Ah, the pros and cons of beards, something I could talk about for a very long time! I decided to look into what it’s really like travelling with a beard – racist comments and all

I’m not going to lie, travelling with a beard can be a little tough.

Beards are real dividers at the best of times; people either love them or hate them (my family falls firmly into that last category), but if you go to a country where beards and hipsters aren’t common (i.e: most of them), well, that chasm seems even wider.

If you have a big bushy beard and you are travelling through Eastern Europe, expect to be stared at. A lot. Trust me, I’ve faced that first hand.

Recently, while walking the streets of Sighisoara in Romania, I was eating a banana. With my big backpack, sometimes I have a bit of a hunch when I walk. It’s heavy, I can’t help it.

Now I am a hairy man, so when a woman stopped in here tracks, pointed at me and made monkey sounds, I couldn’t help but laugh at her remarkably accurate observation. Funny? Without a doubt. Racist? Definitely. Just another day travelling with a beard I’m afraid.

With that in mind, here are some of the pros and cons of beards! Read, enjoy, let me know what you think.


Pro

People will think you are mental. Or homeless. Or a mental homeless person. Why is this a pro? Well, Eastern Europeans, especially Serbians, are renowned for being a little intimidating themselves, yet they will be intimidated of your beard and therefore will leave you alone. Win.

Con

It’s not exactly attractive. I know a lot of travellers tend to lower their standards and expectations when it comes to guys on the road, but let’s be honest; a face full of fluff isn’t exactly what you are looking for. This is a major downside of travelling with a beard.

Are beards attractive? You tell me!

Pro

As previously said, you get to stroke it. For those of you who can’t grow a beard (because you are of a female disposition or because you’re not really a man), you will have no idea how calming it is to stroke a beard. Whenever you are stressed or worried when travelling, just stroke away (your beard that is).

Con

Any number of things can get lost in it. When you have an awesome beard, everyone always asks: “Don’t you always get things stuck in it, like in The Twits?” Yes. Yes you do. Recently I ate some fish and I lost a fishbone in my beard. I never found it. I still don’t know where it went.

I'm not going to lie, beards can be pretty hot at times

Pro

You don’t have to worry about shaving, saving you time, effort and energy; time, effort and energy that can be spent on other things, such as sitting in a bar, sipping a beer, watching the world go by while stroking your beard. This really is one of the best things about travelling with a beard.

Con

If you are travelling in the middle of summer, it can be pretty hot, and all of your sweat drips and collects in your beard. Also, as you get a tan, you will be forced to keep the beard, otherwise you will have a weird two-tone face when you shave it off (please trust me on that one).

Beware; if you shave it off you will have a weird two-tone face

Pro

Beards make you an indeterminate age. It literally becomes impossible to tell what age you are. This is handy when you are travelling because if you are hanging out with a bunch of 20-year-olds you can lie and say you are 20 too – “yeah, the beard makes me look 28” – the same works the other way too.

Con

Beard + the surname Sherifi = Muslim. Not that I’ve got a problem with looking like a Muslim but it always leads to the same conversation – “You are Muslim? Sherifi; that’s Muslim. Beard; that’s Muslim. Why don’t you want to be a Muslim? Have you got a problem with Muslims?” – you can see where it goes.

Despite the smile, I instantly regretted shaving off my beard

Pro

This is quite a big one, but I find having a beard really adds character to your face. I just makes people look jolly (in a good way of course). Also, on a personal note, I have a couple of scars on my face from when I was younger and my beard does a lovely job of covering these up.

Con

If you’re flying with a beard you can almost guarantee you’ll be pulled over by airport security for a ‘random search’. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me, especially when I’m travelling on my own. A beard at airport security is always a problem!

macca sherifi headshot

Pro

Strangers come up to you and ask to stroke your beard. This feels surprisingly good, and it gives you an insight into what it must be like to be a dog. Another bonus of travelling with a beard.

Con

It is always mental people, homeless people or drunks who do this. It is never, ever, women.


Up until this point I have had a beard. However, I wouldn’t want people to say this is a half-baked biased article in favour of beards, so purely for research purposes I decided to shave it off.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I was clean shaven, but I suspect it was well over a year ago, so I’ll look at this as my yearly shave (please note: I wrote this article in 2014 and this is still the last time I saved off my beard!)

Let me tell you something now, since I have shaved my beard off I do not like it at all; my face doesn’t look right, it doesn’t feel right. I think everything is better with a beard. Everything.

Much like Samson, I feel I have lost the source of what is me, of who I am. Now I need to grow it back.

So, for all those guys out there, those are my pros and cons of beards.

Think I’ve missed something? Then let me know! If you’ve got any pros and cons of having a beard then post it in the comment box below. And happy travels beardy men!

Like this blog post? Then make sure you Pin it!

Beards are real dividers at the best of times; people either love them or hate them, so here are my pros and cons of travelling with a beard.

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Macca Sherifi and Brianna Wiens
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Macca Sherifi and Brianna Wiens

Ha ha ha. All you can do Jon is embrace the beard and what will be will be. Thanks for commenting though, I really appreciate it.

Tom Edwards
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Tom Edwards

Dude, this is brilliant and hilarious. As a fellow bearded traveler I can relate to most of it!

You were spot on when you said people either love beards or hate them haha.

Rachel@VagabondBaker
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Rachel@VagabondBaker

I chuckled my way through this, having travelled with a few guys who let their stubble turn into a living, breathing separate creature so much of this rang true!
Beards can smell weird, especially travel beards. As a girl, that’s something I’ve noticed and not appreciated!

Lavi
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Lavi

This is hilarious and I love it. Being a girl, I can’t grow a beard, but I see the beard more often than not while traveling these days, and I totally dig it! One funny moment for me was in Kathmandu when my friend kindly asked that I let him know if there was food stuck in his beard, and when I did, he couldn’t figure out where it was. I let him feel around his face for a bit before finally helping him out. Good luck growing it back!

Another Pete (Parkorr)
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Another Pete (Parkorr)

Haha, great insights for non-beardies and those who won’t ever be silly enough to shave. Re: the con that girls never ask to feel your beard but homeless people do – that is extremely unfortunate. But girls do like puppies – maybe take one of them along to balance your luck out mate?

Pete
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Pete

Damn you and your beardy ways! Baby faced forever!

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