care products that suit your needs.
Reusable period care options include:
- Menstrual Cups and Disc: Cups and discs are inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual fluid. They are usually made of medical-grade silicone and are reusable for up to several years. They are perfect for active travellers, as they can be worn swimming and for up to 8 hours without needing to be changed. You only need one of these so they are a great choice if you are hiking or backpacking as they they don't take up much space in your luggage and don't require any drying time.
- Cloth Pads: Washable and comfortable, cloth pads are an excellent alternative to disposable pads. They come in various sizes and absorbencies, making them suitable for all stages of your cycle but do require a little drying time. If travelling using cloth pads ensure you have a range of sizes to see you through from your heavier to your lighter days. A wet bag is also useful to keep used pads in until you reach a destination where you can wash them.
- Period Underwear: Made with absorbent fabric, period underwear provides a leak-proof and comfortable option. They are easy to wash and dry, making them convenient for travellers. Ensure you pack a sufficient number of undies to last your trip. As with cloth pads, a wet bag for used underwear is useful.
Practice Before You Travel
If you're new to using reusable period care products, practice at home before your trip. Getting accustomed to how they work will help you gain confidence while traveling.
Additionally, try out different folding techniques for menstrual cups, ensure your period underwear are a good fit and cloth pads don't slip or cause any irritation when walking.
Packing Cleaning Essentials
For cloth pads and period undies, ensure you pack a small bottle of laundry detergent, a container of laundry powder or laundry strips to wash your reusables. Two bags are also useful for products - a wet bag for used undies or pads and a dry bag for clean ones.
Accidents can happen, so having a small stain remover stick can be handy for quick spot-cleaning.
Plan for Cleaning and Drying
It's essential to plan for cleaning and drying your reusable period products while traveling.
Menstrual cups and discs can be rinsed and reinserted throughout the day. Empty and reinsert you cup before going to bed or embarking on long travel days. If you can't access a private restroom, carry a water bottle to rinse your cup or disc when in public cubical. If you are camping or hiking you can dig a cathole with a small spade to empty the blood into. The cathole should be located at lease 70 steps away from water sources and covered up once emptied. Biodegradable toilet paper can be left in the hole but any other waste should be carried out in a zip lock bag and disposed of appropriately once back in civilisation.
Illustration: How to dig a cathole
For cloth pads and period underwear, hand wash them with cold water and soap as soon as possible. Ensure they are thoroughly rinsed of any soap residue as this can cause irritation to the delicate skin of intimate areas. If you are staying in shared accomodation you can take your used pads or undies into the shower with you to do this and if you're staying in accommodations with laundry facilities, pop them in a laundry bag and run them through the washing machine. For drying, wring them out well and hang them in your room or use a portable clothesline.
Intimate care wipes can also be handy for cleaning up the labia after changes when travelling. If hiking in remote areas without toilet facilities these need to be carried out in a zip lock bag or they can be buried in a cathole if they are biodegradable.
Consider a Backup Option
While reusable period care products are reliable, it's always wise to have a backup option, especially during heavy flow days or when you may not have access to convenient cleaning facilities so you may like to carry a few eco-friendly disposable pads or tampons as a safety net. It can be handy to have a few disposables to help out fellow travellers who may have run too!
Practice Good Hygiene
Maintaining good hygiene is crucial during your period, especially when using reusable products. Wash your hands before and after handling your period care items. Additionally, avoid leaving reusable products in sealed containers for an extended period to prevent mould growth.
Traveling with reusable period care products is not only a sustainable choice but also a practical one. By selecting the right products, practicing beforehand, and planning for cleaning and drying, you can ensure a comfortable and environmentally-friendly period while exploring new horizons. Enjoy your travels knowing you're contributing to a cleaner planet!