If you're of childbearing age but don't necessarily want children yet, a few birth control travel tips might help you avoid the unexpected.
Bear in mind that I'm not a doctor, a health practitioner, or an advisor of any kind. Any information I provide here is culled from my own knowledge, that of other travelers, and published materials. So use this as your first stop but then go see your doctor or health clinic for a proper consultation. Every birth control method has its benefits and risks and only a health professional can advise you about which one is best for your trip.
It is imperative to check with your doctor about these birth control travel tips because some contraceptives may react with other medication or conditions: oral contraceptives can interfere with malaria pills, while other types may increase blood clot risks. Conversely, diarrhea can reduce the Pill's effectiveness, as can the use of certain antibiotics.
In addition to your doctor's advice, a number of factors will affect which type of birth control you eventually decide to use when you travel. These include:
Birth Control Travel Tips: Hormonal Contraceptives
If you're already on the pill, you might choose to stay on it. But keep the following in mind:
Depo-Provera and other injectables
Birth Control Travel Tips: Barrier methods
Diaphragms and cervical caps
Birth Control Travel Tips: Intra-uterine Contraceptives
A few additional birth control travel tips...
The first thing you need to know is the length of your trip. Not all medicines travel well and you may not be able to carry enough contraceptives with you if you're gone for a year or two.
Often, doctors' prescriptions won't be for more than a few months or a year at most. If you're traveling longer than your prescription, make sure to visit a doctor in time. You can also get them sent to you but that can be a hassle, especially if you're not in a major city. Couriers are expensive, and in many countries postal service is unreliable.
Whatever method you choose, make sure you try it out several months before you go. The last thing you want is a bad reaction or discomfort once you're on the road, especially if you could have avoided it by doing your research early on.
And finally, bring some emergency contraception with you - you never know, and it might not be available where you are.
Where are you going? Not everything is available everywhere so find out whether your preferred form of birth control will be available at your destination.
Birth Control Travel Tips: Resources
Planned Parenthood - different types of birth control
Emergency Contraception - where to find the 'morning after' pill
Availability by country - Wikipedia list
Directory of Hormonal Contraceptives - which brands are available in which countries
Marie Stopes International - another good site for information on birth control methods
New Contraceptive Options - medical article on what's what in birth control
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