The first time I used a menstrual cup, I was crammed into a tiny airplane bathroom on a long-haul flight to Indonesia. I stood staring at the tiny silicone cup for at least five minutes, desperately wishing I had brought some tampons instead. Figuring out how to put it where it needed to go seemed like Mission: Impossible, and I didn’t feel up to the challenge.
I’d thrown the cup into my bag on a last-minute whim, leaving the instruction sheet at home. I was completely convinced I’d love it – but I’d expected my period to come after I’d settled into my hostel and done a bit of research, not while I was 35,000 feet up in the sky with no clue what I was doing.
After a solid twenty minutes of struggling, I eventually managed to get the cup into place. I was happy I’d made it work, but I swore I’d throw it out as soon as the plane landed and I could find some tampons!
Fast forward two-and-a-half years, and my menstrual cup has a permanent place in my toiletries kit. It’s seen me through more adventures than I can count – hiking an active volcano in Guatemala, kayaking through Halong Bay, going for a ride on the world’s biggest swing in New Zealand – and I have no intention of ever switching back to tampons or pads.
In fact, investing in a menstrual cup might just be the single best suggestion I have for my fellow female travelers. I could go on for days about all the reasons I think they’re fantastic, but let me try to sum it up for you:
Menstrual Cups cause Less Stress
You might think that sticking to tampons and pads is less hassle than trying a menstrual cup, but trust me when I say conventional period products are probably causing you way more stress than you realize!
When you’re using a cup, there’s no need to worry about things like where to discard your used period products or if you have an extra tampon on hand. Simply clean out the cup, re-insert it, and you’re good to go.
This also saves you the trouble of trying to buy tampons while you’re abroad. It can be very hard to find what you’re looking for (especially in Asia!) and it’s no fun trying to explain you need tampons when you don’t speak the language.
Menstrual Cups Take up Less Space in your Luggage
This one is a big deal if you like to go on long trips, but even a single month’s supply of tampons or pads can take up quite a lot of room in your luggage. Switching to a menstrual cup will lighten your load or give you a bit of space for an extra bikini or pretty scarf.
Menstrual Cups are Better for your Health
Unfortunately, most tampons and pads contain chemicals and toxins that have been linked to cancer and other health problems. Menstrual cups are made of medical-grade silicon, so you can rest assured that they’re safe for your body. And unlike tampons, they don’t pose the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) if you leave them in for more than 8 hours!
Menstrual Cups are Less Expensive than Tampons
Back when I used tampons, I’d spend about $10 for a single month’s worth. A menstrual cup costs around $30, and will last a year or longer! That’s $90 of savings right there.
Menstrual Cups create Less Waste than Pads and Tampons
Picture how much waste you create every year by throwing away your pads or tampons and their wrappers. Now imagine that you could replace all that waste with a single piece of silicon smaller than your fist! This is especially important if you’ll be visiting developing countries that don’t have efficient waste disposal systems in place – you’ll feel a lot better knowing that you’re minimizing your contribution to the problem.
Menstrual Cups give toy More worry-free adventure time
When it comes right down to it, this is why I’ll be sticking with my menstrual cup for good. It’s never leaked and it only needs to be changed every 12 hours, so I can spend the whole day adventuring without having to think about my period even once! Instead of worrying about my monthly visitor, I have the freedom to focus on where I am, what I’m doing, and who I’m with.
Switching to a menstrual cup might be intimidating at first, but I promise that the pay-off is so worth it. Do you agree with me? We’d love to hear from you!
by Melissa Earl
Melissa is a digital nomad who's been on the road for the last two years, is obsessed with packing as cleverly as possible, and I has a genuine passion for helping people travel in a way that's as comfortable, enjoyable, and responsible.