What supplies should women pack when traveling abroad?

Traveling abroad can sometimes mean a new set of personal hygiene and health regulations, but until caught in a pinch, many female travelers may be unaware that some routine, domestic practices are not so easily taken care of when in a foreign land.

No one ever wants to get sick, but on vacation and away from home is the worst. Follow some practical tips on travel health and you can avoid the Parisian hotel doctor or the lost time in a Rome hotel bed:
  • Safe sex, even with your partner: Carry birth control pills; don't pack them, in case your luggage gets lost. Bring trustworthy condoms; local products may be inferior. If you use a diaphragm, wash it with bottled water unless you're sure of the purity of the local water supply.
  • Yeast infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs): Female travelers can get UTIs from skimping on drinking water. Yeast infections also may occur if you're taking antibiotics. Carry Monistat, Diflucan or Canesten cream or a single-dose tablet. Eat live-culture yogurt if available and always drink plenty of bottled water.
  • Menstruating overseas: Tampons are not sold in many countries, and pads are sometimes sold from a long roll and cut by a pharmacist, which may not be sanitary. Bring your own supplies.
Being prepared and proactive about your health at home and abroad is key. You may feel like you're traveling with a small pharmacy but the benefits to having what you need when you need it outweigh the inconvenience of purchasing, packing and checking some domestic supplies. The bottom line is, put your health, not your packing concerns, as a priority.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.