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Tips for Getting Beauty Treatments Abroad

Tips for Beauty Treatments Abroad

When it comes to traveling long term, it’s easy to start feeling (and looking) like a slob, but indulging in the occasional beauty treatment can change your attitude.

Some destinations are known for their spa treatments, like Bath, England; Bali, Indonesia; and Sedona, Arizona in the United States. Otherwise you may just find yourself in the right place at the right time and in desperate need of a pedicure.

So here are our tips for getting beauty treatments abroad to make sure you leave feeling fresh.


Sydney haircut
Sydney haircut

Some travelers are terrified by the idea of getting their hair cut while traveling and for good reason. It can be difficult to convey the look you’re going for, especially if there’s a language barrier. But my hair is short and grows very fast, so I’ve had to get it cut while traveling twice.

During my year in Sydney, I started by going to get $20 trims from the cheap place at the mall, but when it came time to get a real cut and color, I asked my co-workers where I should go. I ended up at Blow Dry Bar in the MLC Center, getting treated to champagne while they highlighted and cut my hair.

More recently, I was in need of a cut before my friend’s wedding in Koh Samui, Thailand. I had been putting it off for weeks, but finally mustered the courage after finding a place that was open. The woman spoke excellent English and understood what I was looking for. Best of all, it only cost me $10 with tip!

Tip: If you’re nervous about getting your haircut abroad, be sure to bring pictures of what you want.

Spa, Facials and Massage

Turkish Bath in Fethiye
Turkish Bath in Fethiye

Traveling can be exhausting, so you may want to treat yourself to a massage before hopping on a 15 hour flight! It can be a fantastic way to relax while experiencing an aspect of the local culture, especially if you’re in Thailand or Sweden, countries known for their spa treatments.

I’d had a massage before, but nothing quite like a Turkish bath. I went back and forth about it, but was certainly glad I did in Fethiye, as it left me feeling more relaxed than ever with a fresh layer of skin and clean hair. In this situation, I knew the ones in Istanbul were more expensive and focused towards tourists, so I waited until later in my trip.

Tip: A little research can save you money in this regard.

While in Thailand, I didn’t go for the full massage, but did get a foot massage from the famous masseuses of Wat Po Massage School. We were rubbed down with aromatic lotion and they relieved the tension in my calves from days walking around Bangkok.

Some of the best places to get massages and treatments are at luxury hotels, so that’s a good place to start. But if you’re not ready to splurge, again ask hotel staff, or locals, for recommendations.

Tip: In Thailand, massages can be hit or miss, so make sure you’ve read up on your location. Also be sure to let them know if you have any problems with your neck or back or certain areas you want worked harder.


Airport themed nail salon in London
Airport themed nail salon in London

Getting my nails done is something I only do sparingly, but it can be nice to have my feet scrubbed and my fingernails trimmed from time to time. I went a few times in Sydney and have thought about visiting nail salons in England and elsewhere in Europe. It’s not a popular splurge in many parts of the world, so it can be nice to take advantage when you can.

Tip: My biggest tip is to confirm the price in advance.

On a layover in Los Angeles, I saw a sign for a $20 manicure and pedicure, but they ended up charging me $40 plus tip. I’d somehow agreed to a neck massage (that felt horrible!) and a scrub, thinking they were just being nice, and was fuming by the time I left.

Tips for Finding the Right Place

So if you’ve decided you want to get a beauty treatment done, where should you start? It can be overwhelming to just wander around and hope for the best when you walk into an establishment. I recommend asking your hotel concierge or an employee of your accommodation, as they will be able to tell you where they go and how much it should cost.

Tip: If you’re traveling in the United States, the StyleSeat app for iPhone and Android allows you to search by location, price range and treatment, which includes hair, nail, makeup, massages, facials and even treatments for men. It has clients in over 15,000 cities, including New York, Chicago and Miami, and allows you to see pictures of the stylist’s work and book and pay on the app.

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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Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.

Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.

Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking! – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

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. Karisa says

    Nice guide! 🙂 I loved getting the occasional massage while traveling in Southeast Asia. I’ve been trying to find Thai massage outside of Thailand but so far no luck!

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