Health Tips For Female Travellers
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Vaginal HealthUnluckily for us girls, thrush is really common in hot countries. You’re also even more likely to get it if you’re taking particular antimalarials, antibiotics, or just due to the general stresses of travelling and living in an unfamiliar place. We know that thrush can be more than just uncomfortable at the best of times, and this is made much worse if you’re on the move. The best advice we can give you is to wear loose-fitting cotton pants (no nylon!) with comfy skirts or trousers to keep cool and comfortable. Make sure you always travel with a good thrush cream like Canesten and some ibuprofen for the swelling in your hand luggage, so that you can tackle thrush if it happens.
If you’re worried about Auntie Flo calling and spoiling the mood while you’re out there being adventurous, then there are some things that you can do. If it’s a really special or important trip, you can order period delay pills from the Superdrug Online Doctor service. If you’re going on a short break, this is a great way to put off Mother Nature for a while. If you’re on the combined contraceptive pill, then you can choose to take your pills back-to-back to skip your period instead. But remember: this is only the case with the combined pill, and it won’t work with the progesterone only pill.
Travelling can also make your period pain worse, and it’s miserable feeling unwell when you’re on the road, so bring enough painkillers in case it gets really bad.
Remember to pack enough tampons and/or sanitary towels for your whole trip away. You can’t always rely on being able to get everything you need while you’re out there, especially if you’re heading to a developing country or to areas of desert or jungle. Don’t get caught out by your period on that backpacking trip of a lifetime.
try to dispose of your sanitary products in an environmentally friendly
and discreet way if you’re staying somewhere where you can’t sort this
out in the loo. Also, try to be aware that there may be different
cultural and religious attitudes towards menstruation depending on where
you are. In some countries, women who are menstruating will be
forbidden from entering places of worship.
Think you might get lucky while you’re out there? Whilst travelling, just like when you’re at home, you should always prepared for wherever the night can take you. Remember to stay safe, make sure you’ve always got enough cash on you to travel home from wherever you go, and to always use condoms and/or dental dams to protect yourself against STDs.
For the trip, pack more than enough of your usual contraceptive pill, and always take plenty of condoms from home because you can’t rely on the ones abroad to be of a high enough standard or quality. You can also order a spare morning after pill from Superdrug Online Doctor (link) to take in your sponge bag, just to be on the safe side!
Deep Vein ThrombosisIf you’re using the contraceptive patch, pills, vaginal rings or injections then you will have a higher risk of getting Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) during flights or long trips. Check out our page on DVT for some handy tips (link) on staying mobile and avoiding DVT while you travel.
Everyone is in a fairly vulnerable position while they’re travelling, especially if you’re alone and experiencing a totally new culture. Unfortunately, it is still the case that the female traveller, whether alone or with girlfriends, is more at risk of attacks. Stay extra vigilant against pickpockets and other attacks, and make sure you’ve done your homework on wherever it is you’re planning to visit by reading up on potential risks in that area. Your personal safety is the most important thing to protect while you’re travelling abroad, so take a look at some of our tips for staying safe as a female traveller:
- Be aware that some criminals will target women especially. Always keep your wits about you and bring a rape alarm and a torch in your handbag at all times.
- Meeting new and exciting people is one of the best things about travelling, and we don’t want to spoil your fun, but do be wary of strangers and don’t put yourself in any potentially dangerous situations with new people.
- Make a list of all the phone numbers and emails of your emergency contacts at home and abroad (including your bank’s emergency phone numbers). Leave a copy of this with someone at home and carry one with you too! You’ll need to be sure that you can reach help even if you lose your phone and all your contacts from it. Do the same with a photocopy of your passport.
- Let people know where you’re going! Try to email your family and friends regularly to keep them updated on a long trip. As well as making sure they know where you are in case anything should happen, this will serve as an excellent travel diary to look back on once you’re home with the post-holiday blues! The same goes with informing the local authorities, embassies and foreign office if you’re planning to visit somewhere that’s potentially hairy, or you’re going anywhere alone.
- Travel light: travelling with big heavy bags means you’re less mobile and more likely to get tired or sprain an ankle. If you can, try to travel with as little as possible so that you can get out of potentially dangerous situations quickly and easily and be less vulnerable to pickpocketing or threatening situations.
- If you’re unmarried and worried about getting any unwanted attention, why not slip a fake wedding ring around your finger to fend it off. (Of course, feel free to take this off again if you do so happen to meet the man/woman of your dreams!)
- Be aware of where you’re going. Don’t get caught out by culture shock: attitudes and practices towards women vary hugely from place to place. Make sure you know as much as possible about local customs and values so that you can be respectful and are always respected in the appropriate way.