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4 Essential Tips For The Bald Traveler

Surveying the landscape around Battambang, Cambodia

Surveying the landscape around Battambang, Cambodia

The bald traveler faces unique challenges on the road. Tropical beaches, water sports, and high altitude trekking can greatly increase the risks of sun exposure.

And the longer he is traveling, the greater the likelihood he will chalk up some painful burns on the ‘ole noggin.

Whether you suffer from male pattern baldness, complete baldness, or simply prefer the bold look of a hairless head, the following tips are worthy of consideration before embarking on your next adventure.

1. Bandanna

There is no greater tool in the bald man's arsenal against the sun than a classic bandanna.

Cheap, widely available, lightweight, sweat-soaking, snot-devouring bandannas are the multi-tool of head wear.

Just remember to buy a lighter color, such as blue, versus black, which will turn your head into the equivalent of an asphalt parking lot in summer.

2. Hat

Baseball caps, 360-degree rims, cold-weather beanies, or cowboy style all provide shade for your face, nose, and sometimes even ears and neck, in addition to your scalp.

Hats are useful when you're in the most exposed of conditions, such as fishing off the coast of a Caribbean island, or in cold-weather climates, such as atop the snow-capped peaks of the Himalaya. Both situations can offer few options for seeking shade.

3. Sunscreen

The bald man has probably tried every sunscreen or lotion under the…well…sun, and may even have a favorite.

The author, who has watched his hair disappear from atop his head throughout his mid-to-late twenties, tried out Bull Frog Quick Gel Sport Spray (SPF 36) on two separate trips to Costa Rica and Belize.

Being an alcohol based spray, it was easy to apply, didn't sting (as some can), and was extremely effective in the tropical heat.

4. Shade Strategy

The bald traveler can sometimes be identified by the zig-zagging pattern he makes as he dashes between spots of shade while walking along trails or roads during mid-day.

For those sensitive to the sun, planning your day around when it's strongest makes perfect sense…so do it!

Even those with hair tend to stay out of the sun in tropical locations due to the intense heat.

While these tips were written tongue-in-cheek, skin cancer is all too common. Stay safe on the trail!

Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:

Dina VagabondQuest

Tuesday 18th of January 2011

Funny! I'm far from bald, and I love doing #4. My husband is usually annoyed by me though, if I do that. It's too random for him.


Tuesday 18th of January 2011

Haha, glad to hear I'm not the only one Dina!


Monday 9th of April 2007

Yes, I'm definetly planning on spending a few weeks on the eastern side of Australia, after New Zealand, and before Bali!


Friday 6th of April 2007

I have a hat, that has been washed on the beach in Turkey, dipped in mountain streams in Scotland, nicely wetted in the cold streams of the Blue Ridge, faded in the sun in Australia.. Like my backpack my hat has seen many things. As a guy who shaves his head, Im never without a bandanna, must to the consternation of my wife. I have a fav bandanna but it hasn't seen as much as my favourite hat...


Thursday 5th of April 2007

I think we can call this the ultimate (and only) guide to traveling while bald. =P


Thursday 5th of April 2007

This post made me laugh. My husband occasionally wears a bandanna or baseball hat, especially in the mountains, but he usually goes for the sunscreen. You have to build up that tan, because the tan face/pale scalp look does not work!

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