Avoid bad hair days on vacation with this super smart travel hack



Whether you need compact size, dual voltage, or both, we’ve found the best curling tools for your travels.

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Traveling shouldn’t mean forgoing your normal hair styling routine. Don’t let your shortage of space, lack of power outlets, or need for dual voltage stop you from rocking the curls you love. Just invest in a travel curling iron, and you won’t ever have to struggle with travel-related bad hair days again.

What you need from a travel curling iron depends on what kind of traveling you’ll be doing and what your biggest needs are when on the go. Maybe you’re going on a quick weekend trip and need something smaller than your regular iron. Or maybe you’re going on a road trip or camping excursion and won’t have access to power outlets. And don’t even get us started on the beast of traveling internationally.

SEE ALSO: 10 of the best curling irons and hair wands for short hair

There are some different types of curling irons that are suitable for travel. We’ve seen mini versions that can fit in your purse but are still corded, totally cordless irons that you can use whenever or wherever, tools that fold up to be more compact, and ones you can take apart for storage. 

What is the best travel curling iron?

The best travel curling iron is really a personal preference and depends on your needs. For travel that leaves you without consistent access to power outlets, you’ll want a cordless option like the Conair YouCordless that uses butane cartridges for power or the MaikcQ cordless curling iron that charges via a USB cable and can even double as a portable power bank.

If space is where you need a little extra attention, you might opt for a curling iron that is small like the Conair TravelSmart MiniPro or one that condenses down like the T3 Twirl Trio that has interchangeable barrels that separate for easy storage.

There is some overlapping where some curling irons that give you size benefit are also dual voltage for international use.

What is a dual voltage curling iron and do you need one?

A dual voltage curling iron can automatically switch between 110 to 120 volts and 220 to 240 volts. You don’t have to flip a switch or mess with any settings, just plug it in and it will adjust.

If you are traveling overseas, you’ll likely need a dual voltage curling iron. This is because not every country operates under the same voltage and plugging in a curling iron that is not made for the proper voltage can cause fuse shortages and can fry your hair tool, rendering it unusable. You don’t want either of those things happening.

Psst, don’t forget your power adapter if you are traveling overseas. Even if you have the correct voltage, you still have to consider the different power outlets.

How to pack a curling iron for travel

Packing a curling iron to optimize space in your bag looks different depending on what type of iron you have. Most standard curling irons are kind of long and bulky and take up a decent chunk of space. We made sure to find curling tools that are either miniature or can be condensed into smaller sizes to save you some precious real estate in your travel bag.

SEE ALSO: Best hair dryers for every budget, according to the people who use them

Some of the options on this list can fit in your purse while others separate at the barrel and the two parts can be shoved wherever there is room. If you have the space, a full-sized iron is going to be easier to use and will likely yield better results, but if you’re really crunched for space, a mini iron will suffice just fine. (Note that a smaller curling tool will take longer to use, especially if you have long hair.) No matter which one you choose, just make sure the iron is cool before you handle it and pack it away.

Not sure what type of curling iron will be best for your travels? That’s OK. Below you’ll find nine curling irons and what sort of travel they’re best for. And if you’re looking for a travel hair dryer, check out our guide.


Curling and straightening • Dual voltage • Compact size • Heat-resistant carrying case

Straightening plates don’t close all the way • Some reviewers complained about their hair getting tugged

This tool gives you versatility in your styling without taking up a ton of space.

1. AmoVee mini flat iron/curling iron

Both a curling iron and a flat iron rolled into one, this hybrid tool gives you plenty of options.

  • Barrel size:
    1 inch
  • Heat:
    420 degrees
  • Dual voltage:
    Yes
Traveling can hinder your hair styling options because limited baggage space means you can’t pack your full hair tool arsenal. The AmoVee two-in-one tool alleviates that problem.
It’s both a curling iron and a flat iron and the whole thing is only 10 inches long, so it stores easily. You just have to push a button to switch between curling and straightening — it’s good to know that all of the elements won’t be heating at the same time because that reduces the chance of burning yourself.
Aside from its size and multi-functionality, this tool is ideal for travel because it’s dual voltage for use in other countries and it comes with a heat-resistant carrying case.
Some reviewers complain about the straightening plates not closing all the way, making it difficult to straighten hair, especially if it’s fine. This styling tool likely won’t replace your everyday curling or flat iron, but it is a nice supplemental tool to have for traveling.

Completely cordless • Full sized • Safe for airline travel

Butane cartridges only last two to three months • Only 0.75-inch barrel option

This cordless curling iron works wherever you need it.

2. Conair YouCordless

This curling iron uses butane cartridges and is totally cordless for serious on-the-go styling.

  • Barrel size:
    0.75 inch
  • Heat:
    360 degrees
  • Dual voltage:
    N/A
The Conair YouCordless is completely cordless, so you don’t have to worry about outlet adapters. Some other cordless curling irons on the market require you to charge them, which obviously requires a cord at that stage. But this one is powered by butane cartridges that last for two to three months. (And before you worry, yes you can take them on an airplane.) The iron comes with a cartridge for immediate use, but you will have to buy replacements later on.
This tool is ideal for road trips where you straight up don’t have access to power outlets or trips to foreign countries when you don’t want the hassle of figuring out the voltage and adapter situation. It’s also convenient to keep in your purse for your emergency curling needs.
The YouCordless has a 0.75-inch barrel, meaning the curls will be a bit tighter. The whole thing is a little more than 11 inches long, so it’s slightly shorter than standard curling irons, but it’s not super compact.
Overall, this curling tool is a good choice for travel where you’ll be without standard outlets. It’s definitely not a replacement for your everyday iron, but it is a handy tool to have on the go with you.

Compact size • Dual voltage

Not great for styling long hair

Though not as effective as a full-sized curling iron, this mini tool is convenient when you have to pack light.

3. Conair Travel Smart MiniPro

This tiny curling iron is a go-to when you’re living out of a carry-on bag.

  • Barrel size:
    1 inch
  • Heat:
    356 degrees
  • Dual voltage:
    Yes
The tiny Conair Travel Smart MiniPro curling iron takes up very little room in your bag — it’s only 5 inches long — so it’s great if you’re crunched for space. That being said, it’s not meant to be able to curl a long head of hair super efficiently. Because the barrel is only about 2 inches long, it will take you longer to style your hair.
The best scenario for using the Conair Travel Smart is when you need to pack light but will still have access to a power outlet. It does feature dual voltage, so you can bring it overseas with you as long as you have the appropriate adapter. The sizing is nice if you’re flying to multiple countries and don’t want to deal with paying to check a bag with each airline — it will fit nicely in a carry-on without taking up too much prime real estate.
This tool has a standard 1-inch barrel size and features a clip, so it functions like a regular curling iron but on a miniature scale. It’s good for styling short hair or doing touch-ups on longer locks.

Dual voltage • Folds to be more compact

Clamp-less wands might not be suitable for all hair lengths and types

The foldable nature of this wand makes it easier to pack and its dual voltage feature lets you take your styling overseas.

A different kind of space-saving option is the Duomishu foldable curling wand. Look, we know that this curling iron very much looks like a penis, but it takes that shape so it can fold in half to make for easier storage.
The curling iron is more portable in its folded state because it doesn’t take up as much space lengthwise. This is nice if you need it to be more compact for carrying in a backpack or purse.
This is a good travel option if you prefer wands over traditional curling rods with clamps. BTW, it comes with a heat-resistant gloves for safe styling. The Duomishu could also be used as your everyday curling iron and it stores easily in your home if you need to put it away under the sink or in a closet.
Its portability and dual voltage make this curling wand a solid choice for your travel needs.

Dual voltage • Includes travel pouch • Won’t clamp and damage hair

Some reviewers experienced hair tangling

The Phoebe curling brush is smaller than a standard curling iron and creates a soft, voluminous look.

5. Phoebe mini hot curler brush

This curling brush will give you soft curls and volume without taking up too much space in your bag.

  • Barrel size:
    0.75 inch
  • Heat:
    390 degrees
  • Dual voltage:
    Yes
The Phoebe mini hot curler brush is about half the length of a standard curling iron, but doesn’t compromise on the barrel — it’s still a sufficient size to curl even long hair. It features a 0.75-inch ceramic barrel with nylon bristles. This will give you a blowout style without running the risk of burning your fingers, ears, or face. (Curling your hair is lowkey dangerous.)
The size of this curler makes it great for packing when you travel. It’s also got dual voltage if you’re traveling internationally. And as an added bonus, the curling brush comes with a travel pouch.
When it comes to styling, this brush curler is somewhere between a clamped curling iron and a curling wand. Your hair doesn’t get damaged and pressed between two hot surfaces, but there is something gripping your strands so you don’t have to hold them in place and burn yourself. The end result is a soft curl and nice volume.
If you’re looking for a larger barrel, there is also a 1-inch version of the Phoebe curling brush (but note that it is 4 inches longer than the mini version).

Dual voltage • Compact size

Not ideal for big, loose waves

This mini iron lets you create waves wherever you travel.

6. Conair miniPro deep waver

This tool gives you tight waves and won’t take up much space in your carry-on.

  • Barrel size:
    N/A
  • Heat:
    375 degrees
  • Dual voltage:
    Yes
Packing light doesn’t mean you have to forgo your favorite hair styling tools. If you prefer to use a three-barrel waver, then you should check out the Conair miniPro deep waver. It has the same functionality of a full-sized waver, but it’s a miniature version.
This styling tool won’t make big waves — it produces more of a tighter curl or crimped look. So don’t expect glamorous Hollywood waves like the packaging shows. (False marketing, SMH.)
Pro tip: Try gliding the iron down your hair slowly rather than clamping down individual chunks of each strand. This will give you a more natural look and help you avoid a totally ’80s hairstyle. (Unless that’s what you’re going for, of course.)
In addition to its smaller size, this iron is good for travel because it is dual voltage and won’t fry if you plug it in to an outlet overseas.

Interchangeable • Compact

Voltage and temperature range are unclear • Pricey

This curling wand can be used every day, but it’s also super easy to store for domestic travel.

7. Amika Curl Icon base kit

This everyday curling wand breaks apart for super easy travel storage.

  • Barrel size:
    1 inch
  • Heat:
    N/A
  • Dual voltage:
    N/A
The Amika Curl Icon is an everyday curling iron that also happens to be good for travel. This thing is not cheap, so it’s definitely not an “I only use this when I travel” sort of product.
It’s the Curl Icon’s interchangeable wand that makes it so great for travel. You can remove the barrel from the base and store them separately, which is nice if you’re dealing with short storing options like a backpack or purse.
The base kit comes with a 1-inch barrel, but additional sizes are available to purchase separately. The iron’s temperature is not adjustable, though Amika does not specify what the set temp is — an annoying feature (or lack thereof) for sure
Unfortunately, this curling wand doesn’t explicitly say that it is dual voltage, so it might not be the best option for international travel. But if you’re not leaving the country it’s a good wand that you can quickly break down and easily stash in your bag.

Dual voltage • Three barrel sizes • Automatic shut-off • Includes storage bag

Expensive • High heat could burn your hair

The T3 is like having three curling irons without needing the space for three separate irons.

8. T3 Twirl Trio interchangeable curling iron

Though it’s pricey, the T3 is a gorgeous portable tool that’s actually three irons in one.

  • Barrel sizes:
    1 inch, 1.25 inch, 1.5 inch
  • Heat:
    260 degrees to 410 degrees
  • Dual voltage:
    Yes
If curling irons that break down sound like the best option for your travel needs, but you prefer a traditional clipped barrel over a wand, then that’s where the T3 Twirl Trio comes in.
This kit includes the base and three interchangeable barrels. And the base is compatible with other T3 barrels that aren’t included, so you can expand your styling capabilities as much as you want.
Similar to some of the other tools on this list, the T3 Twirl Trio is good for travel because of its ability to become compact and its dual voltage capabilities. Plus, you have the option to bring all three barrels with you and take up less space than three separate irons, or you can just bring your favorite one and leave the others at home.
The biggest drawback of the Twirl Trio is its price. This thing costs a whopping $325, but that’s because it’s a brand that’s trusted by top hair stylists and the tool does what is advertised and does it well. If you have the means to purchase it, this curling iron is unlikely to disappoint.

Cordless • Rechargeable by USB • Doubles as portable power bank

Short charge life • Long charging time • Power button easily switched on/off

This rechargeable, cordless curling iron is a great travel companion because of its size and functionality.

9. MaikcQ cordless curling iron

This mini cordless curler fits in a purse and doubles as a portable power bank.

  • Barrel size:
    0.75 inch
  • Heat:
    340 degrees
  • Dual voltage:
    N/A
The MaikcQ curling iron adds an interesting spin to the concept of a cordless curling iron. Not only does this tool recharge via a USB cable, it also doubles as a portable power bank, making this a super clutch tool when traveling. And because its charger uses USB, you have more freedom in charging it while on the go.
This curling iron is mini and will thus fit easily in your bag. But it will take you longer to achieve that curly look than a standard iron, especially if you have a lot of hair, so keep that in mind.
The curling iron is advertised as being suitable for both wet and dry hair because it has some ventilation holes cut out of the clamp. We do not recommend wrapping your wet hair around a hot ceramic curling iron, though, because it can cause some serious damage to your strands.
If you’re looking for a portable curling iron that you can throw in your purse or keep in your car, this is a solid choice. It comes with a heat protectant cover and a carrying case for added convenience. Be aware though that it takes about two and a half hours to charge, which amounts to just 45 minutes of use. Still plenty of time to get the job done, but you’ll need to plan ahead if you’re running low.



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