Whether it’s a European city break, a week on the beach, a luxury all-inclusive or an action-packed adventure, travelling can be an amazing experience.

However, for many naturalistas, one area that needs careful consideration is how to manage and take care of your curls when travelling.

On any given day, caring for natural hair is not often straight forward, couple this with a disruption to the normal routine, by travelling abroad, and you could be faced with a number of additional challenges.

No-one wants to spend precious time caring for their hair when instead you could be lying on a beach, exploring the main attractions and sampling local cuisine.

At the same time, you don’t want every day of your holiday to be a bad hair day. You want your hair to be healthy and looking on point.

Whether your hair texture is 3B or 4C, these handy tips and tricks will help you to keep your hair healthy whilst travelling and avoid any possible natural hair disasters on your holiday.

50154596 - sketch of a terrified woman having a bad hair day50154596 - sketch of a terrified woman having a bad hair day - How to protect your natural hair while travelling!
Image Credit: www.123rf.com.

Protective Styling

Protective styling is a common go-to solution for many naturalistas when travelling.

Mini twists, cornrows, braids, wigs and weave mean you have very little to worry about and can enjoy fun in the sun without neglecting your precious coils.

Protective styling also means you don’t have to worry too much about precious products taking up luggage allowance that could otherwise be used for another pair of sandals.



If you prefer to rock your hair in its natural state then you’ll definitely need to pack your products. However, a big restriction can be the limited luggage allowance.

If you’re only taking hand luggage, most airlines allow 10kgs and some long-haul flights only permit 20kgs for checked-in cases. This means you’ll need to be strategic about what products you take with you.

The products you pack will depend on several factors such as the climate of the destination you are traveling to and the activities you plan to do.

Will it be humid or snowing? Will you need a heavy butter or a light moisturiser?

Is the water hard or soft?

Will you be swimming or using the gym? If so, will you need to shampoo and condition your hair?

And what if you run out of products and you’re in a county that does not cater for natural afro hair?

If you had to minimise your routine for a week or two, what products could you leave out completely?

Can you cope with co-washing only which means you can leave the shampoo behind? Alternatively, you can consider a shampoo bar which is much smaller and lighter than a bottle. Do you need a leave-in conditioner, oil, butter and moisturiser or can you get away with just a moisturiser or oil for a week?

Olive oil is a good option as it’s available in most countries and is commonly used in natural hair care routines as a sealant.


Tools and Accessories

Depending on the style you choose, you may only need a brush or comb and a silk or satin scarf or bonnet.

Other items you may want to consider include a shower cap, microfibre towel or cotton t-shirt, bobby pins and hairbands. You might also want to pack an additional scarf for days when your hair will not cooperate – or simply as an option for an alternative style.

If you normally diffuse your hair but do not want to travel with your own hair dryer, a Hot Sock may be worth investing in as it can be used with any hair dryer.


On the plane

The air on planes dries out your hair so it’s a good idea to moisturise the night before travelling, especially if you’re not opting for a protective style.

During the flight, it’s advisable to either wrap your hair or tie it up in a bun.

In your hand luggage, pack a travel-sized container of oil, hair butter or moisturiser and a small spray bottle to replenish your hair during the flight.

Also remember to drink plenty of water to ensure you and your hair stay hydrated.

There is no denying that travelling with natural hair takes some planning but the key is to keep it simple. Do your research in advance, minimise the number of products you use and keep your hair well moisturised and protected throughout.

You absolutely can maintain healthy natural hair while traveling and slay at the same time.


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