I travel a lot. I go out of the country about once a month.
I don’t usually take pads with me (other than for the flight) when I go to Europe or England. There are convenient medical supply stores in London and Paris with high-quality disposables. Elsewhere in Europe, I order disposables online for delivery to my hotel, which will hold them for my arrival. Other places, I bring my usual pads.
I bring a cotton-spandex pant, a plastic pant, gallon Ziplocs, a plastic pad and a couple of Snappis. The plastic pant is to trap small leaks. The plastic pad, with a hotel towel on top, is a mattress protector. The Ziplocs are to seal up wet pads, so housekeeping doesn’t have to handle them.
The Snappis are a last-ditch backstop. They are a clever little substitute for safety pins. I can use them with a hotel towel if I run out of disposables. Fortunately, that has only happened a couple of times.
I never check bags. I can pack for a week (or even a month) in one carry-on. (Hotel laundry is my friend, albeit an expensive one.) The carryon has room for a half-dozen disposables in addition to my clothes. I generally assume I’m going to be dry some nights, so I don’t take a pad for every night.
In addition to my carry-on, I use a big canvas bag that holds my computer bag, my handbag, my plane reading and, at the bottom, my pads for the flight.
I’m immune to embarrassment in front of strangers. If I’m traveling alone or with J, I don’t mind airport security (or people in the security line) seeing my things. But I’d rather not have other people who know me — my business associates or my kids — seeing evidence of my private medical issues.
Generally, that’s not a big deal at airports in developed countries. If security does a dump-bag check, they will do it behind a screen or in private if you ask.
The difficult airports are those that do dump-bag checks of everything on a public table. (One more reason to hate Bombay/Mumbai airport.)
I usually sleep on planes, so I wear a pad while flying. One of the advantages of a pad is that it is easy to put on or change in an airplane toilet, a transit lounge or even an airport public toilet. I just take the canvas bag, with the pads, with me to the toilet. Oddly enough, I’ve never wet on a plane.
PS: If you travel a lot, get a Trusted Traveller card. It’s the greatest.