After much searching, I have found the perfect travel accessory. It’s FAA approved, it doesn’t count as carry-on luggage (and weighs only three ounces), and I don’t have to put it through the conveyor when I go through security. It’s a wig. I call her Terri — but more on that later.
When I started traveling for my current job, which involves coast-to-coast trips a lot of the time, I had several instances where I had early morning flights. Because I always find it tough to get a good night’s sleep before an early flight, I try to sleep as late as possible to make up for the nighttime turbulence. That’s when I decided I needed a plan for reducing the time I spend getting ready, and the idea popped into my head (or should I say landed on my head?). If I bought a wig, I could save 20 minutes! Because the atmosphere in most airports and airplanes is so bland, I always try to look my best. I usually wear a dress (so that my pant legs don’t touch those icky bathroom floors), definitely heels, and make-up. It makes me feel better, and it certainly doesn’t hurt when you’re trying to get an upgrade.
I don’t have the greatest hair to start with. So it wasn’t like this idea was totally off base. My annoying hair has been one of my life frustrations. I’ve spent countless hours spraying, teasing, cajoling and basically trying to trick my hair into looking like there’s more of it. It’s kind of like putting a mirror on one wall of a room to make it seem larger - it doesn’t really fix the problem. Styling my hair has always been a game of chance due to unruly hair growth patterns, dips in my hairline, and curls scattered throughout. It does turn out O.K. on occasion, but that’s only when I’m getting ready to run errands or go to the dentist - never for important events.
When shopping for my travel companion, I didn’t try to tap into a fantasy world and buy a wig that made me look like a country western singer, as I didn’t want to encounter any double takes at security when they looked at my photo I.D. I settled on a style and color similar to my own hair so that I can have some of the real stuff peak out from the edges for a more natural look. The only glitch I’ve had is the few times I had to be ‘wanded’, at which point I quietly tell the agent that I have a wig on so if my head beeps she’ll know it’s from the wig clips and not some homemade explosive device. (The first time I had this happen I had a momentary panic attack as I considered the possibility that they would make me take it off.)
During my first flight with my new travel companion, I realized the added bonus that a wig provides. It protects your head from actually touching the seat headrest. In fact, the more I thought about it, I decided that the wig is actually a health necessity and not just for my vanity!
There have been a few times when I’ve cut it too close and had to dash out the door and put the wig on in the car (although NOT while driving – safety before beauty). When I flip my wig on at a stoplight I do get a few double takes. Men usually smile and chuckle a little, and women just look at me wide-eyed. Remember I said that I call my wig Terri? I named it after Terri Hatcher, because if I’m driving in my convertible with the wind whipping my “hair” around, I kind of, sort of, look like I could be Terri Hatcher’s sister.
Now that I’ve started wearing Terri for travel (even on later flights), I can sleep in a bit, and I am much more relaxed knowing that if nothing else, my hair will look good when I head out the door. In fact, Terri just accompanied me on an overnight trip to Paris, so I was able to feel a little sense of satisfaction when I arrived looking fresh and stylish with just a swish of my head. Although they sell collapsible wig stands for travel, I found that an upside down ice bucket makes a great substitute (and of course, I put the plastic liner from the bucket on the outside to keep it sanitary).