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3 Major Challenges I Face As A Female Traveler

We all face challenges whether we are traveling solo or with friends. But for years, I have come to realize that as a female traveler, I face more challenges than men. People always remind me to be vigilant at all times, because the world is a very dangerous place for a small girl like me. It is a sad fact that there are obstacles that only applies to women.

Wright Park | Baguio City

Burnham Park | Baguio City

Thinking about all of it, I summed up three major challenges that I currently face as a female traveler.

1. Dealing with period.

My guy friends are totally uncomfortable talking about this ‘womanly body issue’, but I am not. It is a natural thing and people should talk about it more often, especially women. If you are already uncomfortable talking about it, imagine us female travelers who have to deal with it every now and then. You see, all women have different cycles and experiences in terms of their monthly visits. Some only have to deal with it for three days, while others have to suffer for a week or two. Some girls don’t experience any pain at all, while others almost dies every month.

Escuela Catolica | Boljoon, Cebu

I, for instance, suffer from horrible menstrual cramps every month. Yes, you read that right. Every feckin’ month. When it’s already that time of the month, I really don’t have a choice but, cancel all my plans. One time I was invited to join a rock climbing activity with other travel bloggers, but because my period arrived that day, I had no choice but to stay at home, sulk, and cry.

But it’s not about just the pain, the process of changing napkins/tampons is also painstakingly irritating. That is one huge dilemma for female travelers, especially for someone like me who climbs mountains. When you are on a multi-day trek while on your period, it is pretty challenging to stay clean and fresh. Mind you, it feels stuffy at this time of the month.

And another thing, this is also a time when girls get a little too emotional. Craving for sweets is also at its peak at this time of the month. Imagine having to deal with the things I mentioned above, all at once. And imagine dealing with that while, let’s say sitting uncomfortably in a cramped bus or in an overcrowded, dirty public toilet in a foreign place.

So guys, the next time you see a female traveler dealing with this problem, be more understanding. If you can’t give her a box of tampons, or a box full of chocolates, give her a pat in the back at least. 🙂

2. Finding a hidden spot to change clothes.

This is one of my main problems whenever I go on a day hike with my friends. It is much easier if you go on camping because you can always change clothes inside the tent. But us female travelers have to find a perfectly hidden spot first, because we can’t just take off our clothes in front of everyone. It’s just sad that us female travelers need a bit more privacy than men, because we do not want those unwanted attention.

Rancho, Mt. Talinis | Valencia, Negros Oriental

One time, a guy friend and I spilled a chocolate drink on our pants while we were hiking in a nearby mountain. The drink absorbed inside my undergarment, and it was starting to get icky, so I had no choice but change. The problem was, we were on an open trail. There were no big rocks or trees nearby where I can hide and change clothes. My guy friend only had to remove his clothes in front of us, while I had to wait for a few more hours to see a well hidden spot.

There are times when I don’t really care about other people, but most of the time, I always think about this because I do not want guys to stare at me. It’s bad enough that some guys stare at my boobs when I am fully clothed.

3. Safety. When you have to use whatever you have in hand as a weapon.

As a female traveler, whether I am traveling alone or not, safety is number one priority. The risk of being kidnapped or raped is sadly higher to women than men. And that is frightening. So every time I travel, I’ve always had this mindset to be always wary of people around me. And if I have to use whatever I have in my hands to fight off someone, I will use it no doubt.

Inside a mini bus going to Murcia with my best friend while we were out backpacking around Bacolod.

I remember one time when I brought my friends with me to Santander. One night, two of my girlfriends, a guy friend, and I, went to a nearby sari-sari store in the middle of the night to buy some ice. All of a sudden, there’s this drunk guy who kept on following us. My friend Jflor and I’s first instinct was to grab hold of this hard chunk of ice in our hands, use it as a self-defense just in case this old drunk will touch us. I’m just glad that drunk guy left us eventually.

Just recently, I came home from a weekend getaway with my friends where a crazy guy followed me too. I went to a nearby Starbucks first to buy myself a hot cappuccino before I headed home. It was already around midnight and I was walking alone towards home, when I suddenly noticed this suspicious looking guy trailing behind, and kept on catcalling me. I thought, “If this guy is going to touch me, I swear to God, I am going to spill this scalding hot coffee on his freaking ding dong!” Seeing my overpriced coffee burning the skin between his legs is going to be one hell of a picture. I was saying those words in my head while running for safety. It was frightening. It still is.

My friends and I somewhere in the streets of Olongapo City, during our week-long backpacking trip from Central Luzon to Calabarzon.

Over the years, I’ve learned to be more fearless when traveling. That doesn’t mean I no longer get scared. I still do, and I think I will always do.

Only now, I’ve grown thicker skin and learned how to adapt or change whenever I am in a new place. Me being a small female has never hindered my love for the outdoors. Only, it is quite hard because, we women, whether we like it or not, can deeply get affected by religious or cultural beliefs of the places we visit. Women do face greater obstacles, especially when travelling alone.

Are you a female traveler reading this? What are the challenges you face when traveling? Share your thoughts below. 🙂

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  • Paksit! Mangandam nalang ko daan ani igka Gensan Adventure hahahahaha! Pero I’m good companion 😛 and who is this guy friend you always mentioned in every item of this blog? Yee hahahah

    • hannafrej

      Hahaha ikaw akong bodyguard ani puhon #FoureyedAmpalaya. HAHAHA.

      P.S.: Classmate pag college. Kaw ha. Wa gihapon ka nahuman panungog ha. Bantay lang ka. Haha

      • CAOLANO

        hapit na kamo ang sungogon namo bwahahahaha

  • I do have several female traveler friends and I swear it takes more than 1 reminder to make me realize and remember that you have these needs (items 1 and 2). But I think all you really have to do is communicate especially with your guy travel mate, unless you went on solo.

  • Relate na relate. During our backpacking trip, I had my period when we arrived at the hotel from Angkor Wat and had to endure 8-hr bus ride to Bangkok on my second day which is when the flow is always the heaviest. That’s why I told my gay friends that I need a toilet in the bus even though it’s more expensive. For some reasons, I always travel with gay/guy friends and I’m thankful that they understand although I still feel uneasy and just want to go home right away. LOL.

    • hannafrej

      Nagbasa pa lang ko, gi hasolan na akong pamati. LOL. Bitaw, I’m thankful when I am with gay friends too. Kay pwede ra sugoon nmo tabunan kag panapton. HAHAHA. but usahay, if kanang mag travel then lalaki jud akong kuyog, dmd. Awkward kaayo. Haha

  • Jean Bean

    I had an IUD put in so no more periods!! Makes traveling so much easier.

  • Two Blue Passports

    Changing is definitely an issue. I always opt for single-sex hostels as a result.

  • Victoria Hawkins

    I feel like dying on the first day of my period and need quick access to a bathroom so that will be an inconvenience! Changing is also an issue 🙁

  • Hi Miss Bean! I always put safety first when I travel, I know that it is really difficult to find a place to change clothes too! haha. really, this is something I always struggle coz I’m too lazy to find comfort rooms but I have to. Nice sharing you have here !

  • Sherianne Higgins (SherianneKa

    I can get freaked out by the cat calls and thinking I’m being followed. I carry a loud personal alarm in one hand and a sharp object in the other when I get an uneasy feeling

    • hannafrej

      It is indeed very frightening. 🙁

  • Alexandra Trif

    You are so so right, unfortunately for us women. I remember going to Venice and all day I wanted to discover by foot all the hidden little streets and markets but when my period hit me….I had to check in at every cafe or bar to stay down and check my clothes. So frustrating

  • Yeah women do unfortunately face challenges we guys don’t need to really think about. Understandable for the period pains and for sure biggest is safety. Always being aware of your surroundings is very important and distinguishing friendly and mischievous people also important. But keep travelling!

    • hannafrej

      Thanks @1techtraveller:disqus!

  • Ugh! Periods!! It’s uncomfy enough going to the office on your period, what more if you’re travelling. And choco always makes my menstrual cramps worse!
    So happy that my monthly bwisita stopped coming for 7 months now. Hahaha!

    • hannafrej

      Nothing can actually make my cramps better. 🙁 but i really lots of chocs and sweets para comfort sa self. HAHA

  • Ms Congeniality

    That was a rather fun read ! Could relate to it soo much ! Keep up the good work

    • hannafrej

      Thank you, @ms_congeniality:disqus 🙂

  • hannafrej

    Hi Dakilanglaagan! 🙂 You are right about having an authoritative voice in this matter, but sometimes, it doesn’t work with me kay gamay man kong taw. HAHAHAHA. *facepalm

  • CAOLANO

    To solve number 1. You start taking pills if to regularize your menstruation. Once you have a stable cycle, you can make travel plans that revolves around it. Best times to travel is right after the period and if you arte taking pills then you have like 3 weeks a month for solo travel. hehehe

    For number 2. The solution is just confidence. I have seen blonde blue-eyed women just change clothes like nobody is watching. They can look at the things they can never have. 😉

    For number 3. the best defense will be your wits and woman’s instincts. Enjoy the travel and aqlways be vigilant.

    Are you excited in your first “solo” travel with a guy in a platonic type of setting? hgahahahah…Enjoy bean!

  • Hanna, kinsa tong naa sa Wright Park nga photo?

    • hannafrej

      That was me three years ago hahaha! I looked different. Daot pa, and then hiwi pag ngipon. LOL

  • For #1: Malas na sd kaayo ka if matungnan ka ug period while gatravel ka. Maybe gamay ra kaayo na nga instances. Try the one nga gi-suggest ni Sir Carlo

    For #2: Its quite a struggle I must say but pwede rman kag mag-ilis magtalikod, facing the wall or a corner.

    #3: Always think ahead for every situation. It’s better to be prepared but if d jud malikayan, have yourself some basic killing tools hahaha.. bitaw, self-defense tools

    As for me, I always have something hidden in my pockets for self-defense 😀

    • hannafrej

      Hahaha I lost it at ‘have yourself some basic killing tools’. One time I bought a pepper spray. Sus amit jud kaayo to panghadlok LOL.

  • Wandering Soul Scamper

    I can’t help it but smile after reading this post. You are definitely on point. And if I may add something..

    1. Di ko ka relate kaayo, pero agree kos gi ingon ni Sir Carlo 🙂
    2. Well, you can bring “Malong” and ask your friend to hold it while mag ilis ka sa sulod. I know you can change your clothes inside the malong easily, you know kiddie size baya.. kidding aside, yes always bring malong if you are not comfortable changing clothes in front of strangers or anybody.
    Or you can just change anywhere and treat the people around as mga “bukong” 🙂
    At the end of the day, they can’t have what they just saw. 🙂

    3. just be a killing machine. 🙂 joke. I mean, self-defense is the best, you can always have little things as weapons, but sometimes you will be away from that little somethings. 🙂

    And oh, reading through the comments…. 😛
    Enjoy your first “Solo” travel Miss Bean… 😀

    • hannafrej

      HAHAHA samoka sa kiddie size!

      P.S.: Solo travel in your peys! 😛

  • I cannot agree more! Periods for me are a huge challenge especially in a country like ours. Imagine riding a bus to Baguio (7 hours) and you simply cannot scream “para manong sandali lang po kelangan ko magbanyo” if you’re in dire need to change your sanitary pad. It’s even worse if you’ve got an irregular cycle because there’s no schedule to work with. It just comes when it wants to. Huhu. Have you considered tampons though? (TMI na bah?) Although I find it intimidating myself and pretty expensive/hard to find in our country.

    • hannafrej

      Yes, I’ve tried tampons but still hasol man gihapon jud uy basta gi dysmenorrhea hahaha.

  • It’s really hard to be a female diay sa. But the most important part is, you tend to continue and pursue what you really want to do even with those hindrances. Thumbs up for female travelers!

  • It’s really not easy having to deal with those problems at a regular basis, Hanna. I think you should find someone who can support you with that. 🙂

    • hannafrej

      Hahaha ayay ka.

  • I absolutely agree sa tanan labi na sa having period! Myghad, labi na if inyong adtoan kay wet like maligo barun ug dagat or pool? Dmd. Pero so far katong mga malas times nako nga gidugo ko nia naa mi outing, it didn’t stop me from swimming oy, bahala na akong matris! Hahahahahah

  • Woooh, girl power! Haha, tough beans jud na ma female traveler dah. I bet you’ve grown a lot from them challenges pd 😛

  • Channel Imperial

    Indeed! Dealing with period and change of clothes is quite a challenge when traveling. But that won’t stop me from going around the world!

    • hannafrej

      Mao jud! Bahala nana. We can all deal with that. 😉

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