What Do I Do If I Have My Period On Vacation? 'Cause Sometimes Aunt Flo Drops In Without A Warning

You’ve spent months planning the perfect vacation. Maybe you’re headed to the beach in the Caribbean; maybe you’re going mountain climbing; maybe you’re headed to a country halfway ‘round the world that you’ve never visited before. For the purpose of this article, let’s go to my ideal vacation spot. Picture yourself lounging on the porch of your rented house on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. You have a cocktail on the side table, a book in your hand, and you’re looking out over the blue waters of the lake and the volcanoes that rise up beyond them. You couldn’t possibly be more content. Until you go to the bathroom. And see that tell-tale reddish-brown spot in your underwear. You were definitely not planning on having your period on vacation.

You realize that the air travel must have messed up your cycle and your period has come way earlier than you planned. Because you’re usually really regular, you didn’t even think to pack tampons and now your perfect vacation is suddenly marred with the panic and stress of trying to figure out WTF you’re going to do about Aunt Flo's early visit.

But don’t stress yet! Just because you’re in a remote village with no general store that can only be accessed by boat does not mean you are doomed to spend the rest of your perfect vacation in the bathroom, sitting in the bathtub to avoid staining any of the lovely throw pillows that are strewn about the house. There are solutions for what to do when your period suddenly descends during your perfect vacation, wherever it may be.

1. Don’t Be Ashamed

First step: Don’t be ashamed. We’re taught from a young age that our periods are something to be ashamed of but it’s time to drop that nonsense. Half of the world goes through the exact same thing you’re going through right now so there is absolutely nothing to be be ashamed of. Your period is a (sometimes annoying) natural process that your body goes through once a month — and that’s it.

2. Ask Around

So if 50 percent of the world gets their period, chances are that one of those 50 percent is near you and has a spare tampon or pad in their purse. Ask the ladies around you if they could help a sister out. I employed this one recently when my period suddenly appeared while I was at a music festival. I asked the first girl I saw who had a backpack and suddenly my super stressful situation was resolved!

3. Make A Makeshift Pad

If no one around you has a spare (or you’re all on your lonesome), it’s time to make a makeshift pad while you get yourself to the store. Jezebel’s Erin Gloria Ryan has a great tutorial on how to make a makeshift pad. She recommends starting with other disposal, absorbent things like a spare sock or gauze from a first aid kit. If neither of those is available, she’ll walk you through how to turn a whole bunch of toilet paper into a temporary pad.

4. Look Up How To Say “Tampon” On Google Translate

If you’re in a country where English isn’t the language, it’s time to turn to your new best friend, Google Translate. Look up how to say “tampon” in the local language and, as a backup, image search it too and take a screenshot too. That way, when you do finally make it to the store, you can try out your new language skills and also use the picture for reference. For this step, please also refer to number one when dealing with store clerks.

5: Treat Yo’ Self!

Once you’ve got the tampon/pad situation worked out, it’s time to treat yo’ self! You’re already on vacation so chances are you already had plans for this step. Having your period should be an excuse every month to indulge yourself; I personally eat whatever I want, drink too much, and take chocolate to the face for a couple of days. If you have vacation-period, overdo everything you were planning on doing anyway. Read all damn day. Drink all the cocktails. Indulge in local sweets. You deserve it after that epic odyssey you took to procure your tampons.

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