Back in our misspent youths, we were able to just hop on a flight or kick off a road trip with nothing but a few changes of clothes, a toothbrush, and some travel-sized shampoo. But somewhere along the line, the carry-on bag got a little fuller (who even knows how all those extra phone batteries and broken sunglasses got in there).
However, in midlife and during perimenopause, we can still travel light the way we used to — but we may need to update our to-pack list, as perimenopause symptoms can cause some very unwelcome detours.
While some of us skate through our perimenopause with barely a blink, others may be battling hot flashes, headaches, and a host of other unfriendly symptoms. These symptoms can be tough to deal with at home on a daily basis — but when you're on the move, on unfamiliar turf (or at an AirBNB that looked way better in the photos), staying comfortable and at ease can become difficult.
Don’t sweat it, we’ve got tips and ideas for what to pack to prepare you for your adventure, so you can feel good and be ready to have a great time.
What to pack (when traveling with perimenopause)
Your favorite water bottleWhen you're on the road, in a place where you can’t find bottled water/miles away from a friendly faucet, your water bottle will be a life saver. Not only will keeping it filled keep you hydrated (your dry skin will thank you), but you’ll also fend off dizziness, dehydration from hot flashes, and avoid having a UTI as a travel companion. Plus, you don’t have to pay $8 for a bottle of water at the airport.
Layers of clothingConsider ditching your bulky sweaters and warm pajamas on your trip and free up that space in your suitcase for light layers of clothing made of breathable fabric. Not only will it make it easier to get cool amid a sudden hot flash (and strip down quickly after a night sweat) but you’ll feel more in control of the temperature around you at all times.
A small, powerful hand fanDo not be at the mercy of your hotel thermostat or your companion who has accidentally led you a mile out of your way on a hike. Throw one of these babies into your day pack, purse, or fanny pack, and you can give yourself a cool breeze when you need it. Just don’t forget to load it up with batteries before you go.
Dry skin reliefAir travel, high altitudes, and too much sun can leave our skin feeling dry, papery, and sensitive. Schlepping around a tube of moisturizer increases your risk of having it leak all over your map, your wallet, and phone. The Cool Factor spray mist from Stripes instantly drenches your skin with squalane and Ectoine while giving a welcome cooling sensation. Pile on the SPF and you’re ready to go.
Truly comfortable walking shoesRemember the days (and nights) when we traipsed around everywhere on vacation in high-heeled sandals? We may have looked cute but let’s be real, we were actually covered in blisters and limping around on sprained ankles. And while our 25-year-old selves may cringe at the thought of ditching style for things like “arch support,” “comfort,” and “preserving our knees” we suggest embracing the joy of not giving a sh*t. Plus, lots of companies are making cute walking sneakers, shoes, and sandals these days, so you don't have to look like those pictures of your mom on your 1988 family trip to Yellowstone.
Your home sleep systemDo you rely on an eye mask? Ear plugs? A tiny white noise machine? When packing to go out of town, pack your sleep gear. Hotels may by luxurious, but you can’t control the strange sounds coming from the radiator, the light coming through the curtains at 5am, or the sounds of spring breakers drunkenly singing off-key outside your window. Travel can throw off our circadian rhythms and a lack of sleep can make our menopause symptoms worse (as well as putting us in a lousy mood). It works while you’re at home, take it with you.
Your vibratorOkay, this may not be ideal if you’re sharing a room with a friend or with (shudder) family. But if your vacation offers you some, ahem, solo time, taking some time to get reacquainted with yourself has many perimenopause-related benefits. It lowers stress, can help you get to sleep, and, perhaps most importantly, it can make you feel sexy and alive. The release of endorphins will put you in a better mood and heck, it can even help relieve pain if you’re experiencing cramps from your now totally unpredictable period!
Okay, this is an eighth thing, but when you pack your camera, don’t wait for the right moment or waste time trying to get that perfect selfie. Now that we’re older, we may wear reading glasses and get hangovers after a single glass of wine, but we’re also wiser. We know now that it’s not just how we look in our photos but remembering where we were when we took them, how we felt, and the experience of being somewhere far from home.
Photo by Vlada Karpovich/ Pexels