Since the announcement of the a new Supersonic hairdryer, I’ve been thinking about hair appliances.  The creator of the Dyson vacuum has announced he has “revolutionized the way we dry our hair.”  The man who gave us the bag-less vacuum said that there has been zero innovation within this market for 60 years, and yet, hair dryers are something men and women use every day.  (If you’re as interested in this as much I am, here are his full comments in the NY Times.)  He said of our current hairdryers, and I quote, “Millions of people use contraptions daily that are hideously inefficient, waste their time and are causing them long-term damage.”

This new hairdryer actually looks like the size of the last travel-size hairdryer I purchased.  I purchased one two years ago, and I have rarely brought them on my travels.  The problem is that even travel-sized dryers are heavy, awkward-shaped and take up too much space in my carry-on.  It just hasn’t been that practical.

So if I don’t pack a hair dryer, what do I do?

I borrow a hair dryer.

Every place I’ve stayed has had a hairdryer that I could borrow.  (With the obvious exception of outdoor campsites and eco-friendly jungle lodges.) When I stay at a bed and breakfast, or any other non-hotel, I will email the host and ask if they have one I can borrow.  They always have had one for me.  I even stayed at a small bed and breakfast in Scotland, where she let me use her personal dryer.  Not only does it save my space, but I also don’t have to worry about tripping a circuit breaker trying to use a hairdryer with an outlet converter in a foreign country.  (Sorry again to that lovely bed and breakfast in London I stayed in with my American hairdryer.)

I bring one appliance: straightener or curling iron.

I typically don’t bring both, unless I plan on packing less shoes.  There simply just isn’t enough space.  I usually decide how I want to style my hair before I go.  One thing I like to remind myself of is that I am indeed traveling.  Sure, if you’re at home, you can choose that day what you want to do.  Just like you can choose to wear anything.  However, when you’re traveling, you are limited by choice.  You don’t want to be dragging around needless hair appliances.

To top it off, there are ways to straighten your hair with a curling iron, and ways to curl your hair with a straightener, if it matters that much to you.  YouTube has a great selection of “How to” videos for either one of these things.  There are plenty of ways to style your hair with just one appliance.

If I can’t find one, I don’t use one.

What, you say?  You don’t use a hairdryer?  That’s right.  If I haven’t been able to borrow or use someone else’s hairdryer, I will wash my hair at night, braid it, and let it air-dry over night.  It turns out, it looks pretty and I don’t have to worry about drying my massively long hair. (For ideas on “no-heat hairstyles” check out my article here I wrote when we were going to be camping for five days with no access to any heat-appliances.)

If all else fails, wear a hat or invest in some really good dry shampoo.

Sometimes, you’re just not going to win, and you’ll have a bad hair day.  Good thing we have hair ties, bandannas, headbands, and hats.  The fall is your best friend, just put on a beanie and no one will ever know how greasy your hair is under there.  I almost always bring dry-shampoo anyways because even if I style my hair, my adventures typically take me outside a lot (and outside in the wind on a mountain, just makes that tousled hair a little on the greasy, dirty side.)

Even though you may not have all the hair appliances and products you typically have at home, allow me to let you know that the joys of an adventure away from home far outweigh the inconveniences of having perfect locks.  It’s not worth carrying all those things around just for the small convenience it provides.

How do you style your hair when you’re traveling?

Nina Thomas

Travel lover and writer

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