Five Amazing Protective Styles for Traveling Black Women!

Sorry fellas, this here is for the ladies.

Y’all know how we are about our hair! Whether you are #TeamNatural or still use the creamy stuff, figuring out the best ways to protect our hair while traveling can be a real challenge.

If you are more of an adventurous traveler; scuba diving, snorkeling, trekking, rock climbing (to name a few), you may want to consider a style that has very low manipulation. If being a beach babe mermaid is your thing, then you may want a style which allows you to quickly rinse saltwater and chlorine from your mane, but still pull it together for a night out on the town!

I have compiled five fabulous protective styles for traveling Black women! Most of these styles are tried and try by yours truly!

Check out some of the featured traveling Beauties and their styles below:

Box Braids

There is nothing like a nice set of box braids to get you through a trip. Whether you get waist length, in a bob, “dookie” or thin, box braids are one of the best protective styles to have while traveling.  This style is super easy to manage and works great with most physical activities! Box braids can be a little heavy if you are doing a lot of swimming, but ultimately a great choice. Be careful not to pull your edges too tight!


Box Braids,

@FinallyMareena Rocking Flowing Box Braids in Costa Rica!

Locs/Faux Locs/ Loc Extensions

I rocked faux loss for a solid two months while backpacking in South East Asia! Not only was it a great conversation topic, but super easy and versatile to style. They are not nearly as heavy as the box braids, looks natural (if done right) and easy to cleanse out yuckiness like chlorine!

@Happilynappyme Rocking Her Natural Locs in South Africa!


faux locs

@Sydra_Dope Getting Sunkissed in St. Marteen with Her Beautiful Loc Extensions



If done correctly, sew-ins are magic! I have not had enough hair to have a sew-in for some time now, but this is one of the most versatile styles out there! There are tons of hair types, textures, lengths, and colors to choose from! If you go with this option while traveling, make sure you choose a hair type/texture that does not get tangle easily!

@TheCiCiBattle Turns Heads in this Gorgeous Sew-In in Ghana!



@UppityNegroWoman Giving Pretty Face with Her Flawless Sew-In in Grand Cayman!


Crochet Braids

This is a new fav of mine! It is SUPER easy to install, and easier to maintain! Throw a bonnet on at night and you are great to go! If you are using the Marley braiding hair, I do NOT recommend this if you plan on swimming or engaging in any water activities, as I imagine the hair will tangle immensely!

Yours Truly with My New Fav Protective Traveling ‘Do!


 Twists/Braids on Natural Hair:

If extensions are not your “thing,” consider an easy and classic style like a “halo crown” or goddess braid to protect your hair while traveling! It’s easy, low maintenance, and super protective!


Dr @kim_nettles With a Beautiful Goddess Braid in London!



Above all else, make sure you are keeping your hair and skin HYDRATED and protected while traveling!

Until then – journey on!




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  1. LaToshia

    This was a great read, and I loved how you incorporated and feature the different ladies. “Dookie” braids, hahaha. I haven’t heard that in a long times, the were the best for me. I am loving the crochet braids and style. Thanks for the tip with the marley hair install, no one ever talks about the manageability of the texture hair after the install.

    • RachelTravels

      Ha! I thought I’d throw “dookie braids” in there as a throwback! That’s what we used to call them back in the day!
      Crochet braids are a fav of mine right now too! And yes, be careful with that Marley hair! If you want to swim, I’d suggest using a “real hair” vs the marley!

  2. Cheryl Williams

    Hi, I just discovered your website tonight…. I was Googling “Best hairstyles for Black women to get wet”, and I saw this article on “”Protective Hairstyles”.

    I am going on a cruise in November 2015 to Aruba, Turks and Caicos and Curacao. During the week, I normally wear a curly human-hair wig, but my own hair is a natural short afro. (I previously wore my hair in a relaxed shoulder-length bob) I’m trying to figure out a cute “style” that I can have for the cruise and also get wet! (I like to go snorkeling!!!)

    I’m thinking about getting the “kinky twist extensions” that I see a lot of women wearing- I believe they can get wet and still look good, (not frizz up?)

    In the past on vacations, I’ve always done a full weave, with my hair cornrowed with “curly” tracks. I would like my own natural ‘fro better if it was “fuller” with more length to it, but my hairdresser says my natural “curl pattern” is very very tight, so unfortunately, I lack fullness, even when I pick it out.

    So, which twist or braided style is best for style, length, and attractiveness- to be submerged in ocean water for snorkeling and still being able to “dress it up” for nights on the cruise ship?

    Thank You! 🙂
    Cheryl Williams

    • RachelTravels

      Hi Cheryl!
      Disclaimer: I AM NOT A NATURAL HAIR GURU! lol
      I will say however, that I enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving as well.

      I usually put my hair in some sort of twists or faux locs! When I went scuba diving in Curacao, I had in a crochet style.

      Anything that can be put in a bun so you can put on your mask should suffice!

  3. Dominique

    Hi, I’m going to Miami in May and I’m natural and in desperate need to find a good protective style for snorkeling. I’m not one for braids, just never liked them on me. I was thinking a wig(I’m afraid that will fall off lol), a sew in( I don’t want any leave out though, and finally crochet (but what hair will I use?). ALL advice is welcomed ! Thanks.

  4. Nicole

    Hi Rachel! am despatete am traveling to Portugal and Spain in September for 2 weeks (your are a real inspiration btw part of this trip is because of you), I have natural hair but I don’t know if I should do a protective style or to go with a wash and go and wash my hair over there because I really like my hair with my curls but but I don’t know if it’s going to be to hard to maintain, what do you recommend???

    • RachelTravels

      Hi Nicole!
      It’s really up to you!
      On one hand, I think having your natural hair out would be great for conversation and the weather would be nice and it probably won’t freeze.
      On the opposite perspective, would you really have time to maintain your hair while traveling to two countries?

      I would get a protective style, now that I think about it. LOL
      One less thing to worry about!

      Hope that helps! 🙂

  5. Keke

    I plan on going on a vacay in the next week or so. Thinking about doing crochet box braid. But i am wondering will this still mantain with swimming?

  6. George-may

    Hi Rachel, I love this, just what I’ve been looking for!
    I’ll be travelling for 4 months next year, so excited.
    But before then I’ll be going on vacation for a week next month and I’m thinking of getting marley twists on my natural hair with extensions, I’ve never had them before and will probably be going to a water park or two; do you think they’ll be okay with the chlorine and being submerged or can I see myself ending up with a hot fuzzy mess and should wait till I get back??
    Thanks George-may

    • RachelTravels

      Hi George-May!
      I am NOT a hair- enthusiast, but when I went backpacking through South East Asia for 3 months, I had in faux locs!
      It was so super easy! And it worked great with all of the scuba diving I was doing!

      • George-may

        Cheers for the tip, I’ve never consider faux locs before. Looks like you’ve done some amazing stuff, I’m definitely gunna give the locs a trial run now!

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