Periods don’t care about your social calendar, or maybe they do, which is why they love to arrive while you’re traveling. Menstrual cups are a convenient way to travel on your period but there are tips to make your trip the best it can be, all things considered.
Why Menstrual Cups are the Most Convenient When You Have Your Period on Vacation
Why should you use a menstrual cup or reusable menstrual disc when you have your period on vacation? They make packing a much lighter affair. Just bring a single menstrual cup or disc and pack it in a breathable pouch. A reusable menstrual cup can hold 2-5x more than tampons or pads. When you’re traveling this can be more convenient and makes the importance of finding a public restroom less of an emergency.
If your period is average you should be able to go 8-12 hours without having to empty your cup. That equals an entire carefree day of museums, hiking, shopping, swimming and snorkeling, skiing – anything!
As long as you’re already an experienced user having your period away from home will be no different, but there are some nice to have items to bring for your trip.
If you’ve never used a menstrual cup or disc I’d suggest not trying one for the first time on vacation. There is a learning curve so if you want to use one on a trip try buying it 2-3 months before to practice.
Packing List: Period On Vacation
- Always bring your product of choice on a trip if it falls within a timeframe that your period has even a slight chance of arriving on time/early/late. Periods have a 6th sense and love to crash your travel plans. Not tracking your period? Definitely pack one!
- Using a cup or disc? Pack cup wipes or on-the-go cup sanitizing spray. Traveling often means using public bathrooms more than usual. Keep reading for tips on washing your menstrual cup on a plane bathroom.
- Leakproof underwear are always handy year-round but I always pack a few with me on trips just in case.
- Never assume you can easily buy tampons/pads when you travel. It’s best to pack what you need. If you’re traveling outside of the US you might also experience period culture shock when the local stores don’t stock tampons with applicators.
- Keep a spare pair of underwear in your purse/bag for emergencies. It always feels nice to know that if you start your period by surprise away from home you have the option to change into clean underwear for comfort.
- If your period comes with pain such as back aches or cramps consider packing your pain reliever of choice. These aches are annoying enough at home and even more annoying when traveling.
- A sealable plastic or reuable bag is handy on vacations for lots of reasons but is nice to pack in case of any laundry accidents that need to be sealed until you’re back home and able to launder them.
Consider preparing a period emergency kit for your carry-on.
Flying on your Period
If your trip involves a plane trip and you’re on your period for the flight(s) there are a few things you should know before you go. I’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions on this topic.
Q: Can I wash my menstrual cup in an airplane bathroom?
A: You can empty your cup into an airplane toilet but skip using their sink water for a wash. It’s non-potable and may have bacteria. Since your cup or disc is going into your body it’s better to play it safe. Either dump your menstrual cup and re-insert without rinsing, wipe it with toilet paper, or bring something like cup wipes, a bottle of water, or a spray cleanser.
Q: Will flying on an airplane wearing a menstrual cup work due to cabin pressure changes?
A: Yes. Menstrual cups do create a seal/suction but the cabin is pressurized. Flying won’t affect your cup’s seal, comfort, or cause leaks.
Q: Can TSA see my menstrual cup in my body when using the body scanner?
A: No. Areas of concern will be vaguely marked with yellow on the screen and the TSA agents won’t be able to see any of your period products in your body. Pads do seem to set off the scanners the most.
On my most recent trip I was pulled aside for additional screening, perhaps because of my menstrual disc, but after a palm swab and wand wave I was good to go.
Another tip – if you’re emptying your menstrual cup on the plane – remember these toilets use very little water. Try to dump your cup or disc directly over the hole. Blood on the toilet walls may not wash away with a flush. I emptied a very full disc without thinking about this and had to coat the toilet with paper so that would wash the walls. It was a two-flush situation as a courtesy. A single flush wasn’t enough to get rid of the blood!
You can travel on your period using any product but I have had the best experiences using my menstrual disc because it’s such a good fit. I never worry about leaks or discomfort and forget I’m on my period.