The Budget Savvy Travelers

NuvaRing and Other Birth Control Options For Travelers

Having gone through quite a lengthy process I decided to create a detailed review for others about birth control options for travelers, including the NuvaRing. The last thing we need as we head to our unconventional life of freedom is to be brought back to a structured reality of being bogged down by bottle feeds, nap schedules, and diaper bags. Sorry…there is just no room for babies in my backpack!

Long Term Birth Control for Travelers | No Room for Babies in My Backpack!

Although it teeters on the edge of TMI, I vowed to write an investigative report of birth control options for women who want to travel long term. With Harry quickly shooting down my (only half-serious) proposition of a vasectomy, to some degree I knew I was on my own for determining what my plan was for birth control options while on our round-the-world trip.

In my research, I found it was difficult to find firsthand accounts and advice for long term birth control. I was unfortunate to have to explore a bunch of options; however, it provided me with lots of knowledge to bring to my readers. This post is long but full of information and tips that I think were important to share. I hope that my story helps to guide others in finding the right choice for them.

My Story

 I was currently on the NuvaRing which I LOVED! I didn’t have to take pills every month and under the consultation of a pharmacist, I was able to manipulate my cycle in order to avoid having a period during special events like vacations and anniversaries.

The NuvaRing, however, requires refrigeration and from what I have learned is not available worldwide. It is also an expensive form of birth control even with insurance. Despite my very hard attempts to continue this form of birth control (I needed two physicians, two pharmacists, and one nurse practitioner to finally convince me), the NuvaRing just wasn’t a viable option. So here is my firsthand account of my decision-making process:

IUD (Intrauterine Device)

This was the option I tried first. A fast, outpatient procedure to have anywhere from to 3, 5 (Skyla or Mirena which are hormone-based), or 10 years of pregnancy protection (Paragard which is Copper-based) sounded good to me. I chose Mirena and scheduled the appointment. This may not happen to most women, but during the procedure, my doctor told me my cervix was too small for the device. It eventually may fall out. She told me my only option was to go the birth control pill route which WAS NOT TRUE!

I later found out that the Skyla IUD would have been a better option as it is smaller and the insertion tube narrower. My office didn’t carry it, so they didn’t suggest it. (Seems kinda shady, right?) Skyla is FDA approved for women who have not yet had children. Mirena is typically intended for women who have already had a child since their cervix has been expanded.

I also had learned from a nurse practitioner later, that there is a pill that women can take prior to an IUD placement that will dilate your cervix to make insertion easier. I wonder had my doctor prescribed me this pill, or was willing to try Skyla if an IUD would have worked for me.

Pros

Long term protection, one-time procedure, may reduce blood flow

Cons

Expensive if your insurance does not cover costs of the actual device and insertion, may cause long term spotting/bleeding, can fall out, in rare cases some women experience complications such as infections or a ruptured uterus

Birth Control Pills

My second plan of action was to try birth control pills. The idea of toting around a year with pills was not ideal, but I was willing to try this next. For U.S. citizens, Walgreens offers two generic pills (Mononessa and TriNessa) that you can get a 12-month supply for $144 USD (out of pocket) with their Prescription Club Rewards Program.

The Rx program costs $20 USD but brought the out of pocket expense down from $344 to $144, which was well worth the membership cost. I did convince my doctor to write a script for two years, but the problem of expiration occurs. Even if I were able to buy two years of pills right before departure, some of the pills would have expired on the road. That would have forced me to rely on someone to send me pills while traveling.

Pros

Inexpensive, convenient, may be easy to get and cheaper while traveling (but I was not willing to risk not having a plan in place and didn’t want to worry about trying to locate a similar/the same pill while abroad)

Cons

Carrying around packs of pills (I want to travel light!), having to remember to take it at the same time every day to increase effectiveness (encountering time changes, ugh!), weight gain (I gained a lot of weight in the one month I took the pills and I did not like the way they made me feel.

Unfortunately, I was running out of time to try different pills for months at a time to see what worked for my body. If you are new to birth control pills, start your search early to ensure that you find a pill that works well with your body).

Condoms

The only reason I address this one is because it came up too many times; “Why don’t you just use condoms?” Well, this is a personal decision and conversation, but let’s just say that for us, when we think of condoms, we think of Julia Robert’s “profession” in Pretty Woman. This would be a last resort option.

We all remember Julia Roberts, “I’m a safety girl.” | NuvaRing | Birth Control Options | No Room for Babies in My Backpack!

Pros

Cheap, easy to access, no hormone use or side effects for women

Cons

Loss of intimacy

Birth Control Control Implant

I was starting to get desperate and running out of options. So I made an appointment with another OB-GYN who was highly recommended by a friend. After a 45 minute consultation, she had advised me to highly consider Inplanon, a match-stick sized rod that is inserted into the arm.

We revisited the Skyla option, but to proceed I would have to get an internal ultra-sound. Many physicians are not trained to insert the implant, so I was referred to my local Planned Parenthood.

Making the Appointment

I made the appointment and had the procedure done last week. It was fast, however, my arm did bruise heavily and it felt very strange in my arm for the first few days. In fact, after my compression bandage came off, I was convinced that it was placed incorrectly as the tip of the rod kept poking inside my arm when I flexed.

However, I allowed some time for it to “settle” and each day I noticed it less and less. Another concern was scarring, but I have seen two women that have the implant and the incision point is hardly noticeable. After my procedure, I could not find progression photos online to help see what this thing is supposed to look like each day, so I did my own for your (icky) viewing pleasure.

Progression Photos Of Implanon Implant | NuvaRing | Birth Control Options | No Room for Babies in My Backpack!

Pros

Three years of protection so “set it and forget it”, may stop periods altogether

Cons

The removal procedure is harder than insertion, it may be difficult to find a trained professional to insert/remove it, there is bruising, pain and recovery time following the procedure, scarring may cause continuous spotting/bleeding

Tips

  • If you are moving from one form of birth control to another – START EARLY. I would allow for at least a 6 month+ window to find the option that works best for your body.
  • If you are lucky enough to have a Planned Parenthood Facility in your area – SEEK THEM OUT! In hindsight, when beginning my long term birth control plan, I wish I went there first. They are highly trained in all things birth control and had options that my primary physicians did not even know about. Best to always consult with specialists!
  • I thought these two websites were good for getting additional information such as side by side comparisons and learning more about the advantages and disadvantages of all forms of birth control.
  • http://bedsider.org/methods
  • http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-info/birth-control
Told you it was TMI

Updates

If anyone has made it this far in this post, you are serious about birth control planning! Unfortunately, about 6 months after the insertion of my Implanon implant, I started to experience a breakthrough, nonstop bleeding, and cramping. I decided that this Implanon was a great form of birth control because I could never have sex.

So during a layover back in the United States, I had my implant removed. Planned Parenthood in Santa Monica, California quoted me approximately $80.00 USD without insurance.

Considering that NuvaRing worked so well for me and my body, after I had my implant removed, I was on a mad quest to continue to use this form of birth control. Unable to find forums or posts online, I vowed to do ongoing “research” so other women can find countries that will supply NuvaRings (and other birth control options) without the need for a physician’s prescription.

6 Countries Where You Can Purchase Nuvarings Without a Doctors’ Prescription

  1.  Argentina
  2.  Belarus
  3.  Russia
  4.  Taiwan (Taipei)
  5. The Netherlands (Amsterdam)
  6. Brazil
Argentina (Mendoza)

The pharmacies in Mendoza sold NuvaRing over the counter for around $15 apiece. They were properly stored in the refrigerator at each pharmacy.

Belarus (Minsk)

4/2018 – Pharmacies in Minsk do not require a prescription for NuvaRing.

Russia

A  nurse wrote in to let us know Russia does not require a prescription for Nuva Rings.

Brazil

A local wrote in to let us know that Brazil does not require a prescription for Nuva Rings.

Taiwan (Taipei)

3/2017 – Our recent trip to Asia, we visited Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand. Southeast Asia always seemed more liberal and more accessible for finding the medication. Sadly, this is NO LONGER the case! I asked almost every pharmacy that we came across if they carried the NuvaRing (showing a photo of a NuvaRing to aid against any language barrier).

The ONLY pharmacy that I found that carried the NuvaRing and allowed me to purchase them without a prescription was in a swanky neighborhood in Taipei. It was called Honesty Health Insurance Pharmacy (aka Yongcheng Pharmacy, located at 25-1, Lane 216, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Taipei City). Below is their card that may help you locate it. My husband also added the address to help English-speakers in the comments section below. You may need to ask a local or taxi driver for help. Cost $18 USD per NuvaRing. I purchased six and they were properly stored.

IMG_3328
Honesty Health Insurance Pharmacy in Taipei | NuvaRing | Birth Control Options | No Room for Babies in My Backpack!
The Netherlands (Amsterdam)

After traveling through Europe, I finally found a place to purchase my next 6 month supply of NuvaRings. Schiphol Airport conveniently has a 24-hour travel clinic that you do not need to make an appointment to visit. If you want to consult with a physician, a consultation was ~27€ Monday through Friday and 45€ on weekends.

However, the pharmacy, located in Departure Hall 2 above row 16, told me that they would make an exception for travelers. As long as I could show proof that I was currently on the medication (e.g., empty box, the NuvaRing package) they would allow me to purchase the mediation without a script. Therefore, I bought another 6 month supply at 12.50 € each.

Contact email: Fiola.Schepen@airportmedicalservices.com

Thailand

Thailand (Phuket) – The pharmacy in Patong Mall sold them each for 590 baht, or ~$20 USD over the counter. They were stored properly in the refrigerator and the staff was extremely professional.

Update: 1/13/17- Pharmacies in Thailand are telling me that they no longer carry NuvaRing due to decreased popularity. This will cause some trouble for us long-term travelers wanting to use the NuvaRing. Thailand used to be a reliable destination for purchasing birth control. According to Bangkok Gynopedia, “The contraceptive ring (Nuvaring) is not available in Thailand as of 2017. However, it was imported previously and perhaps will be again in the future.” Refer to the “What to Get” section here. 

Birth Control Options | NuvaRing | No Room for Babies in My Backpack!
The thermal bag and freezer packs I use to store my Nuva Rings in as I travel from destination to destination

Remember that if you store them properly, they can last until the expiration date. I keep them in the fridge during lodging, and while traveling they are inside a thermal folder with three ice packs that an Argentina pharmacy gave me with my purchase. On long flights, I ask the flight attendants for bags of ice to be on the safe side.

Update: I upgraded to this medical insulated bag to store my medicine while I travel. I’m constantly being harassed by Airport screeners/security so I’m hoping that a more official looking bag will help limit the inconvenience.

If you have found this information helpful, I’d love to hear from you!

50 thoughts on “NuvaRing and Other Birth Control Options For Travelers
  1. I have been on nuvaring since 2007 and I have been traveling for the last 6 years on it. Some countries you can find it without prescription that you don’t have listed are Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico. I also bought it in Singapore and Japan but this was a few years ago so I am unsure if they still have it. Recently Malaysia stopped carrying it so it is possible that Singapore and Japan stopped as well. I am running low and trying to decide if I should take a chance and go to Japan or go to Taipei for my next set of refills. Also I always try to by 6 months at a time so I don’t have to worry about it. Countries I have found that do not carry it are: Thailand as of 2017, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Philippines.

  2. Audrey,

    This helps even more. Thank you so so much for all the information and the exact location!! I’m really glad I won’t be settling for a different birth control option now. Will definitely be using my next visa run to do this 🙂

  3. In Buenos Aires it was super easy. Every Farmacity sells them, no prescription necessary, about $20 USD each (as of March 2019) . You can buy as many as you want. They come with a refreezable ice pack.

    1. How great that the pharmacies provide those freezer packs….Do you know I am STILL using the ones that they gave me from Mendoza, Argentina in 2014?!?? So nice that they provide them. Thanks Kimberly for adding some valuable information to the thread.

  4. Thank you for this post!! I have been living in Thailand for 2 years. I was on the IUD and had some bad side effects so I got it removed here. Then went through a manic depressive episode trying different hormonal contraceptives.
    I had the NuvaRing back in 2015/2016 and loved it! I am so thrilled to know that I could go to Taipei to stock up on some more to bring back to Thailand with me. I live in Chiang Mai but I’m wondering if you know if any of the the pharmacies or even hospitals that prescribe it in Bangkok?
    If not, I would like to ask about a 6-month vs 4-month supply. I messaged my OBGYN and read some articles that said the expiry is after 4 months. Yet, you get a 6 month supply so is that possible just if stored properly?
    Obviously I would like to get as many as possible so I don’t have to continue going back and forth so often.
    Any further insight would be so so helpful! Thanks again for sharing your findings and story. I think we can all agree how difficult birth control is while living abroad 🙁

    1. Molly,

      I want you to know I understand the frustration of knowing that there is a medicine that works really well for you, but it is a struggle to access them. I think many international travelers started running into problems when Thailand stopped importing NuvaRings. It was always a “go-to” country for many of us.

      The good news is that I did not need to show a prescription to purchase my NuvaRings when I went to the Honesty Health Insurance Pharmacy in Taipei. I just simply purchased six right there on the spot. I did not have to show them a prescription.

      The information you have about the NuvaRing expiration date is a little off. Each time I have bought them, the expiration date is about a year or two from the date of purchase. So for example, NuvaRings I am getting now, have an expiration of 2020/2021.

      If I were you, I would contact another girl who had most recently told me she went to the Taipei Pharmacy in March 2019 to maybe see how her experience went. She was the last person who let me know that she successfully purchased NuvaRings there. Her info is:

      Laina
      lainacarsten@gmail.com

      Also, my husband placed the exact address with photos in the thread down below so you can see exactly where the pharmacy is located in Taipei. It was in a nice neighborhood in the city. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I am happy to help you.

      -Audrey

    1. Julia, thanks for reaching out and helping the cause! Do you know if they sell NuvaRings there in Brazil? Is that an option for women there?

      1. Hi Audrey. Nuvarings are available and easy to buy without prescription. I also use them, and the prices fluctuate between 55-75 Brazilian reais (15-20 USD). That’s expensive for Brazil, where you can get the pill for very little or even for free, in public hospitals, but you can register in the pharmaceutical company to get a discount.

        1. Julia, you are amazing! I will update this information within my post to help other women travelers. Unfortunately, we have never traveled to Brazil, but it is a great stop on many travelers’ itineraries. Thank you for helping the cause!!!

  5. Hi Laina,

    Thanks for sharing this info! I’m moving to Taipei in two weeks and hoping to continue on the Nuva Ring. Nothing comes up when I type in the name of this pharmacy. Any chance you know the address? Thanks in advance!!

    1. Rebecca, did you try emailing Laina personally? Her email is below: If you DO get any info, will you please let me know? I get so many questions regarding this topic, I’d like to keep my info updated if possible.

      lainacarsten@gmail.com

  6. An update incase anyone stumbles on this blog as I did while trying to figure out Asian counties that hav nuvaring available. Today(march 2019) I went to Honesty Health Insurance Pharmacy in Taipei and got 3 nuvarings. They still carry them! They were 500 NTD, which works out to about $16 USD. Considering I don’t currently have insurance in the states, so they would cost roughly $200 USD back home, I’m super happy I found some while traveling!

    1. Thank you for sharing this info with us Laina. This pharmacy has come in handy for many fellow female travelers!

  7. Thank you SO MUCH for doing this! I am a NuvaRing user moving to Southeast Asia, and I’ve had the hardest time figuring out birth control. I’ve had bad reactions on the pill and on Mirena, and I’m trying to make it work with the NuvaRing, but I’m in Thailand, and as you said, they don’t have them here anymore. Guess I’m going to Taipei!

    One follow-up: did you have any issues with traveling with them with the ice pack storage method? That’s what I’ve been doing, but I’ve heard the temperature fluctuation and getting below freezing isn’t good for them, but not from the most reliable sources.

    1. No, the only concern I’d ever had was when a hotel worker didn’t know what I was talking about when I asked him to store my medication in the hotel refrigerator and he accidentally placed my thermal pouch containing my nuvarings in a freezer for a few hours overnight — which did not impact the medication. Remember, NuvaRings can technically can be stored around room temperature for several months. According to the medication :

      “NuvaRing can be stored for up to 4 months at room temperature, between 59° and 86°F (15° and 30°C). Avoid direct sunlight or storing above 86°F (30°C).”

      I simply try to keep them chilled at all times to the best of my ability, whether in my accommodation fridge or when carrying around when I’m on the go in my thermal pouch with ice packs. If you have more questions, please let me know.

  8. Hi Audrey-
    Thanks so much for this information- I love my nuva ring and am trying to figure out a solution before we start traveling for 3 months.

    I am wondering what you do about health insurance – do you have travel insurance, just pay out of pocket? We will be traveling in between jobs, and not sure what to do about health insurance!

    Thanks!

    1. Naomi, Are you based in the U.S.A.? Initially, when we first started out we took ou5 a World Nomad’s Travel Insurance like many other travelers and bloggers. However, it began to seem really expensive compared to some IMG plans we opted for. All my prescriptions for NuvaRing were paid out of pocket and never cost more than $20 per ring.

      1. Yes, I am based in the US. We will be traveling with our 2yo and want to make sure we have coverage that can help us in the case of routine issues (eye infections, etc.) too. Have you been happy with your IMG plan? Thank you!

  9. Hi Audrey!! I just moved to Taipei and use NuvaRings. I was having a hard time finding them here too, but after searching google, I found your blog! Today, I went to the pharmacy that you mentioned and they had them!!! 😀 Thank you so much!! I don’t know what I would’ve done without you! <3

    1. Hi. I am so pleased that you found the NuvaRings that you needed. From experience I know that finding a medication that works for you and not being able to access it can be a very anxiety provoking situation! Good luck on your new adventures in Taipei! Thank you for letting me know this was helpful for you. It makes me happy knowing I can help. 🙂

  10. This post is helpful and I’m glad you touch on how hormonal contraception plays havoc with weight and mood. I’m currently one month in to an extended trip and after trying a variety of options (Cooper IUD – fell out, fertility awareness – didn’t work due to my irregular cycle and shift pattern, mini pill – horrendous depression, condoms – yuck) I have the implant. It’s my 3rd one, the first 2 caused me to develop ovarian cysts and depression and this one after a couple of months feels like it’s doing the same.

    Next option is either travel as a single woman, take a vow of abstinence or convince boyfriend that starting a family while we have no fixed abode is a good idea!

    How accessible are diaphragms in the states/new zealand (with basic travel insurance and limited budget in mind)??

    1. Hi Amy,
      Thanks for stopping by. I have limited knowledge about diaphragms. I’ve never used one before. However, I do know that diaphragms will require a doctor’s prescription in both the United States and New Zealand. Do you carry a doctor’s prescription with you? You will need it to purchase the birth control at pharmacies, which are easily found – you just won’t be able to purchase one if you don’t have a current doctor’s prescription. Where are you currently traveling? Are you carrying medication with you?

  11. Maybe it is not your destination, but you can buy it in Russia without prescription. And I guess you know, but just in case – you can use it for 4 weeks instead of 3, so it will last longer.

  12. Thank you!!!! I will soon be doing the exact same thing in South America. I was planning on having a US script, having it filled by a US pharmacy then…eh…flying back to America every three months. (?) But now I may do the exact same scrounging around / bringing ice packs / etc. Curious about one thing: you seem to go to a lot of trouble to get the ring without a prescription. Why not just get an exam in a foreign country and get a foreign script? Doctor’s appointments without insurance are usually very reasonable most places outside of the U.S. Is there some other reason that prohibits doing so?

    1. Hi there! In the first part of our trip we were really on the go! Moving on and traveling quickly didn’t allow for me to secure an appointment OR to do the adequate research I felt necessary to go to a reputable physician. However, you are correct….I currently have only four NuvaRings left and I will have to see a local gynecologist in Croatia this year to get an exam and a new script for my NuvaRings. I am also a patient who strictly will go to a female gynocologist only so that is also a factor that make sure it tricky to get an appointment quickly.

      Again you are correct – The exams are significantly cheaper than medical services in the United States. However, NuvaRings are getting harder to come by due to decreased popularity and the pharmacy will have to order the script from Germany which will take time to receive. This is another factor that comes in consideration when trying to fulfill a prescription abroad quickly.

      Thanks from stopping by and if you have any questions…..let me know! I’d love to help if I can.

  13. I didn’t know that there were different IUDs for different widths. My wife and I want to hold off on having kids for the next couple of years and travel the world. We’ll have to see if we can find an IUD that is the right size.

  14. I’m going to tailand and wanted to use novaring…. But I think is better to forget?
    In Portugal you can buy it without prescription and is around 12 €. Or you can go to an health center and get it for free (I’m not sure if it is free for foreigners)

    1. Hi Maria,
      I did research while I was last in Thailand. The country’s pharmacies do not appear to be ordering it for sale anymore. The pharmacies told me they don’t order it anymore.

      If you truly want to remain on the NuvaRing, I would see how many you can buy and bring with you. To purchase many NuvaRings at one time, you may need to get a doctor’s prescription. Or the health center many help you order enough for your trip.

      I still travel with a pack of Nuvrings and a freezer pack to keep them cold. If you need to discuss, I’d be happy to help you.

  15. I’m currently in two minds about coming off the pill before I leave to travel long-term, so this post was so helpful! Very informative – thank you for this 🙂

  16. That was a great post, thank you! For the life of me I couldn’t get anyone to confirm whether it was okay to travel on a 6-month supply of the ring, and I’m glad to hear it’s working out for you with refrigeration. Not really the kind of thing you want to take a chance on!

    I hear that it’s sometimes possible to get a year’s supply of the ring at once, which seems nice.

    1. Yes, refrigeration and using ice packs during transport! Don’t forget the ice packs to keep them cold though!

  17. This information is a godsend. THANK YOU for your thorough research and documentation. so much appreciated. NuvaRing has been amazing for me because other hormonal methods have made me crazy, and that is not something I want to deal with while travelling for the next year! After this, I am confident I can make it work with NuvaRing with a little extra planning and an ice pack/thermal carrier. THANK YOU again.

    1. I’m so happy that this information was beneficial to you. I’m still traveling….two years in (successfully) with my NuvaRings.

      Anyone following or reading this thread, may benefit from this information which I just realized was not in the article.

      Here is the website for the Amsterdam Airport Travel Clinic and Pharmacy. Amsterdam is often a stop on many backpackers’ itineraries, so it’s a great place to contact for information. Make sure you contact the pharmacy well enough in advance via email (I did) to ensure no issues with birth control assistance.

      http://www.schiphol.nl/Travellers/AtSchiphol/AirportFacilities/TravelHealth/MedicalServices.htm

      http://www.schiphol.nl/Travellers/AtSchiphol/AirportFacilities/TravelHealth/Pharmacy.htm

  18. Great post! I am going through the same thing right now.. Have been on the Nuvaring for years, and besides the migraines I started having it seems like the best option for me. I will start travelling in September and plan to stay away for up to a year. The main thing I am worried about is the storage temperature of the rings. I always thought that the rings could be stored for up to 4 months at a temperature lower than 30 degrees Celsius. However, I read here in the comments that someone has them stocked up for a year? How is that possible?

    1. Hi Helen,

      I have been successfully traveling on the Nuva Ring since January 2015. When I purchase my rings, I always look at the expiration date. For example, I just purchased a 6 month supply in Croatia and they don’t expire until 2017. As long as they are kept properly, they can last until the expiration date.

      As I mentioned in this post (see photo to illustrate), a pharmacy provided me with ice packs and thermal pouches. I store my Nuva Rings in the refrigerator when I am at my accomodation. When I am in transit, I carry them in my packaging which keeps them cold until I get them into my next accomodation’s refrigerator. Remember Nuva Rings can be technically stored at room temperature for very short periods of time. However, my thermal packaging and ice packs really do keep them cold for many hours in transit. On long airplane rides, I ask for bags of ice or sometimes the stewardesses store them in their chiller for me.

      It is a little extra work, but if you really want to continue use of this medication, I am proof that it can be done! If you have any other questions, or want to discuss further, I am happy to help.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply! I plan to do a lot of trekking and moving around, so I’ll have long periods of time away from a fridge. I’m afraid that even some ice pack won’t help in my case :/ Perhaps I just have to accept the mood swings and go back to pills. Stupid of me to start thinking of this now, only two months before travelling.

  19. Thank you for this post !
    I am leaving in 3 months to travel full time central and South America. I’ve been on nuvaring for 5 years and I LOVE it , but I thought it may be too difficult to travel with. So I have an appointment next week for an IUD and I’m so scared to change something that works so well.

    1. Thank you for your kind comment. Will you try to use the NuvaRing while in South America now? Or still opting for IUD?

  20. I can relate to this post all too well. My husband and I have been long-term travelers for over 6 years now, the majority of this time out of the country. Birth control has been a constant source of stress, annoyance and financial loss. I, too, am a big fan of the NuvaRing and went so far as to buy 14 months worth of it – paid for out of pocket at a painful $100 per month. Like you and your partner, we don’t even consider condoms. Those little guys are the best form of birth control, given that you don’t even want to be intimate if you have to use them. What’s the perk of being in a committed relationship if you’re still using these, I ask! Anyway, we’ve recently discovered that our travels are going to keep us out of the states another 8 months past our original date, leaving me with a depleting supply of the ring and no way to replace them. Now I have to figure out how to obtain this much more birth control while in New Zealand and Tonga, which I’ve found New Zealand to be expensive and restrictive with other forms of prescription medications. Example: you need to speak with a pharmacist and be approved by him/or for over-the-counter sleeping medication. At this point, I find myself cursing legislation that prevents me from having easy access to birth control, no matter where I am in the world. The birth control saga begins again, for this experienced and weary traveler.

    1. Hi there! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. I can totally understand the frustration, especially the need to jump through a bunch of hoops just to get access to the right birth control for you and your body. My heart goes out to you because you are absolutely correct, it’s going to be a tedious (and costly) process to get NuvaRings out in your neck of the woods right now. That’s why as I move around the globe, I am documenting countries that women can find easy and affordable NuvaRings (or other birth control).

      On a side note, I checked your blog, and your story about wintering in Antarctica sounds crazy and amazing! I’ve told my husband I would like to experience an Antarctica winter just to say that I did it. Also, I LOVED that your All About Me said “MYOB!” Totally cracked up. My kind of humor! Good luck to you and if you have any info to share after your experience, please come back and let us know how it goes. Take care!

      1. Audrey, what countries have you found them in? I’m currently in Southeast Asia and probably will be for a while.

        1. Thailand used to be very good about having them but pharmacies stopped carrying them due to low demand. The only country (city) that I was able to locate them was Taipei, Taiwan. Please know that I could only inquire with local pharmacies in cities I was traveling through. These include: Bohol, Philippines, cities around Japan, and Bangkok. I did not need a prescription and I was able to buy 6 in bulk.

  21. Great post! I know myself long term birth control is a serious issue for me if I ever get around to long term travel-I don’t take it for actual birth control but for cycle control. I hate having to go to a doctor and justify my choices-I’m over 18 I can drink and smoke if I choose, so why can’t I have an option to use birth control to regulate my cycle! Just because it’s not ‘natural’ newsflash-no birth control is! I could understand if they had health risk issues (other than the standard pill issues) to back up their opinion but they don’t. So yes a big issue, even if it’s a not often talked about one. I hope I can get it sorted satisfactorily enough to actually go without worrying over birth control!

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