Should I… Pack 6 Months of Tampons?

It’s quite common for female travelers to question how much personal product they should pack with them for an upcoming trip. It’s even more of a question when the upcoming trip involves some not-so-much-like-home places… perhaps India, Cambodia, Mongolia and the like.

So, what do you do? Should you pack 6 months of tampons into your backpack, taking up precious space and adding to the list of items you have to shuffle around when trying to find what you’re looking for?

Hmm… this is a hard one for me to answer as it all depends on the type of person you are.

Who Packing Extra Tampons Might Be Right For

tamponsYou see, there are some females that are very particular about their brand of tampon. While you will probably be able to find a brand of tampon in most countries (at least in bigger cities), it might not be your preferred brand. To girls that worry about issues like this, you might want to pack some extra tampons.

If the thought of having to go without tampons scares you, then you also might benefit from packing extras. Some countries, or more rural cities, may not have tampons, but only pads, readily available in the shops. Another possibility is that tampons might only be available in the pharmacy, over the counter (this is true for Kyrgyzstan), and that can lead to a bit of stress when that time of the month rolls around.

If the thought of having tampons without applicators is an issue, you may want to pack a supply of tampons. I’m not sure about most countries as I’ve done most of my traveling with a menstrual cup, but Australia is one that tends to market tampons that you have to insert manually. Yep, no plastic applicators to toss here.

Alternatives to Stock Packing

menstrual cupThere are a couple of ways to bypass the need to over-pack personal products. One would be to have a friend or family member send you a care package with extra stock. Another would be to switch to a reusable menstrual cup.

Of course, both of these might not be options for everybody. If you’re traveling to many places with little downtime, it is risky to have a package sent from the other side of the globe. But, if you happen to know someone living at one of your destinations, you may be able to use their address for package collection.

The menstrual cup is a great, eco-friendly device, but for those that are a bit squeamish when it comes to their period, these are probably not the product for you. Even though I love my menstrual cup and feel safer wearing it over tampons, I understand that not everyone can handle it.

Another option to consider are the sea sponge tampons, which again, might not be for everyone. However, they are natural and unique – and will save you packing space and weight!

What about you? Have you had any experience with feminine products overseas?

Photo credit: 1, 2.

16 COMMENTS

  1. says

    omg! When I traveled abroad to Europe, I was so distraught that I could not find plastic applicators. I don’t mind NOT having an applicator, but it was the cardboard applicators that were the worst!

  2. says

    I thought it was so adorable… I was friends with a Japanese exchange student in high school. She liked her own brand of tampons from Japan, that she had her mom ship them to her in America every month! Dedication!

  3. Caiti says

    When I went for an exchange year in Japan I was so worried that i wouldn’t be able to get tampons, either because of lack of availability, or because my Japanese language skills weren’t good enough. I ended up packing an entire years worth and it took up a lot of room in my one suitcase that also had to hold a years worth of clothes ect. Kind of wish I had know about the diva cup then…

    • says

      Oh Caiti, I want to laugh, but as a female traveler, I know the worry involved with finding the right supplies when you travel ;) At least you know about it now, and it is a useful device whether you’re traveling or not.

  4. Sammy says

    I’m from Australia and I travelled to the US for 3 months with my own supply of tampons because they didn’t take up much room at all. One day while I was over there a work colleague asked if I could spare her a tampon and the look on her face when I handed her one was priceless. I’d never heard of an ‘applicator’ before. She was horrified that we insert them manually. Needless to say the tampons without applicators are a lot easier to pack because a box of 20 is so small :-)

  5. says

    Hi girls :)

    Well, to be honest I always make sure to pack at least one medium sized packet of tampons just to make me feel more comfortable. Once you get familiar with wherever you are, you might most definitely find a place where you can purchase tampons – obviously. However, bringing your own to make sure you’re good for at least one month is probably not a bad idea.

  6. A says

    I am curious – The Cup. How do you wash/clean it in a public bathroom? Do you walk out of the stall, rinse it in the sink, then go back in the stall to re-insert it? How do you conceal your bloody hands when you have to do so? Someone educate me on these mysteries, they’re keeping me awake at night. :P

  7. Jess says

    In public toilets its easier to wipe it out and reinsert. If you really want to rinse it first then a water bottle can let you dampen the toilet paper before wiping or you can use the disabled toilet as the sink is in the stall.
    I’ve been using a LadyCup for years and love it, it’ll be nice and easy to use on our 2 month Europe trip.

    I’m in Australia and had a good giggle about the applicator debacle. They do exist here but they’re not very common, most of my female friends find them more difficult and messy to use.

  8. Caz says

    Another Aussie here. Wouldn’t be without my Diva cup! Love it so much and have converted my two daughters to them as well.
    Really, there’s no ‘bloody hands’ and a quick wipe out with some tp is all that is needed during public toilet visits and a thorough wash in the shower each day.
    When I was younger I gave the applicator tampons a go and HATED them – my goodness the marketing gurus are adept at making us think such a thing as menstruation is in any way ‘unclean’.
    To me, what’s more unclean is these single use products polluting the planet with their endless manufacture-use-disposal cycles.
    Anyway – off my soapbox now – diva cups solve many travel and luggage issues!

  9. Chimera says

    I faced this difficulty when I went to Samoa for 9 weeks for a medical school elective, I even mentioned it to my lecturer (maybe too much information) who thought I was getting a bit too anxious about packing.
    In fact that trip I packed everything but toiletries etc well – I took 2 months worth of everything which I found was completely unnessary and the extra space could have been used for more insect repellant (which is hard to find and expensive).
    However because I have used applicator (cardboard, being from Aus there has only ever been cardboard until recently and now I feel plastic is a bit wasteful) tampons and Samoa is known for being a bit of a pad only society, I went ahead and took my supply.
    Needless to say the weekend of our trip to Savaii (the other island), I’d left my supply back at the hostel with the rest of my stuff, started my period and ended up in the local store buying what would pass for maternity pads that I had to tolerate for the next 2 days.
    I’m sure all tampon users would sympathise with finding pads a bit offputing, especially in 40 degree heat and high humidity.
    I’ve tried the keepcup and I just couldn’t do it, so I guess its always packing them for me and making sure I keep better track of my cycle!!

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