What to Expect When Traveling with a Beard

—Urban Beardsman
What to Expect When Traveling with a Beard

More than a century ago, a wise man said, “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have traveled.” Amen to that, and then some. Hundreds of years and many generations later this statement resonates more loudly than ever. In a society where many believe degrees and certifications outweigh the value of genuinely trans-formative experiences, many young people are hanging up their dreams of travel to focus on furthering their careers. To each their own, but if you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to see different places, hear unfamiliar languages, and completely let your guard down to the world around you, we strongly suggest you take it.

Additionally, although one’s experiences are always unique to their own journeys, as a beardsman there are a few things that you can expect while traveling, along with a few things to keep in mind as you find yourself journeying to your next destination on the map. When it comes to travel, it’s never a wise idea to be too prepared or informed, but for the sake of looking sharp and adapting to different cultures, there are a few good things to keep in mind as you venture out into foreign lands as a beardsman.

Decide What Kind of Razor to Bring

By no means am I suggesting you shave regularly during your trip, but if your beard grooming routine involves trimming your cheeks or keeping your neckline clean then you’re going to need to bring some kind of razor with you. Depending on how long you’re traveling for and where to, you might want to keep your beard tamed, however, lots of beardsmen opt to start growing facial hair (sometimes for the first time) in conjunction with long trips abroad. Simply put, if you think there’s a chance you’ll want to trim your beard or maintain a well-kept look, bring your razor of choice. If not, peace be the bearded journey.

Know That You’re Going to Stand Out

Unless you’re heading to the Middle East or certain parts of India, you’re most likely going to stand out with a large beard. That being said, facial hair is experiencing a rebirth in much of the world just as it has in United States so you’re not going to stick out as much as you might’ve just a few years ago. On a recent trip to Brazil I was the only American in our travel party with any kind of facial hair, which definitely garnered quite a bit of (mostly positive) attention from the locals.

In other parts of the world, including various countries in Southeast Asia, significant facial hair is still looked upon with a suspicious eye and might get you unwanted attention when attempting to enter or exit the country. Do yourself a favor and do some research before hand. No country is going to insist you shave to enter, but if there’s one person you don’t want to become combative with, it’s the person responsible for stamping your passport.

Locals Are Going to Ask Questions

In many parts of the world, beards have been grown historically as displays of masculinity or religious devotion. Although that first part is inherent for anyone growing a beard, the latter can be more confusing for some. I’ve been asked by a number of locals in foreign countries why I had a beard, as if there was a clear and concise reason. When I’ve told them that it’s mostly due to a mix of laziness and a desire to hide my chins, they usually reply with a raised eyebrow and a quizzical look that whispers, “we’ve got an idiot on our hands.” Well, that might be the case, but I’ve found that if there’s one thing that’s the same in any language, it’s bullshit. Best to be honest when conversing in broken English I always say.

You’re Going to Have Fans Wherever You Go

As beards have become more popular among celebrities and athletes the world over, an ever growing number of people are realizing that they are actually attracted to beardsmen. It’s now more acceptable than ever to gaze longingly at a man’s hairy face and in other countries where societal norms encourage more direct acknowledgements of attraction, people will be very upfront in their liking of your beard.

As an automatic conversation starter, your beard is going to make you a popular person, regardless of where you travel. Do yourself a favor and learn a few sentences in the local language either before or upon arrival. There’s no better way to show your appreciation for their admiration then by thanking your new fans in their own language. And maybe offering to buy them a beer.

You’ll Be Told You Look Like Celebrities You’ve Never Heard Of

This is based on a very recent experience. While at a wedding in Brazil, several bridesmaids in the wedding party informed me that I looked like the bearded and man bun-equipped Brazilian spokesman of a popular travel website, which I more than happily accepted. Did I have any idea who this guy was? No. Did I care? Not really, usually when a group of beautiful Brazilian women want to talk to you, it’s best not to question their intentions. Simply put, you’re going to be compared to and thought of as resembling any number of famous people who you’re completely unfamiliar with. Do your best and simply take it as a compliment. If nothing else, it’s a great way to start a conversation, an always beneficial skill to possess when traveling just about anywhere.

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