8 Tips for Vacationing During Menopause
Menopause is an overwhelming time, and it makes many women feel completely out of control of their bodies. Lots of menopausal women stop traveling altogether, for fear that a hot flash will strike while they aren’t at home. If you’ve stopped going on trips because you’re going through menopause, we’re here to tell you that traveling during menopause is totally possible — it just takes proper preparation. Here are our top eight tips for successfully going on vacation during perimenopause and menopause:
Bring remedies in your carry-on.
Just as with any other medication, you should bring enough menopause relief products with you to last the entire trip, plus a couple of extra days in case you get delayed. This is true for both prescription medications as well as over-the-counter supplements; don’t rely on them being available at your destination. If you are flying, these should be in your carry-on (preferably your under-the-seat bag) so that you won’t be separated from them. If you are driving, put them in a secure place where they won’t accidentally fall out of the car during stops.
Choose breathable clothes.
Wearing clothes that don’t let your skin breathe will make you uncomfortable and can even trigger a hot flash. Try to pack mostly lightweight cotton clothes, which is one of the most breathable fabrics available. You should bring multiple outfits, including a couple of sets of pajamas, so that you can change if you sweat through your clothes. If you like to travel light and prefer not to pack as many clothes, try to book a place with a washing machine so that you can do a load mid-trip.
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Prioritize cooler destinations and seasons.
Traveling during the summer or to very hot destinations can worsen your menopause symptoms and make your trip very unpleasant. Instead, prioritize cooler destinations and try to go when temperatures are more moderate. Escaping to the opposite hemisphere is a great way to miss out on the unbearable summer months at your home.
If you are set on going to a hotter destination, plan your itinerary so that most activities take place in the morning or evening hours, avoiding the hottest times in the middle of the day. Try to do as many indoor activities as possible to minimize your time outside.
Be prepared for erratic periods.
During perimenopause, you may still get your period, but it tends to come at erratic times — meaning that it could strike in the middle of your vacation (and probably while you are wearing those cute white linen pants, at that). We recommend bringing a small supply of menstrual products with you, even if it’s been a while since you had a period. This will ensure that you have what you need on hand to get through the first couple of days of your period in case you start menstruating while you are traveling.
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Avoid common triggers.
Most people like to indulge in food and drink when they are on vacation. Unfortunately, most common treats, including alcohol, sweets and spicy food, are all known to trigger menopausal bloating, hot flashes and other symptoms. We recommend limiting your consumption of these foods and drinks as much as possible in order to make your trip the best experience possible.
If you do want to chance the occasional trigger treat, make sure that you are prepared for the symptoms that might follow. Try to time your indulgence so that you don’t have any activities immediately afterward — for instance, have a drink at dinner before heading back to your hotel; this will give you a chance to rest if your menopause symptoms do occur.
Guard against brain fog.
Menopause-induced brain fog can make planning really difficult, not to mention cause you to forget essential items like tickets and passports. If you have a travel companion who doesn’t also have brain fog, outsourcing the planning to them is a good idea to ensure that you don’t forget anything essential.
If you like to travel alone or with friends who are also going through menopause, choose nearby destinations that you can drive to and keep your itinerary more open-ended. This will give you the flexibility to navigate brain fog episodes without upsetting your vacation plans.
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Manage your stress.
Travel can be stressful, especially if you tend to pack your itinerary full of time-sensitive activities. This can cause a lot of stress, which is, unfortunately, a trigger for menopause symptoms, including hot flashes. We recommend spacing out your itinerary and giving yourself plenty of time to deal with unexpected delays, whether that’s missing luggage or having a hot flash. You should also make time for relaxing activities, such as doing meditation, fitting in your pelvic floor exercises or getting a massage. This will help keep your menopause symptoms in check and help you enjoy your vacation even more.
Control what you can.
One of the most stressful things about travel is that so many things are out of your control. We recommend planning an itinerary that will give you more control rather than less. For instance, a vacation rental with a full kitchen will allow you to prepare meals instead of gambling at a local restaurant. Driving instead of flying will allow you to stop whenever you need to use the restroom. By making choices that keep more factors in your control, you will be better equipped to deal with the curveballs that travel throws your way.
Going through menopause doesn’t mean that you have to put your entire life on hold, and that includes your travel plans. Follow these tips to make traveling during menopause as pleasant and stress-free as possible.