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Periods Abroad: How To Deal And What To Know


It’s going to happen. You are going to be about 43,647 miles away from home, perhaps on a plane, or maybe a little jet lagged and in the middle of something really, really awesome. And then it will happen.

You’re gonna get your period.

After I found myself on a massive, yet hilarious hunt for tampons in Sao Paulo at 3am, I learned a lesson in preparation that I haven’t forgotten. Namely, getting your period unexpectedly overseas really isn’t a big deal, but it pays to be prepared. And it’s way easier than you think:

Know When It’s Coming
I’ll admit I was late to the period tracker app train, but after downloading my first one I’ve become a self-identified expert in all things menses X technology – which basically means I downloaded about six of them. The stand out so far definitely has been Period Tracker by Mobile Mom. After the first use where you can input your birth control usage, flow levels, moods and other bodily WTF’s like diarrhea (don’t front) and bloating, you will get an estimated start date of your next cycle. After six periods, the predictions become even more accurate.

Do A Little Research
While I’ve never been embarrassed to toss some tampons in my basket at the drugstore, I will admit that purchasing my lady products overseas was a bit weird the first time. Aside from the language barrier, social mores about periods and just plain ol’ availability isn’t the same as it is here in the US. Luckily, the genius known as Lipgloss and a Backpack has compiled this working breakdown of what to expect by country. Key takeaway? If you only use tampons with applicators than definitely bring your own, they aren’t as common as you think.

Stock Your Arsenal
If you have a little ritual (mine involves hot tea, whiskey and about 3 Advil and a multivitamin) to get through your first day, which for a lot of women is often the hardest, pack that with you if possible. There is nothing worse than being without your favorite ____ when all you want to do is take a nap but you’ve got some sightseeing to do.

If you are traveling to Dubai or any other region where pills are highly suspect and even sleeping pills can land you in jail, just stop reading this now and buy everything when you get there. Don’t risk it.

Seriously. It’s just your period. It’s not going anywhere for a while and this is a perfect excuse to taste local cocktails. Women have been dealing for centuries, and you’ve made it to this day. Get what you need, grab a drink and enjoy your adventure.

Last 5 posts by Shannon Washington