[Just letting you know that this post may contain affiliate links. It doesn't affect you or the pricing in any way, but if you purchase products through these links, you'll help support the blog! Cheers!]
My recent years of travelling with natural curly hair have taught me that it is certainly nothing to fear!
If you’re prepared and do a little bit of planning ahead, travelling with curly hair can be super easy.
Here’s everything I’ve learned about travelling with curly hair. Hopefully, these tips will help my fellow curlies on their next adventure!
Tips for Travelling with Curly Hair
Managing curly hair is an adventure in itself. Add travel to the mix and it can sound like quite the challenge.
With a head full of curly coils myself, one of the things I used to dread about travel was dealing with my hair. But I’ve learned that keeping my hair healthy and happy during travel doesn’t have to be a troublesome feat.
Here are some tips you can use to embrace travelling with curly hair.
Plan Ahead When Travelling With Curly Hair
First thing’s first. Putting just the teensiest bit of effort into planning your curly hair routine before a trip will save you a lot of hassle.
Pack Your Favourite Products
Most of us have products at home that we love. These tried and true products never let you down and always ensure your hair looks happy and healthy. So take them!
Remember you’ll have liquid restrictions on carry-ons. You can only take up to 30ml of liquid in each bottle, and they have to fit in a transparent closed bag.
If you’re travelling with a carry-on, buy a few travel bottles that you can transfer your favourite products into.
Depending on the length of your travels, and the amount of luggage you have, you can certainly store more in your checked baggage. That said, try to limit the number of items and bottles you do take. Less is always better when it comes to packing.
But ultimately, having these ‘holy-grail’ items will ensure your hair has what it needs to get through your travels (or at least get it off to a good start).
Research the Destination
Doing a bit of research on your destination before-hand will actually give you some insight when travelling with curly hair.
See if the climate is wet, dry, humid, etc. as this will influence how your hair behaves.
Researching the destination before-hand will also tip you off on if they have your favourite products available there.
In some cases, I’ve left my products at home and just bought some when I arrived at my destination. It saves for having a heavier bag than needed.
Note: don’t forget to pack lightweight accessories like bobby pins and hair ties.
Don’t Forget Sleepwear
Silk scarves and pillowcases are great for keeping curly hair moisturized and tangle-free throughout the night.
They’re lightweight and come in a variety of colours to match your outfits. They take up minimal space in your backpack or luggage so you’ll have little to worry about when travelling with these.
I usually try to wash and deep condition before I depart for a trip. This way I know my hair is taken care of before I get to my destination. After that, all I have to do is maintain it.
Doing a hair treatment, or at least a deep condition before your trip will help to keep your curls moisturized and healthy.
Doing this before a trip also means you’ll have all the comforts and products of home at your fingertips. It’s also a great way to schedule in some self-care before your departure!
Curly Hair on Airplanes
No one looks put together after a flight. But these tips will help you maintain your mane and stay sane when travelling with curly hair on airplanes (wow is this a poem?).
Oh yeah, and the same advice works for trains and long bus rides.
Putting your hair in a protective style like a bun, pigtails, bantu knots, or braids will help when travelling with curly hair on airplanes or other transportation services.
This way, you won’t have to worry about your curls getting tangled or dry before you even arrive at your destination.
Remember those silk scarves I mentioned for sleeping? They’re great for travelling on airplanes too!
Whether you’re snoozing in the air, or just don’t want to deal with your hair on transportation, silk scarves are a stylish way to keep your hair in great shape.
For that reason, it’s best to pack silk scarves in your carry-on as opposed to your checked luggage so you can reach them when you want.
Moisturize on the Go
This goes for backpacking as well. If I know I’ll be in a drier climate (or even on an airplane) I try to pack a small spray bottle with water and conditioner to keep my hair moisturized while on the go.
After that, I’ll whip my hair up into a bun or braids and carry on. Since my coils need a ton of moisture, this just makes sure my hair doesn’t get harder to manage when I arrive at my destination (I learned from Iceland).
Backpacking With Curly Hair
Speaking of backpacking, travelling with natural hair can be a struggle when you’re living out of a bag.
Here are some things to remember when backpacking with curly hair.
Keep Things Low-Key
This is not the time to try a new hair colour or experiment too much with your curls.
Keeping things low-key and basic will save you a lot of time and trouble when backpacking with curly hair.
Most of the time my hair is in two big braids or pigtails when backpacking or even hitchhiking during my travels. This ensures I have one less thing to worry about while trying to get to my next destination.
Plan Your Routine
Having a simple routine planned for when you do have time to attend to your hair when backpacking will help as well.
I try to keep my routine as minimal as possible when backpacking with curly hair.
Sometimes I don’t even have enough time to detangle when backpacking so I’ll keep my routine to about 2 simple steps that usually consists of wetting my hair, adding a leave-in conditioner, and doing a quick protective style.
A spray bottle with conditioner and water that I mentioned above is super handy for a minimal backpacking routine as well.
Stock Up on The Go
I leave as much as I can behind when backpacking and I’ll stock up on my products as I go.
To keep things light, I’ll try to finish a product before moving on to another one. Samples are also great for backpacking with curly hair as they don’t take up much space or weight.
Opt for a Protective Travel Hairstyle
When backpacking with curly hair, a protective hairstyle is always a great bet.
While quicker protective hairstyles are easy when travelling, styles like Marley twists, box braids, and other extensions can help tuck your hair away until you return!
In the fall especially, I love putting my hair in chunky twists so I have less to deal with when travelling.
You shouldn’t keep protective styles in for too long, so be sure to plan accordingly.
Travelling With Curly Hair in a New Destination
This could be the easiest part, but that depends on your destination.
Keep these in mind and do some research ahead of time so you can conquer those curls no matter where you go!
Learn the Products
When I moved to France, they did not have the same products that I was used to in North America. This meant plenty of extra time in shampoo and conditioner aisles wondering WTF?
While I eventually figured out which products work for me, I wish I had done some research beforehand. If I did, I’d know just which products to try out, saving a ton of time and money.
Learning at least one or some of the products available at your new destination will help you pin down which products you need to grab when you’ve run out.
Ask for Recommendations
While research is great, getting a recommendation from a local can often be better.
Don’t hesitate to ask similar-haired humans what they use to achieve healthy hair – chances are, they’ll be flattered and want to help out!
If you’re in a store, this is a great time to ask a clerk or employee for recommendations as well. And if you want, you can also stop into a local salon for some insight.
Let It Be
Sometimes the best thing you can do to your hair is let it be! When the weather is hot and humid and I just can’t bother, I’ll let my fro blow and add some volume for a super beachy look.
If the products you have or find aren’t working to tame your mane in a new environment just let it do its thing. In these scenarios, you’re better off working with the elements than against it.
How do you travel with curly hair? Tell me some of your tricks below!