Travelling Au Naturel

I got this question in my in box (and was delighted to keep them coming) it was from Denise in Straford and it said Angel I am going on holiday my first time natural, any tips what should I do with my hair?
I asked Ola Fagbohun of DiverseTraveller to give me some tips at it and in response she wrote the following great article.  
Travelling Au Naturel by Ola Fagbohun 
I love to travel, in fact I live to travel. But travelling can be stressful, where to go, when to go, who to go with, what to pack and, what to do with my hair?
The constant worry about how to manage my natural hair used to be a major travel frustration. As shallow and vain as it sounds, many a time, my hair has stopped me from enjoying my holidays – no throwing myself in the pool, no messing around in the sea, and don’t get me started about sand in my hair.
In November 2004, I had had enough and I cut off my shoulder-length and mile wide hair down to a wash and go crop. I do not suggest you follow my drastic step in order to banish hair travel worries, fortunately over the years travelling with natural hair I have picked up a few tips. These hair tips have helped me enjoy my numerous travels and my hair, and whether you are travelling for a few days or a few months, I hope they will help you too.
1. Decide on a hair style: Choose a style that is easy to manage i.e. low maintenance. Styles like;
Cornrows: Tiny or large, short or long these are great for a few weeks. 
Locs or Braids: Very versatile. Don’t make them too long and heavy; you don’t want to leave a trail of fallen braids as you sahshay your way along the beach (caused by tension at the root of your hair that may pull your hair and braid out). This style is great for long trips in many countries.
Twists – free, flat, gel: This popular two strand style can last two to four weeks. Free twists are particularity great for travelling as you can do it yourself. I used to twist my hair at night, wrap with a scarf, then untwist for a day of loose curls. Gel twists are great for very short hair, but don’t leave more in for than a month or your hair may loc when you don’t want it to.


Source: Khamiti Kinks (More photos there)

Wigs or hair pieces: These are great for not only providing a quick hair fix, but also for changing your look. Thankfully you can now buy natural, afro hair pieces or wigs. Before you go try different styles, lengths and colours, find what suits you and flaunt it on holiday. Word of warning, make sure you secure your wig or piece – the wig of a friend flew off while we were enjoying a theme park ride.  
Crop it: The easiest style for travelling is to have your hair as short as possible, this is a true wash and go style.
Me in Montreal crop and scarf – Canada 2009  
2. Pack lots of hair accessories: Once you have decided what clothes you’ll be taking, take lots of matching hair accessories, fortunately they don’t take up much space.
Sleeping cap or scarf: I always travel with a silk scarf, satin is just as good, to either wrap around my pillow or to wrap my hair at night (a satin or silk sleeping cap or pillowcase does the same job). I’ve been told by many hairdressers that silk and satin are kinder on the hair because of their smooth fibres, unlike fabrics like cotton, wool, etc. that can snag hair fibers, and cause hair friction when we toss and turn.
Scarves: Travelling with scarves is one of my favourite travel tips, and my luggage always contains scarves or all colours and textures. They serve many purposes, to cover my head and shoulders when visiting a religious building, used as a sarong when on the beach, to keep me warm when at the mercy of intense air conditioning, or to simply brighten up an outfit.

Me in St Louis, Missouri USA – 2007 Below is my scarf collection


Hats: Along with my scarves, I travel with lots of hats. Looking through my travel photos, you’ll find that I’m wearing a hat in many of them. In the sun I tend to wear caps e.g. baseball caps are a great solution to a bad hair day, plus they protect my hair and eyes from the sun. Hats also help to  cover up aeroplane hair, when the back of the hair goes flat due to the hours spent with our head against the headrest or on a pillow.
My Hat Collection, below Me in BejingChina – 2007


                                               
Scruchies, hair pins, slides and bands: All these come in different textures and colours. You are on holiday, so go wild and spice up your look and style. My tip – don’t stock up on these from home, buy at local markets. They make great souvenirs, and when people ask you where you got them you can re-tell your holiday story.
Essential: Don’t forget to take a small version of your favourite brush and  / or comb.
3. Leave the gadgets at home: As tempting as it may be, leave hair dryers, tongs and flat irons at home. Anyway, hotel rooms have hair dryers; OK it may not be as powerful as the one at home, but why take up valuable packing space with this bulky item. If you must travel with tongs / flat iron opt for the travel size versions, and remember to take a travel plug. If you want a cheap and heat-free way to vary your style, try two strand twists or take pipe curlers
4. Carry 100ml versions of your favourite hair moisturiser, shampoo and / or conditioner: Most airlines now restrict us to only 23Kg luggage, and 100ml of liquid in our hand luggage. This leaves the question – ‘how do I take my many essential hair liquids, creams and solutions?’ Ladies, this is the time to decide what is an essential hair product. For me? Only three hair products, a shampoo containing conditioner, a moisturiser and beeswax. Once you have decided on your essentials, pack the larger size in your suitcase or use travel-size (100ml) bottles and containers. Travel-size containers can go in your hand luggage, or take lots and distribute around your suitcase (wrap in plastic sin case they spill) thus saving space. 

Source: Shop PC
5. Enjoy yourself: Follow my tips and you’ll find yourself swimming, playing in the sand and trying new experiences without hair worries. After all to paraphrase India Arie (I am not my hair), travelling is not about your hair.   
©  DiverseTraveller.com
About Ola Fagbohun: Ola is an avid traveller, sharing her love of travel with women worldwide, through Diversetraveller.com , an online community of women sharing travel experiences and tips, she is the editor. Ola also shares her travel experiences, from around the UK and abroad, through her travel blog, Ola’s World
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