Are you travelling with a beard or looking to shave it off? Then you’d better read these pros and cons of a beard before you decide!
I’m not going to lie, travelling with a beard can be a little tough and testing.
Beards are real dividers at the best of times; people either love them or hate them (my family firmly falls into that last category). However, if you go to a country where beards and hipsters aren’t common, 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 and full of camera gear so 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. If you’re trying to decide on beard or no beard, then this is the post for you.
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.
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 a travel beard I’m afraid.
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 stroking a beard (no euphemism there). Whenever you are stressed or worried when travelling, just stroke away (your beard that is).
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.
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.
If you are travelling in the middle of summer, it can be pretty hot. Sadly, 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).
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.
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.
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. When it comes to beard pros and cons, this is definitely one of the best pros out there.
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!
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.
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 just need to grow it back.
If you’re looking for some male grooming products, I’d really recommend my friends over at The Modern Man. They’ve got everything from the best beard oils to fragrant face scrubs. I use loads of their products when I go travelling so check out some of their products before you hit the road!
Think I’ve missed something? Then let me know! If you’ve got any pros and cons of a beard then post it in the comment box below. And happy travels beardy men!
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Friday 29th of April 2022
By the comments I am guessing this was published in 2014. Well many of your cons are true many are debatable by culture and even trends. Now a days beards are very attractive(and in america most jobs won't harass you anymore), if they are groomed and trimmed right to fit your face(just like a hair style). Many men look attractive with facial hair. Will you pull a woman specifically because of your beard probably not but I don't believe its a deterrent, since many young men around the world are experimenting with facial hair. In my personal case young women 18-22 aren't a fan of huge beards but don't mind short facial styles(but prefer clean shaven), women between 23-28 appreciate a well kept beard and women older than that love beards. Eastern Europe still might not be a fan but even their youth are trying. You mentioned something about keeping a beard being easier than shaving. I would agree with you on that if it was an untamed homeless person. Mate guess you find a women just growing unmaintained hair with crazy split ends attractive or presentable(maybe you do but the majority of people don't) . If the beard is well groomed not only is it harder than being clean shaven but it could be more expensive due to the fact after a certain length barbers are needed. Even without barbers you are most likely shaping up the neck line, and cheek line where a trimmer( and even chin line depending on your style) and guess what a trimmer plus razor is required which means your still shaving but now at a percise angle because if you mess up, you have to realign your beard, go to the barber(if you havent gotten the hand of realigning it), or pick the easy option shaving it all of(of course trim all the hair off first, with a clipper). As a man who has experimented with his facial hair since he was in teams all the way to my age of 25. I know how hard maintaining a beard is, vs how easy it is to shave my face. I agree with the two shades point though.
Monday 30th of May 2022
Thanks for your comment Kasa, I really appreciate it! I agree with a lot of what you said - it sounds like you know a lot about beards and what you're talking about!
Monday 29th of December 2014
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.
Monday 15th of December 2014
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.
Monday 29th of December 2014
Thanks Tom! Yes, there are the great divider, but luckily they are far more accepted on the road than in the office space, so make sure you keep that beard growing!
Friday 18th of July 2014
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!
Friday 25th of July 2014
Ha ha ha. I'm glad you liked it Rachel, though I have to admit, I've never had anyone complaining of my beard smelling weird! If you ever notice my beard smelling weird I give you permission to tell me.
Friday 11th of July 2014
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!
Wednesday 16th of July 2014
I glad you dig beards Lavi! That's always good to hear! Yes, finding food in the 'ol beard can be a problem. I always found ice cream hard to eat - it just got everywhere. Ahhh, I miss those days. The beard will be back!