“Jamaica, no problem.” – The explanation as to why my curls survived my trip to Montego Bay.
As I packed for my first vacation abroad with my friends, one thing kept coming to mind- “How am I going to take care of my curls while I’m away?”
I normally get braided extensions when I travel but now that I’m pretty satisfied with my hair, I decided to stay natural when I visited Jamaica. However, box braids or any other form of braided extensions are a good option for traveling because you do not have to monitor your hair very often.
A few weeks before my trip, I considered going to my stylist for my second session of highlights because I wanted a lighter color so my hair can stand out during my vacation. As obsessed as I became with this idea, I consulted with my stylist and she suggested I wait until after my vacation to dye my hair. She also explained the sun lightens your hair to some degree.
I deep conditioned the night before my trip and also purchased a Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Deep Conditioning Protein Pack at my local beauty supply for my carryon. These can also be found in RiteAid for $2.69. The pack allows up to four deep conditioning sessions (at least from my experience). I was a bit concerned about traveling with my hair products because as you all may know, TSA has strict rules on what you can bring on a plane and even stricter rules on the ounce limit for liquids- the current limit for all liquid containers is 3.4 ounces (100mL). I invested in two packs of travel sized bottles at Family Dollar for $2.50 each and poured my shampoo, conditioner, styling products and even face wash into all of them. I poured conditioner into two bottles because I knew I was going to use it the most.
Before packing my products, I decided to invest in a new hair line- Marc Anthony True Professional. I was casually shopping at RiteAid for last minute products because my Ouidad Curl Quencher Hydrafusion Intense Curl Cream unfortunately ran out a few days before my trip. I had heard good reviews about the Marc Anthony line and I also saw that their products are sulfate-free. I bought the Hydrating Coconut Oil & Shea Butter Sulfate Free Shampoo and the Hydrating Coconut Oil & Shea Butter Curl Cream and I absolutely loved how they worked on my hair- my curls remained soft and fluffy throughout my trip. Both products can also be found at stores (online too) like Ulta for $7.99.
I packed four other important things as well- my satin head wrap, a wide-tooth comb, my diffuse and my Milk&Sass Sugar Twists Spiral Hair Ties I bought at Amazon for $7.99 for a pack of six. These hair ties are effective for curly hair because they do not break your hair, wrap around your curls, blend in with your curl pattern without leaving any dents. I stretch these ties really big and wrap them around my hair as if they were a headband so I still wake up with volume the next day. All I have to do is spray my Renpure Coconut Water Replenishing Treatment Mist onto my hair, wiggle it and pick it until it restores to its regular form.
Every night, I wrapped my satin wrap around my pillow just so I didn’t have to wake up with unmanageable hair and wash it everyday. I made sure I didn’t forget my comb at home because this would’ve been the ultimate disaster for my hair as it needs to be carefully detangled or else my hair will be frizzy with no volume for the rest of the day.
My diffuser, as annoying as diffusing can be, definitely helped add volume to my hair in about 10 minutes when I was in a rush and didn’t have enough time to wait for it to air dry.
As much as I love the pool and the beach, I wasn’t purposely dipping my head in the water every time. I have color in my hair so I didn’t want to strip it by coming in contact with so much chlorine. I also feared my hair would become brittle and my ends would split so I was cautious of that. However, I made sure to add a lot of conditioner to my hair as a way to protect my hair from the harsh chemicals.
The only thing I can say I disliked was styling my hair and then participating in water activities which obviously changed the condition of my hair. After all, I did visit a tropical island so I wasn’t too upset, I just wanted my hair to stay on point the whole time.
I did have a more annoying inconvenience at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. When I was going through the baggage screening, the lady scanning my carryon through the x-ray machine took a double take and asked me to open my bag. I wasn’t scared because I knew I didn’t sneak anything illegal in, but I was very annoyed when she prompted me to take out my travel-size bottles.
I asked her what the problem was with the containers and she said they needed to be labeled because she can’t tell what’s inside them. I showed her that there were only hair products inside the containers. She proceeded to say that it could possibly be anything and any bottles on a carryon should have a label. I asked her if she had any labels so I can fill them out and place them on the bottles because there was still product in each bottle which I didn’t want to waste. She wasn’t comprehending and proceeded to throw away my bottles. I told her that all bottles are TSA-approved and I had no issue with them in New York. She said every country has different rules that passengers need to abide by. Say no more. Next time I’ll be sure to place all my products in a checked bag so I don’t have to go through this again.
Surprisingly enough, there were two more bottles left in my book bag which she didn’t dispose of- so I guess I got lucky with those, but she threw away the bottles I wanted to keep the most.
Moral of the story is: always do your research on every country’s TSA rules and just put your products in luggage you’re planning to check-in. The last thing you want is to have no products you’ll definitely need while traveling abroad- a nightmare!