Menstrual Cup vs Tampons vs Sanitary Pads – How to Handle Your Monthly Menstruation When Travelling

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor September 7th, 2019 Posted in Travel Blog, Travel Gear Reviews No comments

Menstrual cup, what is that?

Period week is not always the best time of the month, but it should not deter you from doing what you love most – travelling! With adequate thought and preparation, you can ready yourself to handle that time of the month with ease and very little mess.

Good to know various options to handle your period while on the road are available. Choose between a menstrual cup or traditional tampons and sanitary pads or napkins. Each comes with a set of benefits that makes traveling possible even on red days. Let the following details help you manage the condition while keeping the fun non-stop.

1. Menstrual Cup 

Menstrual Cup
Photo by Maria Morri

For long-term traveling, a menstrual cup is an ideal choice to handle your period. It is a pretty straightforward tool that can be left in place for up to 12 hours. Insert the little cup, and it captures your flow and keeps it in place. No leaks to worry about whether you are inside a bumpy bus in the middle of nowhere or rappelling down the side of a waterfall.

This tiny cup keeps everything tidy until you find the opportunity to empty it and dispose of its contents. After cleaning, replace the cup, and off you go! Isn’t this a lot simpler than using disposable pads or tampons? The idea of a menstrual cup may freak out newbies, but if you want good coverage on your heavy days, this is a product to fall in love with.

Also, it is more environment-friendly because it is reusable. Plus, you have to admit, carrying one cup is an entire world better than stockpiling pads or tampons. Even if you are on a long trip or in a place that can truly use some improvement in toilet facilities, there is very little for you to worry about.

Menstrual Cup
Photo by menstruationstasse.net

At most, the need to attend to your menstrual cup falls between two or three times a day. Empty it in the morning as you wake up, do it another time after your major activity of the day, then one last time in the evening before bed. That is it!

But before you buy one, pay attention and ensure you are getting the right product. In general, there are two sizes available. The first is for pre-birth and the other for post-birth. Read the label. Test a few brands before travelling, too.

To recap, here are the benefits of using a menstrual cup:

  1. More storage space: Downsize your bag of personal products. There is only one cup to pack!
  2. Less worry: Wherever you are, you know you are prepared. No need to travel to the next big city in search of your favoured tampon brand. Even in an off-the-grid town, you have the confidence that there is no running out of feminine supplies.
  3. Less waste: If kept properly, you get years of use out of your menstrual cup.
  4. More money: Obviously, the initial investment is higher compared to buying a disposable pad or tampon, but you recoup the money very quickly and eliminate the need to buy any more supply to handle your period for years to come.
  5. Better protection: Dance with the locals. Go on hikes. Explore caves or countless museums. The cup can be worn for extended hours with minimal chances of leakage.
  6. No known health risks.

Bonus tip: How to clean your menstrual cup?

Wash your hands before touching your cup to avoid infection. Also, choose a product made of 100% medical grade silicone that is bacteria-resistant. Clean your cup between uses and between periods.

On your period, rinsing it is enough to clean it out before placing it back. If your cup has air holes, keep them clear to form a proper seal. Washing the cup with soap is not necessary. If you feel the need, use a pH-balanced wash designed for intimate use to avoid irritation and infection.

Meanwhile, between periods, it is healthy to give the cup a thorough cleaning before storage. You can boil it in water for five minutes and then air-dry. Alternatively, you can use sterilizing tablets commonly used for baby bottles if you do not want to boil your cup or have limited access to a stove or a kitchen.

Here are the 5 different Menstrual Cup:

2. Tampons

Tampons
Photo by torbakhopper

Some women are more comfortable using traditional tampons. Perfectly fine. Just make sure you bring your chosen brand with you and allow for space since you are likely to need a bunch. Watch out for your tampons may eat your personal products bag quickly if you are on the road for months on end. Be sure to work out a plan on how to restock supplies.

To differentiate, These are worn internally. They are made of cotton and rayon. In more conservative countries, tampons are harder to find compared to sanitary pads or napkins and are even frowned upon. If this is your choice of period product, better have stock with you. Bring both applicator and non-applicator tampons, too.

Also, do not flush a tampon down the toilet if you are in a Third World country. The toilets here cannot even handle toilet paper so do not even attempt flushing a tampon. It will only result in an ugly mess, not to mention much embarrassment.

Here are the 5 different Tampons:

3. Sanitary Pads or Napkins

Sanitary Pads
Photo by Rosie Rossington

Similar to tampons, sanitary pads or napkins are disposable. These are made of the same cotton and rayon, with the addition of plastic. These are worn externally and fasten to the underwear with an adhesive strip. Largely available, you are likely to get your hands on a pack wherever you are in the world. The advantages of using pads are similar to tampons. Both are convenient to use. Use one and dispose of.

However, leakage can be a problem. You have to constantly check and change it. Also, your favorite brands may not be readily available overseas. There are may be quality local versions, but it may take a few tries to pick the right one for you. As mentioned, the issue of storage comes up, too. You can only have so much room in your backpack after all. Plan accordingly, including proper disposal of the waste.

Here are the 5 different Sanitary Pads or Napkins:

How you deal with your period while traveling is obviously a personal decision. The best news is you have options. The only thing left to do is pick the products that make you feel more comfortable during that time of the month. Plan ahead. And as a final tip, carry pain relievers with you, too!

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Written by Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor

Two Monkeys Travel Group – Community Travel Blog is a travel blog and website. We quickly grew into a valuable source of inspiring travel stories, advice, itineraries and travel guides, with the aim of demonstrating how to live a sustainable life of travel, whilst living your own definition of success. If you'd like to contribute and write a guest post, contact us at kach@twomonkeystravel.com

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