Personal Upkeep for Frequent Travelers

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In my early days as a frequent traveler, one of my biggest frustrations was scheduling time for “personal upkeep”. Whether it’s simple things like a pedicure or hair cut with a favorite stylist, or more complex regular procedures with a specialist, it can be difficult to juggle appointments, especially when the hours those professionals keep don’t coincide with travel requirements.

I’ve tried many tactics and what I’ve found is that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work.  There are a few different approaches for “keeping up appearances” – which one is best depends on personal preference.

The “Find a Spot” approach

This is a great approach for those who are relatively low maintenance.  If you just want an occasional massage or facial as a treat, need a pedicure monthly to feel pampered, and have hair that requires a trim every couple of months, this approach is one that works well.  Pop in wherever you like when the need strikes.

Advance Booking/Blocking

If you have very particular needs (hair color that needs to be matched from a color card or very specific preferences for aesthetic care), this approach works well.  Find the professional you like for your preferred services and then advance book those appointments – and juggle them around travel if necessary.

Hybrid/Selective Scheduling

A great strategy if you are particular about some things (hair or waxing) but open-minded with others.  Block off appointments for the critical appointments to coincide with time at home – and then fit the others in as they work (whether at home or on the road).


I was once a “find a spot” girl – I’d get my hair cut in shopping malls at night when I was on the road on client sites – and I knew good nail salons near most of the major airports where I flew out regularly.

My needs have changed as I’ve gotten older though.  My red hair is now tinged with grey – or would be if I didn’t see the same colorist routinely.  So that’s an every four week commitment.  Now that I’ve cut most of it off, I pair a cut with my touch-ups every few weeks.  I also have determined that I’m not willing to leave my fingers or my bikini line to a stranger – so those appointments are now also mixed in with my regulars as are my eyelash touchups.

So every four weeks for hair/bikini and every three weeks for fingers/lashes are scheduled on my calendar – and right now booked out for six months so I can plan around them.  These blocks are out there and knowing that they are calendared makes my travel/life balance easier as I have one less thing to stress about when I’m home.  My waxing studio also does spray tanning so when I have a vacation or special occasion  coming up, I book both my wax and spray tan for the same appointment date.

I’m a bit more flexible when it comes to pedicures – I like them regularly but I’m willing to let a stranger touch my toes.  So sometimes I get those at my regular salon when I’m getting my fingers done – but since I need pedicures less frequently than manicures, I’m also willing to try an airport spa during a delay or visit a nail salon in a town where I’m traveling for work.

Massages (both full body and foot reflexology) and facials are a less frequent indulgence but one I will schedule when on vacation or as a special treat.  It’s a given that I’ll get a massage while on a cruise or at a resort hotel – and I’m not opposed to a chair massage during an airport layover.  I also have a couple of favorite foot reflexology spots both domestically and abroad where I will gladly while away an hour having my feet worked on.

While this might sound “high maintenance”, its more about planning to stay in tip-top shape.  And having it all planned out and on the calendar makes for one less thing to stress about when looking at a busy travel calendar.

About Jennifer Moody

Jennifer is a management consultant and avid volunteer. Her career and volunteer duty travels have helped her log top-tier airline and hotel status annually for the last nineteen years. In addition, she embraces the opportunity to maximize her vacation time by planning extracurricular trips that have taken her to over 60 countries and 48.5 US states. Once an "every week" road warrior, she now only travels around 100 days a year. She resides in her native Fort Worth, Texas where she enjoys cooking, gardening, sewing, needlepoint, wine, and playing with her Border Collie/Great Pyreness mix puppy Harley Quinn.

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  1. wow, you’re better than I am. I usually end up doing my roots at 3 in the morning before a 7 am flight and I bring nail polish with me on the trip hoping I’ll give my self a manicure, but rarely do! I just had a fiasco of a story of having my hair “trimmed” by a hairdresser who doesn’t speak english – I should write about it! What do you have done for your eyelashes? I seem to never be able to wear mascara because I’m allergic and wear hard lenses – maybe you have an answer!!

    • In my early days of travel (aka when I was young and broke and colored my own hair), I used to do it in the hotel bathroom. I figured they used industrial bleach on the towels! I’m probably still paying back the karma from doing that. As far as my lashes, I have the same issue (eyes get irritated by mascara) and my lashes no longer are as long or lush as they were. I tried Latisse but it’s expensive – and for that kind of price, I decided to find a professional that I trusted who could do lash extensions instead. I love them – no more mascara, pretty lashes all the time (even when wearing glasses), and an extra few minutes every morning because I don’t need much eye makeup anymore. But if you go the pro lash route, shop around. This is one area not to be too price sensitive in. I’ve heard horror stories about folks getting them done at a nail salon and having eye infections or shoddy work. Lashes and waxing are two services I just will not scrimp on!

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