What about bringing lady products?

Knowing my luck, which isn't very good, I will probably start my monthly thing that we women have, while I am in Europe. So, my question is should I bring my own pads or buy them in Europe? Does airports allow for women to bring them with us? As well, what if I get cramps or something. Can I bring me a bottle or a few Ibuprofen with me? I'm not sure if you can buy Ibuprofen over in Europe? Or if the airports will allow you take Ibuprofen with you? Thanks!

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
888 posts

Megan You may take any or all of the above mentioned items. Ibuprofen is available in EU as well as all fem. hygiene products - probably your favorite one.

Posted by Emlyn
East coast, USA
49 posts

Sorry Michael. I never been to another country before. I may be ignorant to certain things, but I'm not afraid to ask questions. I have the right to ask questions and receive constructive answers. Thank you for your input.

Posted by Ilja
2732 posts

Europe is actually ahead of US in quite few things. First one which comes to my mind is public transportation.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
5687 posts

Hi Megan, Do you have a guidebook yet for any of the areas you are going to? You might find that this will answer many of your questions, whether it is about where to sleep, crime rates, what you can bring and what you can't, what to pack, what you can buy, can you drink the water, are stores open on Sundays, what is the weather like, etc.? We all like answering questions about traveling and Europe, but I think we were kind of surprised when you asked if the airports allowed women to bring their hygiene products with them. Guidebooks would have let you know something like that is kind of basic anywhere you travel. Libraries have them if you don't want to buy them.

Posted by Sylvia
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
331 posts

Bring your "fav's" because they take up very little room, the timing is Always wrong (thing Train Ride) and it would waste your travelling time "Hunting" for a shop.

Posted by Emlyn
East coast, USA
49 posts

Yea, I get what you're saying. I guess I thought that since I keep hearing about the airports being so restrictive of what a person can and can't bring with them, that maybe for some reason I wasn't allowed to bring a whole lot of lady hygiene products. I tend to over think all the time. :(

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
2084 posts

You can find everything you need there, probably the same brand even. Pads are bulky so you wouldn't want to bring a full supply, but do bring a few just in case you get caught away from a store. Things can be hard to find on Sundays in some countries. I would bring the Advil rather than take time looking for it there. It doesn't take up any room.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24148 posts

Megan, You might find it very helpful to watch THIS Video. Be ready to hit the "Pause" button at the 1:52 mark, and look at the products on the shelves. Cheers!

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
3279 posts

The products you mention may be sold in pharmacies rather than in grocery stores as in the USA. I take a bunch of ibuprofen when I travel. The mild pain relievers are often very expensive in Europe. They sometimes come in precious blister packs.

Posted by Monique
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
605 posts

Megan, I don't think Michael was trying to be rude, but I think his reply was trying to get you to pause and think. It's easy to get caught up in worrying and asking questions, and we could go on and on really: "should I bring Tylenol?" "should I bring my favorite toothpaste/deodorant/hair gel?", etc... Europeans get headaches. They get cramps. They sweat. They brush their teeth. Etc... So their basic needs, matching our basic needs, means that you can find the same basic items and shouldn't worry excessively about it. Now if you are very picky about a brand or type of product, then bring it. Personally, I cannot live without my Maybelline SuperStay 24hour liquid foundation in caramel, so I don't dare risk wondering if they have it or not; I am packing 2 of those bad boys. Or for example you mention ibuprofen. Whenever I needed meds for cramps and went to a pharmacy there, I was always given Aleve, which is an anti-inflammatory, but not the same as ibuprofen. Now if you have an allergy or preference and desire ibuprofen, then pack it. Yes you do have the right to ask whatever question you want, but at some point you have to determine your own needs and wants and think for yourself based on your personal preferences, taste, habits, etc... There is no amount of answers on this site that will help you do that. I am definitely not trying to be rude either, so I hope you see what I mean :)

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
14122 posts

If you want to buy Ibuprofen in Europe, you might want to write it out rather than say it. In Germany, Ibuprofen is E-boo-pro-fen.

Posted by Emlyn
East coast, USA
49 posts

Thank you everyone for helping me out on all my questions. I am firm believer in asking questions. I was never trying to start a riot or cause any harm. I guess you could say that I am a real young person who's just starting out, and I never had any guidance on major events such as this. My parents never had the money or opportunity to do something like this, and so they can't help me. I like how every single one of you are positive and wise! I appreciate the advice, I really do. I guess I just have to quit over thinking and live life. If I can't ever manage to go beyond the limits of my home town, then I'll never go anywhere or do anything with my life, and I don't want that. I want to be brave, strong, and experience the world. I will stop posting from now on and just go with the flow. Thank you all for being so kind. You have really made this easier. I wish you all luck and joy for years to come!! Farewell. P.S. Sorry Michael, I thought I upset you by asking my question. It seems silly, I know, but I thought I would risk asking it since I had no idea where to find that information. And thanks for helping me, Michael! You were great. :)

Posted by Monique
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
605 posts

I think my parents have been to ...Cleveland haha. So yes, I (and my sister) was the first to break the mold and travel internationally. My first trip I was a hot mess, I overpacked, read too much, over thought every possible scenario and "what if?" and STILL made mistakes once I got there. But that's all part of the experience, the good the bad and the ugly that everyone has to go through. Even good old Rick Steves had a "first" trip. I'm now planning my 7th Europe trip and I am still learning, but that small stuff now takes a back seat. So throw your favorite clothes (and some foundation and lip gloss -oh wait, that's me!) in a suitcase, hop on that plane and don't look back. You'll do fine, you'll have a great trip and in a couple months when you have gotten this first trip under your belt, we will see you posting answers to other people's questions like a pro!

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
14087 posts

Just remember the ladies of Europe have exactly the same problems as the ladies of Wikesboro and treat the problem in exactly the same manner with exactly the same products. A universal truth.

Posted by Ann
New York, NY, NY
89 posts

Megan - you can bring your female products and as big a bottle of aleve,advil or whatever as you wish. You will also be able to buy whatever you need, probably the same brand you buy at home. Michael - corporations are truly multi-national - you can buy sanitary napkins, tampons and midol in Uganda too, as well as Mombassa (Kenya) Jayapura (Papua, Indonesia) Antananarivo (Madagasar) Dakar (Senegal) Bamako or Mopti (Mali - at least you could until the recent civil war broke out). One of the things I do when I travel is visit stores, just for a look at what is on the shelves - best find was Weight Watchers frozen entrees in a grocery store in Paris...

Posted by Allen
Lafayette, LA
210 posts

I bought ibuprofen at a pharmacy in Vienna last month. It comes under the name "ibumetin forte" in 400mg tablets. It cost 6 euro for 20 tablets. Not cheap.

Posted by Deb
Sioux Falls, SD
120 posts

There's two schools of thought: pack all your own fem. products; then as you use them up, you have room for souveniers and other things. Or you can just buy stuff there, so you don't use up packing room with it to begin with. Your call. As to pills, I take daily Rx meds: I take my pharmacy labeled pill bottle and fill it with just enough pills for the trip. Then I also throw a few Ibuprofen in there. I usually take the Ibuprofen with me from the U.S. and carry it in my daypack. Sure you can buy Ibuprofen in Europe but just like at home, the moment you have a terrible headache, you will be nowhere near a pharmacy. Take it with and keep in your daybag. At the end of the day, console yourself with the fact that no matter how careful you pack, you will still think, "why didn't I bring X" (and also "why DID I bring Y, I never used it") Relax and remember that as long as you have your passport, some cash and a credit card; you can always buy what you need. Have fun.

Posted by Maggie
20 posts

Megan, since you're a young woman I'm going to give you some advice: Google "diva cup." (And there are other brands that are basically the same thing.) It might not be your thing, but if it is, it will solve this problem for you forever as it's small and packable. I'm post-menopausal, so it's not applicable to me, but if I'd known about these when I was a young woman I would have been ALL over it. If you decide it's not your thing, I'm with those in the thread who have suggested take one or two of your item of choice so you're not caught in the middle of the night, and then buy more wherever you are. Anywhere in Western Europe, you should be fine. It was a big epiphany for me in my traveling experience when I realized that anywhere I traveled (including within the U.S.), anything I "forgot" could be obtained at my destination, as I only really travel to developed countries. I am an obsessive planner, but I am of the "take enough to start and buy more there" school, partly because it helps me pack light, and partly because (as Rick Steves points out in his videos and books) it's fun to shop for these small everyday things in a different place. It really is!

Posted by Cary
Hayden, Idaho, USA
128 posts

Feminine hygiene products + male incontinence products are available almost anywhere. Cost will be less at even a small corner market than at a pharmacie.

Posted by Kira
Seattle, WA, USA
1020 posts

Okay, I am gonna "go there." I have always had issues with that stuff (medical - ICK! - all men here close your eyes and yell LA LA LA LA LA! at the top of your lungs!) and always always always bring my own. If you need something specific and are not sure you will be able to get it in Europe, then by all means pack it. I would have had a great visit to the Louvre with my mother (who I rarely get to see) ruined if I hadn't packed my own Extra Extra Long "supplies" from home. No worries at the airport, and yes, everyone is right about the Ibuprofen. But if you need something really specific and nothing else works, I say stay on the safe side, and bring 'em along. :-)

Posted by Joan
Gettysburg, PA, USA
399 posts

As long as you are in the main regions of Europe, you will be able to buy anything you need. It was only in rural Turkey that femine hygiene products were unavailable. The local women wrapped wads of cotton in gauze.

Posted by Debra
Los Angeles, CA, USA
1001 posts

Just for a totally different idea, and I don't know if this is practical or possible for you, nor do I know when or how long your trip is, etc. but you could start take The Pill before your trip, avoiding the problem all together. And, I always bring ibuprofen. As others have said, the last thing I want to do on my precious vacation time is look for a pharmacy if I get a headache. Just because something's available doesn't mean you have to leave it at home. I use a small travel bottle and it takes up no room.

Posted by Love to Travel
San Diego, CA
126 posts

Hi you can find Tampax basically anywhere in Europe, but I actually bring my own. I put it in a plastic bag and not the box. I always bring more than I usually use because traveling usually messes me system up and may have it more than normal. As for ibuprofen, you can buy the traveler size bottles that hold like 10-15 pills instead of the larger jars of 60+. Since the travel bottles aren't filled up I stuff as much in there as I can.

Posted by Roy
East Alabama
1062 posts

Very reluctantly, I have twice ... in my backpack for my wife when her carryon was full. Thank God, TSA did not pull my bag to inspect!

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2193 posts

Roy: Don't do that sort of thing, or at least don't admit it! You don't want to end up like Al Bundy...Peg was always asking him to buy tampons every time he went to the store, and all he wanted to buy was a six pack and the latest copy of Big Uns. I repeat, don't do it anymore! :)

Posted by Roy
East Alabama
1062 posts

Good point, Michael. I have now removed the trip words. Unfortunately, the post looks even worse now.

Posted by Richard
Los Angeles
998 posts

A friend of mine is pretty cheap. He went on a trip and bought a box of Super Kotex Maxi Pads to take a long. I asked him why on earth he did that and he pointed out that it said right on the box that he could go swimming, horseback riding, bicycling, running......

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2030 posts

I actually disagree with the common wisdom here. I've used the feminine hygiene products available in Germany and strongly prefer my American brand. And while pain meds are available here, you usually have to go to an actual pharmacy and ask for it at the counter, and you will occasionally meet up with pharmacists who are a little more into the 'natural, holistic' thing than we're used to in the U.S. I bring all my nice, "real" OTC meds that I think I might need with me when I travel within Europe. It saves time (finding a pharmacy, waiting in line, etc) and effort and I know for sure I'll get the product that works for me. And these sorts of things don't take up that much space in your luggage. Compared to a lot of the military families living in Europe, I'm a big advocate for shopping locally and using local products (i.e. not shopping on base) but OTC meds and hygiene products are two areas where I am fussy and prefer to use what I'm used to.

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
11065 posts

"And while pain meds are available here, you usually have to go to an actual pharmacy" There's an additional downside as well. Unlike in the US, over the counter meds are ONLY sold from a pharmacy. Also, pharmacy's operate at much more limited hours. Don't expect to find anything for that headache between the hours of 6 PM and 10 AM.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
7732 posts

"...Unlike in the US, over the counter meds are ONLY sold from a pharmacy...." At least in Holland there has been a recent change in this. You can now buy stuff like ibuprofen off the shelf like in the US, even if there isn't an in-house pharmacy. Did it at an Etos six months ago.

Posted by Rosalyn
1776 posts

One footnote to the pharmacy issue: While it's true that pharmacies have much more limited hours than in the U.S., there is always one open all night somewhere in the area. However, it might be across town, or in a rural area, in the next town. You do need to plan. The information about otc products starting to be available in supermarkets is good news for us Americans who have become accustomed to everything being available, everywhere, all the time.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
9472 posts

In Paris ONE pharacmy in every arrondissment is open late, at least midnight, some till 2am and a few 24 hrs. . Ask at hotel for the one in your area. Or google. Look at this webstie About.com.ParisTravel.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
5053 posts

In France you have to consult with a pharmacy staff person before buying some sort medication. The staff person makes the recommendation after having listened to you first. You just don't pick it off the shelf without consultation. The staff person will ask you why....all very proper and civilised. For those night time open pharmacies look for the green lighted blinking sign.

Posted by Rebecca
Nashville, TN, USA
1290 posts

Debra from Los Angeles posted, "you could start take The Pill before your trip, avoiding the problem all together." This is definitely not a solution for Megan. I have never known anyone who was "on the pill" who had their period stopped, unless it was a very very high dose used by their physician to stop endometriosis. Megan should see her physician right away if she is plagued with excessive pain accompanying her periods.

Posted by christa
alameda, ca, usa
583 posts

I pretty much bring my whole medicine cabinet with me, in smaller versions, of course. I like certain brands and would not want to be without while travelling; Advil, roll of Tums, allergy eye s, small Dove soap bar, hair products in small bottles, Midnight tablets in case of insomnia, etc. Like another poster my foundation is crucial so I take 2, one in carry-on and one in bathroom kit bag. Kit bag is 9"x6"x6" and soft so it tucks in my checked bag easily and I always have anything I might need, including small scissors, fork, spoon & bottle opener.

Posted by Stay-ce
Northern California
155 posts

I am packing my favorite female products. I am really picky about what I like. I have tried the diva cup, this is a no go for me. We would get on the pill in the Army during training situations that included field time. You skip the sugar pills and start the next pack of hormone pills, but when you stop the pills altogether or restart the sugar pills depending on your weight you can have horrible cramping. And an extremely heavy flow. If you are under weight or extremely active this doesn't seem to happen you just have your normal cycle. I never considered doing this in order to travel. Seems a little extreme to mess around with my hormones for more packing space. Thanks for the pill info everyone. I was only going to pack my cloves for digestion. But now I think I will bring some other OTC meds. :)