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When adventure calls and wanderlust takes hold, the last thing anyone wants is to be sidelined by illness. While both men and women can certainly be impacted by various illnesses while traveling, women often face certain unique factors that may make them more susceptible to certain health issues or illnesses while traveling.

Whether it’s a bout of the flu, a persistent infection, or a flare-up of a chronic condition, the challenges of handling sickness away from the comfort of home can quickly turn a joyful holiday into a nightmare.

Check out my comprehensive travel guide to women’s health, written by a travelling woman specifically for other travelling women. The advice in my guide will help you take proactive measures to prioritize your health and well-being to help mitigate the risk of health problems.

A Woman’s Guide to Staying Healthy on the Go

Health Issues Specifically Affecting Travelling Women

While many different health issues can affect men, women, and children while traveling, there are some unique health considerations that can specifically target adult women. For starters, things like dehydration and limited access to sanitary restrooms while traveling can increase the risk of UTIs in women.

We can often get a bit slack on our hygiene at times as well while travelling, especially while transiting on planes, trains, and cruises.  Poor hygiene practices can often contribute to vaginal infections like yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis, as can visiting humid regions or wearing wet swimsuits for extended periods of time.

Some women also find that traveling disrupts or alters their menstrual cycles and exacerbates symptoms such as cramping, bloating, and fatigue. Accessing common menstrual hygiene products or managing menstrual pain while traveling can also prove rather difficult in some countries or regions.

Managing pregnancy can of course also be an issue for travelling women. Travel can be stressful, which can easily intensify common pregnancy issue like fatigue, nausea, and increased risk of certain medical conditions while traveling.

Hormonal fluctuations, particularly during pregnancy or menopause, can impact a woman’s immune system to make them more vulnerable to illness. And then there is of course the fact that most airlines that require pregnant women to be less than 36 weeks pregnant to fly.  

Women traveling to regions with different cultural attitudes towards sexuality or limited access to contraceptives and reproductive healthcare may face additional challenges related to sexual health and safety. Sadly, even today’s women still face unique challenges related to cultural norms in certain countries, such as gender-based violence, access to healthcare, and reproductive rights.

Preparation: The Foundation of Travel Wellness

The key to mitigating health risks while traveling starts long before the suitcase is packed. Proper preparation can significantly reduce the likelihood of falling ill and ease the stress of coping with sickness if it does arise. For women, this involves more than just packing the right shoes and cute tops. It’s all about preparing the body and mind.

Start by visiting your local GP. Discuss your travel plans, particularly if you are venturing to regions with known health risks or ones that may require vaccinations. For those managing chronic conditions or those who take regular medications, ensure you have enough supplies for the duration of the trip, along with a surplus in case of delays which can arise from cancelled flights or natural disasters.

Remember, a health checklist is great if you have pre-existing conditions or take regular prescriptions. It can keep you organized and alert to any special care you might need while away from your usual healthcare facilities. Be sure to also disclose any pre-existing medical conditions to your travel insurance company to know whether or not issues relating to such conditions will be covered while travelling.

Review your health insurance coverage to ensure it includes international travel, or consider purchasing additional travel health insurance or a travel insurance policy that provides cover for unlimited overseas medical treatment.

Knowing what your policy covers abroad can relieve a huge burden if you need medical attention. Finally, research the health care standards and facilities in your destination. Identify the nearest hospital or clinic and how to get there. This information can be crucial in a health emergency.

Smart Packing for Women’s Health

The contents of your luggage should reflect a keen awareness of health preparedness. Beyond choosing versatile clothing and comfortable shoes, your travel bag should include a well-thought-out medical kit geared specifically for women. This kit should cater not only to general needs but also to your specific health concerns.

What to Pack in a Basic Travel Health Kit

  • Pain relievers and fever reducers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • Antidiarrheal medications and rehydration salts—are key for quick recovery from common travel-related gastrointestinal issues.
  • Allergy medications, including antihistamines and any prescribed epinephrine injectors, if you are prone to severe allergic reactions.
  • Copies of prescriptions and a note from your doctor for any controlled substances or injectable medications.
  • Basic first aid supplies such as band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and bandages.

Travel Health Products Specifically for Women to Pack

Urinary Tract Infection Prevention

Consider packing items like urinary tract infection (UTI) test strips, which can be a first line of defense in identifying symptoms of a common issue many women face while traveling. Consider bringing UTI prevention supplements or cranberry pills, as well as feminine wipes or hygiene products to maintain cleanliness.

Menstrual Hygiene Products

Pack an ample supply of tampons, pads, menstrual cups, or whatever menstrual hygiene products you prefer. It’s also wise to carry disposal bags or a small pouch for used products.

Sexual Health Items

If you plan on being sexually active or at least want to plan ahead in case you meet an exotic love in a far-off land, be sure to pack contraceptives such as condoms, birth control pills, contraceptive patches, or other forms of contraception to prevent unintended pregnancy and protect against STIs.

They also make STI test kits that allow you to test for common sexually transmitted infections discreetly and conveniently while on the go, a good option when visiting destinations that lack access to hospitals or doctors.

You may even wish to consider packing emergency contraception such as the morning-after pill as a precautionary measure in case your go-to method of contraception fails or you engage in unprotected sex unintentionally while traveling.

Dietary Vigilance and Hydration

One of the delights of traveling is experiencing new foods. However, unfamiliar cuisine can sometimes lead to health setbacks, such as food poisoning or digestive troubles. To navigate this, be vigilant about where and what you eat. In areas where food safety is a concern, opt for meals cooked and served hot, avoid raw vegetables and fruits you can’t peel yourself, and steer clear of undercooked meats and seafood.

Hydration is also key to staying healthy while traveling. Dehydration can exacerbate minor illnesses and sap your energy, turning an exciting trip into a draining ordeal. Always have a bottle of water at hand, and in regions where tap water is unsafe, ensure that you use bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth.

Eating wisely and staying hydrated can bolster your resilience against common travel ailments, keeping you energized and ready to explore. While enjoying local delicacies is part of the travel experience, maintaining a balance is key to keeping your body in tune.

Be mindful too that women may be more prone to drink spiking while travelling, especially those travelling solo. Educate yourself about the signs of drink spiking, such as sudden dizziness, confusion, loss of consciousness, or memory lapses. If you suspect someone has been drugged, seek medical attention immediately.

Ways to arm yourself against potential drink-spiking include keeping an eye on your drinks at all times and avoid leaving them unattended. If you need to step away, ask a trusted friend you may be traveling with to watch your drink or simply take it with you.

You can also stick with drinks that come in sealed containers, such as bottles or cans, rather than open or mixed drinks that are more susceptible to tampering.

Managing Women-Specific Health Issues Remotely


Traveling presents unique health challenges for women, particularly when it comes to conditions like urinary tract infections, yeast infections, or complications related to menstruation or pregnancy.

Such issues can arise unexpectedly and cause significant discomfort. Therefore, having a game plan for online medical consultations can be a lifesaver, especially in places where immediate access to quality healthcare is limited.

Telehealth has revolutionized the way travelers can access medical care. Online services can be particularly useful for addressing women-specific issues that don’t necessarily require an emergency room visit but need prompt medical advice.

For example, if you suspect a UTI, online platforms allow you to meet with a doctor, describe your symptoms, and, if appropriate, receive a prescription without ever leaving your hotel room. Most telehealth providers offer video calls or chat consultations, which can be accessed through your smartphone or laptop.

Women traveling alone or in remote areas might find telehealth especially beneficial. It offers privacy and convenience while avoiding the stress of finding and visiting local clinics. Many telehealth platforms are equipped to handle various common travel-related health issues so that they can be your first point of contact for non-emergency situations.

Remember, it’s possible to get fast online UTI treatment, including prescriptions, through companies that offer telehealth. Ensuring you have access to reliable internet and knowing how to reach these services can improve your travel experience.

Coping with Illness Away from Home

Despite all precautions, illness can still strike when you’re far from the comforts of home. Knowing how to manage symptoms and where to seek help can mitigate the impact on your travel plans.

If you find yourself feeling unwell, the first step is to assess the severity of your symptoms. For minor ailments like colds, headaches, or mild allergic reactions, your travel health kit should suffice to manage symptoms until you recover.

However, don’t hesitate to seek professional medical help for more severe or prolonged symptoms. Contact the nearest clinic or hospital that you identified during your trip preparation.

Language barriers can pose a significant challenge for non-native speakers in these situations. It’s helpful to have a translation app or a phrasebook handy, or even better, access to a local guide or concierge services that can assist with communication.

If you’re too ill to venture out, many hotels offer doctor-on-call services that can provide immediate care or guidance. Alternatively, reaching out to your embassy or consulate can help in directing you to vetted medical facilities or providing assistance in emergencies.


Travel is one of life’s greatest pleasures, offering unparalleled experiences and the joy of exploring new cultures. However, being far from home means being prepared to handle health issues independently.

Staying informed and proactive about your health needs will better safeguard you against travel illnesses and other health complications, ensuring that your travel stories are about the sights you saw and the adventures you had, not the ailments you endured.

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 100+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



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