By Silja Elsener (text, illustration & photos)
Silja gets her periods while travelling. Undrinkable tap water, long travel days and dirty toilets at bus stations pose a number of challenges. Now she has great tips and tricks for you about your period when traveling.
I get my first period in the only place so far where the tap water is undrinkable. After all, we have our own little bathroom in our simple cabin on the beach. However, I now have to go to the toilet with a bottle of drinking water because I don't trust the tap water. It takes ages to empty the cup at first, and I'm far from dexterous with water bottle in hand. After a few tries, however, it works wonderfully.
Although my travel companion and I know each other very well by now, I find it uncomfortable that our bathroom doesn't have a real door. There is only one curtain which is too small to completely obscure the view of the toilet, everything can be heard and seen. I would like to be more confident about it.
I get my second period the night before a 16-hour travel day, a dream come true. With PINKEN PEARLS in my luggage, however, I can bear it quite well, but I'm afraid that my cup will be too full and I won't have the opportunity to empty it. Our first bus arrives with the usual delay and when we finally arrive at the next bus terminal, all that remains is a very quick toilet stop in the dirty bus station toilet, I can't do anything.
When we finally stand in front of the ticket counter after a long queue, I'm really happy that the bus is already fully booked and we have to wait two hours for the next one. We sit down in a cheap restaurant right next to the terminal, eat something and I calmly go to the toilet.
My menstrual cup has proven itself, was reliable as always and has now also been tested on buses, snorkeling and surfing. It also worked quite well with the handling. I even managed to sterilize the cup (in the microwave since no clean cups and nice and sneaky without feeling awkward - see Tips & Tricks for menstrual cups on the go). I never unpacked the other three cups, but I still think it makes sense to have a backup.
Advantages over tampons & pads
Less volume and weight in the luggage
Suitable for all activities (also for beach days or water sports like surfing)
The cup only needs to be emptied in the morning and evening if the menstruation is not too heavy
Travel more sustainably: Disposable menstrual products create a lot of waste
Tips & tricks for the menstrual cup on the go
Take a bottle of drinking water with you to the restroom in case there is no sink or clean water in the cabin (and hand sanitizer so you can thoroughly sanitize your hands before going out)
Alternatively: empty and rinse the cup in the shower
Sterilization also works in the microwave (if there is one at the appropriate place): cup in a cup with enough water, possibly a spoon on it to weigh it down and into the microwave for approx. 5 minutes (at 800 watts)