The following guest post on the best travel blow dryers was submitted by Katie Doyle.
I have a lot of hair, whether it’s long or short, so I’m constantly faced with the struggle of what the heck to do with it while I’m traveling — especially when I need to substitute the comforts I take for granted while at home.
Blow dryers are one such comfort. Personally, I could not live in a cold place without one, because my hair would NEVER dry, and this can be disastrous for many reasons (getting sick being one of them). Fortunately, I’ve managed to have a blow dryer in my life in all of the places I’ve lived abroad: first Ireland and then France, where the dryer was key for a successful winter season.
Most of the time, I haven’t packed a blow dryer initially because a) there was simply no room for it, and b) I was afraid it would blow UP when I plugged it into a foreign power outlet. My hair remained dry thanks to hair dryers that have been left or lent to me by others. I’ve been living in New Zealand for a year now, and I was lucky enough to happen upon a travel-sized blow dryer when a flatmate gave hers to me during my first weeks here. Win!
Now that I’m part of the travel-sized-hair-dryer-ownership club, I want to invest in one that will last me for several years’ worth of adventures. Luckily for you, dear readers, you get to reap the benefits of my research!
Even if you’re not living abroad, hotel blow dryers can often be sub-par. Not powerful enough, not hot enough, not updated since 1976…regardless, these are just several reasons why a travel-sized hair dryer can be a key component of female travel.
Do your research to make sure you’re investing in one that’s right for you! Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Will it work?
The whole point of a travel-sized blow dryer is that it actually works in whatever country you’re visiting. You can pair a converter with your dryer, and many companies make products that are compatible with different electrical setups.
Strength and performance are also important points of comparison, because there’s no point in having a dryer that takes too long to do its job! The T3 Featherweight Journey* is a powerful little blow dryer that, like the one I use, is dual voltage (most dryers allow you to switch from 120 volts to 240 volts). This means it can be adjusted to match the settings of wherever you’re going, which I definitely recommend looking up beforehand to avoid dryer breakage.
Mine is dual voltage, which means it’s a lot less likely to freak out when I plug it in, although in the interest of full disclosure, it is made to be used in New Zealand (where I live).
Editor’s note: Since writing the article, it looks like the T3 Featherweight Journey might be hard to find; instead, we recommend checking out the T3 Featherweight Compact Folding Dryer*.
2. Will it fit in my bag?
With travel-sized blow dryers and hair straighteners, space is often an issue.
Folding makes packing the dryer super easy, and it’s easy to store if you don’t have lots of space, either in your luggage or where you’re staying on your trip. Another important criteria is its weight — you really want a blow dryer that’s 1lb. or less for ultimate packing efficiency.
3. How much will it cost?
If you’re buying new, a travel-sized blow dryer will cost you anywhere between $20 and $150. The more expensive models are usually comparable to their regular-sized mates in drying performance and quietness. With that in mind, I’ve had luck finding used ones on TradeMe and Craigslist (and similar sites) for $10, and these will get the job done, too.
As with mostly everything in life, if you’re looking for a long-lasting hair dryer, it might be worth it to spend the money on a new model. But if you just want one for a brief trip or a journey that you know will be rough on it, a used blow dryer can be purchased for a very affordable price.
>>See these suggestions for unexpected places to buy travel gear.
And now for our picks for the best travel blow dryers (drum roll, please):
1. Revlon 1875 Watt Travel Hair Dryer
I’m a Revlon fan, so I agree with the writers at Lucky Shops on the Revlon 1875 Watt Travel Hair Dryer*. This one is my choice for several great reasons: I know it will work, it will last a while, I can pick it up at the department store down the road, and it fits perfectly in my bag and my budget, ringing in at about $12 USD.
2. Vidal Sassoon Studio Tools Go Travel Dryer
Karina, an HPL-er on Facebook, recommends the Vidal Sassoon Studio Tools Go Travel Dryer. This model is dual voltage and packs 2000 watts of power. Karina approves because it’s foldable and comes with an adorable little concentrator for a smooth, straight finish. VS also sticks on a bonus travel tag! You can find this one for about $15 USD.
3. Brookstone Ionic Dual Voltage Travel Hair Dryer
Fellow HPL fan Christina Altman likes the Brookstone Ionic Dual Voltage Travel Hair Dryer*. This one includes a cool setting and a convenient switch to go from 125v to 250v. The nearly 70-inch cord ensures that you can plug it in almost anywhere and still make it to a mirror! It’s a bit more expensive, but the Brookstone brand has a solid reputation for its long-lasting products. This model will cost you about $45 USD.
4. Conair Vagabond Mini Turbo 1600-Watt Dryer
Do you have a favorite travel blow dryer?
About the author: Katie is a writer and videographer who chronicles her travels on Where in the World is Katie Doyle? from wherever she happens to be, which is currently in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. A winter in France, a summer on Cape Cod, with road trips and fishing expeditions in between—she’s up for anything and will tell you the story about it later. Check out www.kadoyle.com and follow @ladykatherined.