Last summer I arrived in Germany to a security pat down by a large handsy woman. Then I heard, “You can’t have zis,” from the man going through my luggage. He threw my brand new bottle of hair relaxer in the garbage. I ended up in Scotland for a month, where it rains everyday with no way to tame my frizzy Italian hair. Here’s the right way to pack, so you won’t end up hating every vacation photo you have.
Packing your carry on
In the worst-case scenario, a red-eye flight with layovers, you want to be able to brush your teeth and fix your hair in the airport bathroom before catching the next plane. You’re allowed to bring containers of 100mL or less placed in a 1 litre plastic bag in your carry on. Don’t worry if you forget the plastic bag, they should give you one at the airport when you depart. I suggest bringing a travel sized toothpaste and mouthwash. I use the little makeup pots from Clinique for my carry on moisturizers and face wash. Just go into the store and ask for a couple—they’re free. Make sure you label them because once they’re in the tiny jar, it can get confusing.
Packing your luggage
To make sure you don’t get to the hotel, open your luggage and realize all your clean clothes are covered in shampoo, put all your beauty products in Ziploc bags. Try not to bring anything too breakable like perfume bottles. In fact, if you have a perfume fetish you might want to get some of those refillable atomizers from Shoppers. That way you can carry tons at once and never run out. Again, make sure they’re labeled.
You can bring liquids, gels and aerosols in your luggage but the net capacity of each item cannot exceed 500 mL and the total capacity of all you products has to be less than 2 L. But realistically, airport security isn’t going to stand there measuring everything, especially if you use those small Clinique pots again. You can also bring aerosols but they must be protected by a cap or other means to prevent content release. So if you’ve lost the lid to your mousse, hair spray or dry shampoo, don’t worry. You can still bring it sealed in a plastic bag.
Packing your hair appliances:
The only hair appliances on the no-fly list are gas curlers, but since no one has those anymore it’s not an issue. You do want to be careful of your appliances when travelling to another country because of voltage conversion. North America operates on an 110V system whereas most of Europe operates on 220V. That’s a lot more power running through your appliance!
There are two kinds of international plug adaptors: an adaptor just has different slots for your plug to fit in, whereas a converter changes the voltage so your appliances won’t overheat. Many higher-end straighteners are dual voltage, so you’ll only need a plug adaptor. You’ll know if something is dual voltage because it will say 110/220 somewhere on the packaging. But I find that cheap blow dryers don’t turn on with voltage converters, and will overload and destroy a regular plug adaptor. So you’ll either have to invest in a dual voltage blow dryer or go without. Try not to worry too much; a European backdrop can make any girl look chic.