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Packing Essentials for Short Hair

Before I leave for long trips, I tend to cut my hair drastically. I know I’ll be gone and won’t want to deal with drying it or straightening it every day, so I keep it low maintenance. This means I don’t have to pack a blow dryer, straightener, or a large amount of shampoo, and that is definitely conducive to packing light!

It also gives it time to grow out in front of strangers if I end up hating it, which I luckily never do.

I’ve had shorter hair for almost four years and wouldn’t turn back, especially as my lifestyle becomes more travel-centric. Here are some of the items that I recommend for fellow short-haired travelers.

caroline in various headband looks

Headbands and Scarves

For moments where I don’t want to have hair in my face or style it, I’m glad to have headbands and scarves. They are both essential items for traveling in hot climates and especially when volunteering. You can wear both in so many ways, whether like a headband, a kerchief, across your forehead or upside down in a 50s updo.

>> Check out the Buff for a multipurpose item that includes a headband!

Brush or Comb

Some short-haired gals swear by their bristle brushes and others prefer the simplicity of a comb. Whichever you prefer, make sure it’s a travel sized version that won’t take up unnecessary room in your toiletries bag. I pack a small comb to straighten out my hair after showering as well as a fold up combination mirror brush for when it’s dry.

Hair Romance's easy twist & pin updo
Hair Romance’s easy twist & pin updo

Clips and Bobby Pins

Even if I can pull up my hair into a small ponytail, I end up having lots of wisps that fall down. Bobby pins and clips to pull my bangs half up keep me from wanting to literally pull out my hair.

At all times while traveling, I keep bobby pins strewn about my person and belongings, including a small container of them inside my toiletries bag, a few floating at the bottom of my purse and at least one slid onto the bottom of my shirt. I’m never without one! There are so many uses, as Christina shared with us. You also never know when you might need them to MacGyver your way into your locked hotel room.

For girls with very short hair, a couple of blingy clips can be a great way to fancy up an outfit for nicer events on the road. Plus, they’re just extremely packable.

Hair Products

I’m fairly low maintenance with my short hair, apart from my necessary addiction to dry shampoo, but you may want styling products suited to your hairstyle. Waxes and pomades are ideal for short hair and travel as they won’t count against your TSA liquids bag and add some texture and hold. Hairspray is another option, but can be tricky if you’re trying to avoid traveling with aerosols. Go for the pump bottle if you truly need it.

What are your recommendations for short hair care and styling on the road? If you’re not short-haired now, would you considered getting a big cut before traveling?

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Gear We Use

speakeasy hidden pocket travel scarf ad
Speakeasy Hidden Pocket Scarves


Splice Jaisalmer Reversible Tunic
Splice Reversible Jaisalmer Tunic


Eagle Creek Compression Packing Cubes
Eagle Creek Compression Packing Cubes


tom bihn 3d organizer toiletry bag
Tom Bihn 3D Organizer Cube


Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack - Fits in the palm of your hand!
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack


Turkish Travel Towels


Travel Resources

HPL Learnables

Handbag Packing Masterclass – Learn to pack your lightest bag ever in this revolutionary packing class run by HPL founder, Brooke.

Creative Ways to Minimize Your Toiletry & Beauty Kit – Practical tips alongside DIY recipes designed to help you pack lighter, smaller & with fewer liquids. (Also included as a bonus to Handbag Packing Masterclass.)

Book Your Trip

Viator – Enhance your trip experience by booking from thousands of tours across the globe. – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions


  1. Jill says

    For me and my hair type, it’s actually easier to have it extremely long, as I can just put it up in a messy bun or braids for the day. My hair is A LOT of very fine strands, so is pretty easy to work with. When it’s long, I don’t have to brush it or dry it. Added bonus is that at the end of the day when I take it out it’s super wavy and will stay that way for a few hours as I go out.

    My sister, who has similar hair to me, cut it quite short (above her shoulders) before she went on a year-long trip to Australia. It looked great until it started to grow out a bit, and then she looked like Snape.

  2. Dianne says

    I have very short hair, fine, no body at all. I travel for up to 5 weeks with the following: small round brush, comb, “lifter,” 1oz. bottle shampoo, Tigi Root Boost, small jar Tigi Manipulator. Minimal products for maximum effect. No hair dryer, not needed. Thanks for your post.

  3. Kris says

    Just like Jill, I find it easier to have my hair long when travelling. My hair escapes any ponytail or bun I put it in, unless it’s at least 10 cm below shoulders. Even bobbypins won’t help! I guess it just depends on a person’s hair type. Girls with slightly too silky hair (who could’ve guessed it can be a bad thing right?) like myself will definitely find longer hair easier to maintain. Yours looks good when short though! 🙂

  4. Svenja says

    I’m too lazy to style my hair, so I only need shampoo, conditioner (both in bar form, no mess, no liquids), and a hair tie to put it up in messy bun when I want it out of my face. My hair is pretty wild and curly, so if I don’t want to end up with a fluffy cloud of frizz around my head, I better don’t brush or blow dry it – makes packing light even easier…
    Just like Jill and Kris, my hair is better to handle when it’s longer, my “easy length” starts at shoulder length, anything shorter actually requires some kind of styling products.

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