African-American, Black, Budapest, Caribbean, chick, curling, Dominican Republic, dual volatge flat iron, dual voltage flat iron, Europe, flat, girl, hair, international travel, iron, Italy, London, perm, Prague, traveling while black, Vienna, volt, watt, woman, women
I am still addicted to the creamy crack. What can I say? Until I get the nerve to go natural and not get my hair chemically processed, I’ll continue to face my #permproblems while traveling internationally.
You’re finally leaving the United States for shores your feet have never touched on that trip you’ve dreamed your entire life about. You have your passport, your camera, and your itinerary. You even know a few phrases to get around in that bright, big country just waiting for you to arrive. What, however, are you going to do about your hair? You don’t feel like having it braided, and want to wear it as loose and chemically altered as you do now. What’s a Black chick to do?
I highly recommend that you study the wattage/voltage issue before leaving on your international trip. Nothing was as funny (or as scary) as my first trip to Europe. I was so afraid that I would burn down the hotels I was staying in that I only left my curling iron plugged in for a few seconds before unplugging it, running to the mirror, and curling what I could. Then I would repeat the process. My Kristy McNichol flip was not exactly on point, but it looked good enough for Eastern Europeans not to stare in horror.
You may laugh at my use of a curling iron since flat irons are in vogue. I purposely left my flat-iron at home because I figured that I could stand to lose my curling iron if things went south in Europe. I could not bear to lose my brand new flat-iron.
Feeling froggy about using my curling iron successfully in Prague, Vienna, and Budapest, I brazenly took my flat-iron with me to London. Needless to say, the first morning I ended up frying not only my adapter, converter, and flat-iron, but there was a distinct electrical burn smell. Thank God I did not start a real fire! I had to buy a flat-iron from the store Boots (similar to a Walgreen’s or CVS) in the English city of Bath to use for the rest of my trip.
All of that brings me to this advice: be very careful about taking appliances with you to another country that run hot. Curling irons and blow dyers are appliances that are very easy to ruin if using on a differing voltage/wattage system. And unless you have the wattage/voltage thing figured out in advance, you may want to consider buying a cheap curling iron or flat-iron in the country where you are going; especially if you plan to spend at least a week there. The destination country’s hair iron is already set to the country’s electrical system. Purchasing an iron at your destination will save you darn near starting an electrical fire at your hotel, or worse, having crazy hair during your once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Another option to consider is purchasing a dual voltage flat-iron. It won’t get you around the wattage issue. For that, you will need to buy an adapter to adapt the American plug to the shape of the outlet of the destination country to which you are traveling.
For a recent trip to Italy, I purchased grounded Italian adapters and used my dual voltage flat-iron with much success. I have also used the specialty flat-iron in the Dominican Republic (sans adapters) with few problems. The sixty dollars I paid for the iron was worth it because I not only use it abroad, but as a travel-dedicated hair tool while traveling in the United States.