20 Mar Sync up your vacation with your cycle–and a female travel companion’s
I’ve recently received a few emails from women who have gone on vacations with a female friend or with their female romantic partner—and they were in different phases of their monthly cycles.
As a result, one wanted to go explore and chase adventures while the other wanted to lounge around and relax.
And this left them both frustrated with their trip partner.
The women writing to me wanted to know how two cycling women who are in different phases of their cycles can both enjoy their shared vacation—without feeling like one is being held back or one is pushing the other into activities they don’t want to do.
I’ve got the 3-step plan that can help:
1. Forecast both your cycles
When planning any vacation, you probably put a lot of time into figuring out where it fits best into your work or school schedule, which time of year is ideal and when you’d like to do most of the flying, driving or other travel to get there and back.
Naturally, I believe it’s also key to determine where you are in your monthly cycle so you can plan a vacation that matches your mood, energy, romantic feelings and interests based on your hormonal effects.
And, if you’re going on vacation with another cycling woman, I suggest you both figure out where you’ll be in your cycles during your trip.
To do that, simply look at a calendar and count the typical number of days in your cycle until you reach the date of departure for your trip. Or, use a menstrual cycle tracker (such as my Hormone Horoscope Pro App) to automatically calculate where you’ll be in your cycles on your departure date.
2. Note the activities you’ll enjoy each cycle week
Once you figure out where you’ll both be in your cycles, you’ll have a good idea about what kind of itinerary would make each of you happiest. That’s because the ups and downs of the hormones in your cycle will impact your mood, energy, extroversion, chattiness, desire for adventure, libido and more.
Keep in mind that during the planning stage of your trip, you may be in a different cycle phase than you’ll be during your actual trip, making you prefer a whole different set of activities right. now. For example, you might currently be craving adventure and excitement because you’re in your high-estrogen Week 2. However, you’ll need to plan for the you that you’ll be during your trip. If you’ll be in your more sedate, cautious Week 3, that zip-lining tour and ride around an Indy racetrack you want to do now may not be as appealing once you arrive at your hotel.
So, what kind of activities do you enjoy most during each week of your monthly cycle? Generally speaking, during the first half (the first day of your period through ovulation), you enjoy outgoing kind of fun. You want to explore, have adventures, learn and connect with others. During the second half (the day after ovulation through the day before your next period), you enjoy comforting kind of fun. You want to relax, be safe and indulge yourself.
Here’s a more detailed view of how it breaks down week by week:
Week 1: Slow start, silly finish
Day 1 (first day of period) to Day 7
Week 1 may start off with a bit of aches and/or fatigue due to menstruation and bottomed-out estrogen. So, if you’re planning a trip to fall during this phase for one of you, keep in mind how you experience your period. If you get these kinds of menstrual woes, you’ll likely prefer comfortable surroundings, predictability and an itinerary that doesn’t require a lot of get-up-and-go.
However, if your trip begins or continues into the middle of your Week 1, plan for a change of pace. That’s because by Day 4, cramps will have likely subsided and estrogen will have risen to a level that makes you more outgoing, social, happy, confident, energetic and optimistic—making you enjoy mingling with other folks, engaging in physical activities and having the kind of silly fun that makes you feel like a kid again.
Week 2: Bring on the adventure
Day 8 to ovulation (which is Day 14 in a 28-day cycle)
High estrogen and testosterone during this week of your cycle are pumping up your mood, energy, confidence and love of adventure, making you crave new and intense experiences. You’re happiest when experimenting with different foods, meeting lots of people, traveling to exotic locales, learning new things and trying exciting activities that could be a bit risky or even downright dangerous.
High estrogen and testosterone are revving your libido and desire for romance. Combine this with your yen for trying something new and you may feel like using this trip to break out of boring ruts with passionate fun.
Week 3: Make it mellow
Begins day after ovulation and lasts 8 days (which is Day 14 to Day 22 in a 28-day cycle)
This week is dominated by progesterone, a sedating hormone that brings down your pep, makes you cautious and quiet, and has you feeling more self-reflective. All this makes you happiest when doing mellow, relaxing, safe activities.
Progesterone puts a damper on your sex drive, but also makes you crave an emotional connection, so if you’re traveling with your wife or girlfriend, you’ll be most interested in activities that help you bond on a deeper level.
This hormone is also prone to triggering food cravings—especially for sugary, salty, fatty and carb-rich treats—which makes eating a favorite highlight of any trip taken in this phase of your cycle.
Week 4: Days of indulgence
Final 6 days of your cycle
Estrogen plunges during this premenstrual week, which can put your energy on the low side—though, surprisingly, not as low as what you experienced during your Week 3. That’s because your level of progesterone is dropping now, so with less of that sedating hormone, you may feel a bit more alert and energized.
During this cycle phase, plunging estrogen can make you a bit more physically and emotionally sensitive—you may be less patient and more easily frustrated, you could be bothered by loud noise and pungent odors, and you’ll likely prefer comfort and what you know over trying something new. As a result, you tend to be happiest when being pampered with luxurious, indulgent activities.
You’re also craving comfort foods, especially those rich in carbohydrates, as a result of plunging estrogen, so you’ll enjoy trips that include plenty of delicious treats.
3. Compromise, escape and back up
What can you do if you realize that one of you is going to be in an outgoing, energetic, extroverted cycle phase of your cycle and the other is in the mellow, relaxed, introverted cycle phase?
Compromise: Acknowledge that you’ll both likely want to do different activities on your vacation. Then, agree that if your desired itineraries are different—say, one wants to go out to a club, try hang gliding and take scuba diving lessons while the other wants to visit a museum, stroll through a famous garden and get a massage—you’ll swap activities. You join your travel partner for some activities she wants to do and she joins you.
Escape your comfort zone: If you don’t feel like doing what your partner wants to do, try to push yourself to do it, anyway. Often, the moods we feel as a result of hormone fluctuations can be changed—completely!—by our experiences. So, you may start off being wary about hang gliding, but could end up loving the thrill of it and want to do it again. Or, you may not start off wanting to waste your time in a museum, but something you see there could end up inspiring you with your own art, making you glad you went.
Have a back-up plan: There are likely going to be times when you absolutely don’t want to do what your partner is doing. Say, she wants to swim with sharks during her Week 2 and you have your Week 4 heart set on a chocolate festival for that same day. For these instances, it’s important to agree ahead of time on a back-up plan that allows you both to enjoy the activity you want. This can include pairing up with other hotel guests who want to do your activities or simply going solo, then meeting up together later to share the tales of your adventures. This way, neither of you feel neglected or left behind.
Never miss a Hormonology tip!
Subscribe to the free Hormonology newsletter and get helpful tips & the latest research in your inbox:
I have a cycle or know someone who does! Sign me up!