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.
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.
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.