Keeping clean and healthy when you travel isn’t always easy so these travel personal hygiene tips are simply reminders of what we already know – but sometimes forget to at our peril. These hygiene tips for women travelers will help keep you clean and fresh while you’re on the road, and that means keeping you healthy, too.
Stay clean. This is simple, but it isn’t always easy. Clean water isn’t available everywhere, nor is a clean room or environment. Those of us from wealthier countries are more accustomed to these amenities than many of our friends in poorer countries.
Good feminine hygiene is important everywhere, but even more so in the tropics, where bacteria thrive, infections take hold with a vengeance, and English-speaking doctors may be scarce.
Wash your hands.
Staying clean and healthy while traveling is mostly a question of common sense and most infections are caught by touching dirty objects.
Always wash after using the toilet, before and after handling a tampon or pad, and after touching an animal. Wash before eating, and where possible after touching anything everyone else touches (public phone, ATM, public computer keyboard, door handles, shopping trolleys…).
Clean your nails and keep them short.
This doesn’t mean you’ll have to swear off mani-pedis but consider your destination. If you’re heading to Europe or to a major urban center, this isn’t something you’ll have to worry about quite so much. But if you are going to a place where cleanliness isn’t the rule, keeping your nails short means giving dirt and bacteria fewer places to hide.
Always use sandals or thongs when taking a shower.
You don’t know who was in that shower before you, especially if you happen to be in a hostel or sharing a bathroom, which may sometimes happen during your travels.
Be careful what you share.
Infections can spread easily so beware of sharing such things as towels, even face towels. It will be a rare place indeed that won’t have enough individual towels for everyone but if you have the slightest doubt, consider taking a travel towel with you.
Decide whether you’ll be shaving.
To shave or not to shave? This question has fueled many a discussion on travel forums. But first, understand that that in many countries, body hair on women isn’t perceived as repulsive at all.
If you’re in relatively unhygienic situations, shaving regularly makes little sense. Take a razor if you feel strongly about it and shave for special occasions. In many countries leg and underarm hair is taken care of by waxing. Try it if your hair isn’t too thick – you won’t need to do it often because less of it grows back each time.
Keep your urinary tract healthy.
Don’t avoid water just because you’re scared you might not find a toilet!
To avoid cystitis or other painful conditions, drink plenty of water, urinate whenever you need to, always wipe from front to back to avoid bacteria entering the urinary tract from the rectum into the vagina, and drink plenty of cranberry juice (if you’re in a country where it exists). To be on the safe side, carry some cranberry capsules or medicine that has worked for you.