This is something I know most of us consider: Should I bring my straighteners?
I guess the first thing to think about is how often you use straighteners at home. My best friend has crazy out-of-control Sarah Jessica Parker-esque curls and straightens her hair every single day. Of course she took her GHDs travelling. My hair isn’t really curly but gets frizzy in the humidity and I like to iron out the kinks at home. So did I really need to bring them?
Ok, well my first trip was travelling around the States for the summer in 2009. And I read all those posts on all those forums that said definitively – No, backpackers don’t straighten their hair. And I was all for being an authentic backpacker so left the straighteners at home. And regretted it. Massively. Luckily I made friends with several people who were clever enough to bring theirs along, so I didn’t have to go out to the top nightclubs in Vegas with frizzy hair. But there were certain points in my trip when I hadn’t made friends yet, or nobody in the vicinity had GHDs, when I had to make do without. And it just made me feel like crap.
Obviously this was America, somewhere you want to look just as fabulous as you do at home.
My second trip in 2011-12 was 3 months in Southeast Asia followed by a year in Australia. This was a bit of a spontaneous thing and I hadn’t planned on staying and working in Australia, otherwise I would’ve brought my GHDs without doubt. But I was struggling to get the weight of my backpack down so opted for a cute pair of mini travel straighteners.
These ones were £9.99 from Topshop and they came in a cute little pouch. They were perfect for Southeast Asia. Most days I would plait my hair after washing, or put it in a bun, and it would dry wavy and frizz-free, and super fast at that. It is so hot there that I never blow dried my hair at all. But if I was having a big night out, I liked to go over my hair with the straighteners. Or when I was in Singapore, it was like being in the real world and I would straighten my hair every day. Worth having, I thought.
It is worth noting that the travel straighteners aren’t nearly as good as GHDs or other ceramic straighteners, but they’re fine for smoothing out your hair. Just don’t expect poker straight results. And you can’t curl your hair with them either like you can with others.
However, when I got to Australia, the travel straighteners were not holding up. Especially since I got my hair cut short in Perth, into a style that needed to be styled with proper straighteners. My first month in Oz was spent travelling Western Australia and I managed to have friends with GHDs again. There is usually someone around that has them. But once I got settled in Brisbane, the first thing I did was asked my mum to post out my GHDs. Australia is like America, like the real world – you need the same things you need at home.
If you’re doing a working holiday visa in Australia, New Zealand or Canada – bring your GHDs. No question about it. Trust me.
So as with most travelling dilemmas, it depends where you’re going. If you’re doing a RTW trip that includes some Western countries, you should definitely consider bringing the GHDs if you can afford the space in your backpack. Do you really want to have that iconic photo of you in front of the Sydney Opera House or the Empire State Building with frizzy hair?
It is a balancing act though, if your trip is 5 days in LA followed by 6 months in South America then a month in India and home, the travel straighteners will do, or none at all if you hair doesn’t need it. But if you’re doing 2 weeks in Thailand, a month in Australia, a month in New Zealand and 2 weeks in New York. You most definitely want to fit those GHDs in. I’m just saying.