Dealing with your Period on Vacation

Sorry, y’all — you usually can’t stop your period for vacation. Dealing with your period on vacation doesn’t have to be the worst!

I know it sounds awful though. You’re on a flight to paradise and start feeling a little crampy, so you might think “My period is going to ruin my vacation!” But it doesn’t have to!

I travel on my period all the time and these tips for dealing with your period on vacation always get me through. I may have bled on a few ancient sites, plane seats, and even all over Graceland, but I lived to tell the tale. And you can, too.

Here are my tips for dealing with your period on vacation:

See also:

Talk with your OB / GYN

The best thing you can do if you want to delay your period for your vacation is to talk to your doctor. She might be able to suggest a birth control option (those hormones work wonders!) for pushing back your menstrual cycle. If you take the pill, this might be easier than if you have an implant or an IUD like me.

Download an APP

The number one tip for dealing with your period on vacation is simply planning ahead.

First things first: download an app, so you know when Aunt Flow is gonna show. I just use whatever free version is available on the app store. Some might prefer the good ole’ circle a day on the calendar.

If you’re irregular, this might be not the most helpful. That’s fine. Proceed to step two.

dealing with your period on vacation

smiling — and bleeding — at Windsor Castle

Buy a Diva Cup

If not a Diva Cup, a Soft Disk, or something similar. The market is now flooded with options. And sure, you may have heard a few Diva Cup horror stories (did your friend’s sister’s cousin REALLY have her cup suction to her cervix while camping in Costa Rica?), but they really are life-changing.

90% of the stress of having your period on vacation will just disappear if you just get a Diva Cup already.

The TL;DR version of what I’m obsessed with mine is that they save you tons of money on period supplies (I haven’t bought tampons since 2016!), are hella eco-friendly, and make periods basically stress-free.

When I studied abroad in Rome, ½ of my backpack was filled with tampons because finding the kind I liked in Italy was going to be difficult. Europe doesn’t do plastic applicators (or any applicators at all) and 20-year-old me was not ready to take on a brave new world with my vagina during my study abroad semester.

If I had a Diva Cup, I could’ve brought more snacks with me instead.

Don’t be like me. Buy a Diva Cup. Bring more snacks.

Can you tell when a Diva Cup is full?

You can. Before I got my IUD, I filled my Diva Cup about twice a day. Since then, my periods are shorter and lighter, so I change it every night before I go to sleep and that’s it. It’s hard to explain, but in the same way you feel that heaviness in your pelvis when a tampon needs to come out, you’ll know with your cup, too.

Can you use an IUD and menstrual cup at the same time?

Yes, you can. I promise that using your menstrual cup isn’t going to suction your IUD straight down through your cervix. The main reason is that the cup sits low in your vagina, but the IUD is all the way up inside your uterus, on the other side of your cervix. If you are worried about suction or any pain, stick your finger inside your vagina to break the seal on your menstrual cup before you pull it out. You’ll hear the “hiss” or “squelch” (but idk that sounds a little intense), to know you’ve done it.

This way, when you pull out the cup, there is no suction or pain. My OB/GYN said she uses a Soft Disk instead of a cup with her IUD because it is more comfortable for her.

I usually check my IUD strings at the end of each period, just to make sure everything is where it’s supposed to be. I have had my IUD since 2019 and have not experienced any issues using an IUD and menstrual cup at the same time.

Have you ever dropped your menstrual cup in the toilet?

Nope! I’m so used to the changing order now that I hardly think about it, but at the beginning, I always put a second hand underneath my first to catch it, just in case.

Can you change your menstrual cup anywhere?

Yes! You don’t even need running water to swap out a diva cup. I had my period in the Australian Outback and swapped it out in a field. I just used hand sanitizer, pulled it out, dumped it, wiped it with a paper towel, and popped it back in.

I don’t really ever want to do that again, but it worked out just fine.

Do you have any Diva Cup horror stories?

When I first got my Diva Cup, I cried about inserting it. It was overwhelming, but I wasn’t going to let my period ruin my vacation, so I persevered. My older sister stood outside the door encouraging me lol. Once at Graceland, I did drop it on the floor in the bathroom, splashing blood everywhere. That was traumatic. I didn’t put it back inside me until I boiled it.

Bring along a “period” towel for accidents

I do this at home too because I’m lazy AF and don’t feel like changing my sheets every time I spring a leak.

Bringing a towel along can also save you from the potentially awkward situation of waking up on the Japanese flag in your hotel room and trying to convince the cleaning ladies that, no, a murder did not in fact occur. So just bring an old towel with you, fold it in half for extra protection, and rest well.

Go for a walk to help with cramps

Chilling in your bunk with some chocolate and your laptop as a makeshift heating pad might be all you want to do if you have your period on vacation, but that’s just it…you’re on vacation, so you don’t want to miss out.

Also, exercise is the best thing for getting rid of cramps while on your period because the movement can help loosen the blood clots that give them to you in the first place.

So take two Midol, and take a walk around the Louvre, the Great Wall, or the Costa Rican jungle — you got this.

See also:

dealing with your period on vacation

selfie at the Hagia Sophia…you can’t tell but I’m basically bleeding out

Take a nap if you’re feeling tired

If you’re like me, you’re usually grumpy when you’re on vacation on your period because it exhausts you — like going to bed at 9:00PM, sleeping for 10 hours, and then still need a nap the next day exhausted. So combining that with the regular tiredness from exploring all day can be a disaster.

But you don’t have to let it go that far.

While wallowing in bed all day is not the answer (as stated above) you can do a few things to protect yourself:

  • Drink extra water (hello Camelbak).
  • Avoid alcohol (I’m a sleepy drunk, so this is especially important for me).
  • Schedule slow mornings. Spend a little time pampering yourself before breakfast to set yourself up for a great day.
  • Hoard snacks in your purse. Snacks are always a good idea – even when you’re bleeding out—as they provide an instant energy boost.

But seriously. Take a nap. Just don’t sleep the day away.

See also:

Carry wet wipes for your period on vacation

Accidents happen. Even if you have the foolproof Diva Cup, you don’t want to find yourself covered in blood in a public restroom with no way to clean yourself up.

This 100% happened to me y’all — I almost turned Graceland into that one scene from The Shining. Part of dealing with your period on vacation is being prepared and let me tell you, some wet wipes would have come in REAL HANDY. They are also good to have around in case travel tummy strikes.

Become a pro at dealing with your period on vacation. Always pack your wet wipes.

dealing with your period on vacation

Graceland….where disaster strikes

Set an Alarm

As a last resort, if you are still worried about bleeding all over the hotel’s sheets while you sleep, even with your towel in place, set an alarm for once every three or four hours so you can get up to take care of yourself.

A quick warning: if you’re staying in a dorm, those around you might hate you, so be prepared. That said, if they give you any lip about it, you have my full permission to bleed on them and everything they love.

How do you manage dealing with your period on vacation? 

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dealing with your period on vacation


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  1. Debbie
    February 3, 2017 / 8:47 AM

    This article makes me want a Diva Cup even though I don’t have periods anymore. Great advice. Wish Diva Cups were available in the 70’s and 80’s when I was backpacking through Europe. Would have been a game changer.

  2. March 4, 2017 / 3:00 PM

    I have been wanting to try the diva cup for forever, but have been too lazy. Really should try it! The only thing worse then your period while traveling, is your period when camping – so terrible!

    • March 4, 2017 / 10:36 PM

      omg!! I hate camping already so I can’t even imagine how bad that would be haha.

  3. March 4, 2017 / 3:12 PM

    Hahahah I love this! I alllllways get my period at the most annoying of times. I’ve been terrified to try a Divacup but living in Costa Rica and dealing with the heat makes everything else even worse so it might be time that I try one. Thanks for the other advice…makes me feel better knowing I’m not the only paranoid one 😉

    • March 4, 2017 / 10:37 PM

      That’s so ironic because I’m coming to Costa Rica in May and I’ll probs be on my period then haha. You got this girl!

  4. Chiara
    March 4, 2017 / 3:18 PM

    I was thinking about this topic today 😀 Really love this article! I unfortunately tend to get my period when I’m travelling, this is luck….

    • March 4, 2017 / 10:37 PM

      Thank you for reading! Glad (sad??) to know we are in the same unlucky period boat haha.

  5. March 4, 2017 / 3:29 PM

    OMG love this post girl!

    I have been in the Japanese flag situation more times than I care to admit 🙁 I have never heard of the Diva Cup. I moved to the US from India and I have been thinking of Tampons as a god-send, I am so excited (and nervous) to try this. Happy travels!


    • March 4, 2017 / 10:38 PM

      Thanks for reading!!! The Diva Cup is like the cool older sister of tampons. I’ll be writing a more in-depth post on it soon. Keep an eye out 🙂

  6. Sophie
    March 4, 2017 / 5:18 PM

    I’m super stressed about trying the Diva Cup (no idea why) but will definitely have to give it a go after reading so many amazing things about it!

    • March 4, 2017 / 10:39 PM

      It was hard at first!! There is def a steep learning curve. So if it hurts or is hard to use at first, don’t give up. You’ll figure it out.

  7. Heather
    March 4, 2017 / 8:48 PM

    I switched to the Diva Cup about 10 years ago–while traveling–and I’ve NEVER looked back. I own three different cups now and love them all.

  8. Chylser
    May 17, 2018 / 5:46 AM

    I just got my period, and I’m not sure what to do, I have looked across website and, because I’m considered, “young” I have no pads, ect. I’m going on a trip soon and I really don’t know what to do.

    • Chylser
      May 17, 2018 / 5:47 AM

      I don’t feel comfortable telling anyone close to me, because I really have no one close to me (except my cat).

      • June 3, 2018 / 9:34 PM

        Hi Chylser! Can you buy some pads from the local supermarket or buy some on Amazon?

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