The Root of The Matter: How To Pack For Your Mane

For most women, travel can take its toll on our heads of hair. From weird curls that spring up without warning to hair dryers that take down the electricity at your bed and breakfast overseas, traveling and packing for your mane can end up being your main packing problem. At the same time, packing for your hair can take up a great deal of space in your suitcase. From hair appliances to bottles of shampoo, I wanted to get to the root of the matter. For my upcoming three months in Europe, I need to be as compact as possible. This week I’m sharing how I go about packing compactly and smartly for my locks.

Go Mini When You Can

Hair dryers, straighteners, curling irons and hairbrushes come in pretty standard sizes. When you have to pack these items, if you brought those standard sized models, you might not have much room from anything else in your bag. Rather than leaving these appliances behind and banking on the hotel’s hair dryer, I always travel with mini versions of my hair appliances and accessories. Seeing as I don’t really have a need for a hair straightener, I only pack a mini hair dryer, a mini curling iron and a mini hairbrush to free up a great deal of space in my bag.

Regular Sized Hair Appliances vs Mini Sized Hair Appliances

Regular Sized Hair Appliances vs Mini Sized Hair Appliances

I have only had one mini hair dryer for my last 6 years of travel, the Conair Mighty Mini Styler. Knock on wood, it has never let me down. In the curling iron department, I have had more trouble. Regular sized curling irons are bulky and large. I wanted to cut back on this space hoarder by trying a few different travel sized curling irons. I already had the Conair MiniYOU curling iron so that was my first test. While it takes some getting used to, you can curl longer locks, although it seems more suited for those with short hair. For quick touch-ups on the road, it seems like it would work. Also, by carefully sectioning off my hair, I got the hang of using such a small curling iron in no time. Conair also makes a mini wand curling iron which I would be curious to try on long hair. It seems like it would be easier to wrap the hair around rather than navigating the clip curling irons.

Curled locks with the help of a mini curling iron

Curled locks with the help of a mini curling iron

Pack Dual Voltage Appliances or You’ll Find Yourself in the Dark

You might pack all of your favorite appliances, only to find out that that they make your hotel lose all power. If you are traveling internationally, you have to be sure that your hair appliances are dual voltage. With a dual voltage appliance, you don’t need a clunky converter but rather just the right adaptor plug for your destination. If you aren’t sure if your appliances are dual voltage, it is best not to test them out abroad. I once packed a very expensive hair straightener for Italy. I merely used an adaptor plug with it and the straightener promptly stopped working.

I love my mini hair dryer that is dual voltage. However, as I have read on many travel forums, dual voltage appliances don’t actually work abroad. I have found this not to be true on one condition. I always keep my dual voltage hair dryer on the low setting. If I have ever accidently placed it on high, it sounds like it might explode. The low setting however lends the feeling of the high setting. Even if you bring dual voltage, be sure you can select a lower heat to ensure the appliance never overheats.

Find The Right Dry Shampoo For Travel

When I went to the drug store to test out some dry shampoos for travel, the clerk chomping her gum grabbed my selected bottle of dry shampoo and asked, “Does this stuff even work?” Clearly many of us find dry shampoo to be a mystery. I figured a dry shampoo would be ideal for long flights to freshen up and to cut back on the amount of shampoo and conditioner I have to bring.


However, most dry shampoos came in aerosol form. Upon further digging, you can bring a small amount of aerosols in your carry-on. The same can be said for checked baggage. I also didn’t want to spend a fortune on a dry shampoo. It does just go down the drain or in this case in the air after all. To avoid the aerosol conundrum, I decided to look for powder dry shampoos. If you aren’t worried about aerosols, I highly recommend the Dove Dry Shampoo. The price was right and it also made my hair feel clean when I hadn’t washed it. If you want to avoid aerosols, I liked the Blow Pro Faux Dry Dry Shampoo. While a bit higher in price, this powder dry shampoo was up for the task of hiding my laziness for not wanting to wash my hair. I also found the size to be ideal for travel.

What are your secrets for packing for your mane? Share your tips!


  1. says

    Every girl’s worst nightmare happened to me when I was in Spain last year… the power of my straightener and the power at the hotel didn’t match up so it got WAY too hot. I actually ended up melting off a chunk of my hair which was mortifying. I screamed and shouted in a panic for my boyfriend to unplug it as I stood there with gobs of hair in my hands. Thankfully (I guess), the chunk of hair is at the nape of my neck so you can only really see it if I put my hair up in a high bun. But still. This experience completely melted off the plates of my straightener too and I had to use it with the plates flapping around for the rest of the trip. Horrible.
    I also bought a mini hairdryer when I was in Europe once. This was a great option because a) it was mini b) it had the plug for Europe and c) now I can use it whenever I travel!

    • says

      Oh no! I have never heard of the appliance melting hair off! Good tip about buying appliances where you will be traveling. I might do that if my mini curling iron fails me…

  2. says

    I’m usually minimal with my hair when I travel – I don’t use any styling products because I think it makes it dirty faster. Also I use a round metal brush to double as a curling iron- if you heat up the metal brush it will hold a light curl.

  3. says

    You certainly have a wonderful head of hair Suzy so it is good that you are able to share what is tried and tested for you.

    As for me. Well I’ve never been big on hair styling and now I have very little of it that it isn’t an issue.

    I do recall a little while ago staying in a Travelodge at Covent Garden in London. In those hotels in room hair dryers don’t come as standard, they have to be booked and borrowed from reception. The hair dryer was already in use and my wife and I were due to go out. So there was nothing else for it but I had to rush out and find a shop to buy one!

  4. Hamish Healys says

    You know what I think the best solution is? Cut it short, short… but with a style. I’ve seen women with really short, short hair that looks very stylish and chic. … Then all you’ d need to bring while traveling is a brush!

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