Tips for shaving on vacation?

How to pack for a long weekend?

Next month, I’m heading to fabulous Las Vegas. It’s my first trip there since I started wet shaving. And, since it’s a long weekend, I’d like to shave while I’m there. 

Now, I pack lightly, which means no checked bags. Which also means no safety razor blades. I’m looking for suggestions on how to pull this off on the cheap. Based on my research, I could:

  • Mail a blade to my hotel. They’ll hold an envelope for $7.
  • Buy a package of blades at an upscale shop like Art of Shaving, then throw them away.
  • Buy a package of cheap blades at a place like CVS, then throw them away.
  • Shave with a cartridge razor.
  • Don’t shave for three days.

I don’t care for any of these options. Am I missing something?

The rest of the routine seems easy enough. I just ordered a shave brush holder/tube for $8 and will likely pack a little cream into a small container. Or, is this a prime opportunity to try my first shaving stick, and if so, which one should I buy?

Sharpologists, please help a shaver out!

Andy Tarnoff (40 Posts)

Sometimes snarky, occasionally suspicious, usually funny (at least in his own mind), Andy uses his blog space mostly as a written catharsis for the numerous, unrelated topics swirling around in his mildly OCD head. Andy is the publisher and co-founder of OnMilwaukee.com, a digital media company he started in 1998.


Comments

  1. I take a few disposable fixed-head twin-blades on my travel. The grip is a little different and the weight is certainly different but they work fine for vacation or work travel.

  2. I heard that you can get a straight shave in Las Vegas it’s expensive but then you don’t have to think about shaving your selves.

    • +1 to this idea. If you’re on vacation, then treat yourself to a professional shave. If you go in as a single-blade shaver looking to learn, you’ll probably get some good tips. I usually ask “what’s unique about my hair/face and what are you doing for that hair/skin type?” and that opens the door to a whole conversation about shaving, the universe, and everything.

  3. Andy,
    I’d suggest packing a single blade in your dopp kit and trying your luck. Worst case, the TSA agent asks you to toss it out before going through security and you have to buy a pack of cheap blades at Walgreens.

    I’ve flown a few times, with no checked bags, since I started wet shaving and never had any issues with having a blade in my dopp kit. In fact, on my most recent trip the TSA agent noticed the razor (Merkur 38C) on the x-ray and had to pull my bag off to do a manual search through it. When I took the razor out, he complimented me on it (fortunately, I had just cleaned it that morning, so it was all nice and shiny) and sent me on my way. He never noticed or even asked about the single razor blade I had in the side pocket of the dopp kit.

    Have a great trip!

    • Trying to pass a prohibited item through a security checkpoint is illegal. If you get caught, you can be detained, arrested or other nasty things, especially if the TSA agents are not on your side.

      If you absolutely, positively HAVE to use a DE razor and will not check a bag, then your only legal recourse is to use a disposable “prep” razor. These are not commonly available in small quantities, though.

      If *I* were going to Vegas on vacation, I would schedule a professional barber shave like Mantic had… I’ve had one before and LOVED it. Alternatively, you are pretty much relegated to disposable cartridge razors. I hear good things about the BIC Metal razors, but I’ve never used them. When I travel by air and don’t check a bag, I just carry my old Gillette Fusion razor that I keep around for just such occasions.

  4. A few hints:

    A large pill bottle (5″-6″ tall) with a few ventilation holes drilled in it makes an excellent shaving brush holder. Cheap or free from your local pharmacist.

    I would NOT try sneaking a DE blade through the TSA security inspection. Yeah, you might get away with it a few times, but eventually you’ll get caught and end up inconveniencing everyone else in the line while they tear apart the rest of your bag looking for the Glock and the C-4! ;-)

    I’d probably go with a basic, single-blade disposable razor. The Bic Metals are probably the closest you’ll get to a DE shave from a throw-away razor. Also recommended (although I haven’t tried one yet) is the Gillette Guard razor (manufactured in India and available through some eBay sellers).

    A shave stick is definitely the way to go. I’m partial to Tabac, but there are plenty of others that are excellent. Mama Bear’s Soaps has some good shave sticks, available in myriad scents.

    Bon Voyage and good luck in Vegas!

    • David P. Miller says:

      +1 on the Bic Metal disposables … a little hard to find and more expensive than other single-blade disposables, but the Bic Metals are generally regarded as the best disposable razors out there.

      When I travel, first thing I do is lower my expectations about shaving. Its not a high priority for me, and I don’t expect to get BBS when I’m away from home. As long as I can get a Close, Comfortable shave and make myself look presentable, that’s all that counts.

      Second thing I do is take along a minimum of gear … I leave my brush at home and lather up by hand. I just take the basics of software, too … I don’t need my PSO and Thayers WH and six different kinds of aftershave. Just stick to the basics, and anything you forget can be purchased at a drugstore once you reach your destination.

      Never take any shave-gear that you can’t afford to lose, whether its due to theft, carelessness or oversight. If you can’t replace it with a few quick clicks and a couple of dollars investment, its best to leave it at home.

      Many products bill themselves as “all-in-one” and can be used as pre-shave, lather, and aftershave. Jack Black’s Beard Lube and Jason’s 6-in-1 are both good examples that I’ve used and can recommend.

      Finally, double-check the TSA regulations on what you can and cannot carry on a flight. Don’t be surprised at the last minute and risk delays and embarassment.

      And if you’ve got the time and the money to splurge on a professional shave while you’re there, GO FOR IT. Mantic did a video of his experience, you can consult that for reference.

  5. A follow-up on the Gillette Guard. It’s available here in the states from the fine folks at West Coast Shaving (and they also carry shave sticks!)

  6. I suppose taking some other means of transportation is out of the question. You could get 10 Wilkinson Sword blades at Walmart for $1.78 but you’d end up throwing 9 of them away. Considering the price and availability they’re surprisingly good: a little harsh but very sharp and easily obtainable with a price that’s hard to beat. I suppose you could mail them back to yourself after buying them in Vegas but that would probably cost more than $1.78.

  7. Why not get some blades while in town, and then mail them back home, taped between two sheets of cardboard in a standard envelope. You should be able to get away with this for the cost of 1 stamp. Never let a good blade goto waste ;-)

  8. Been through TSA 4 times now since starting wetshaving, haven’t been stopped once. I usually keep the blade in a separate area and it’s never been noticed.

    Worse that happens is they take it and you plead ignorance. Best of luck to you!

  9. Get a pack of blades while in Vegas then mail what’s left to your house. That way you can finish the pack.

  10. The Bellagio Salon, The Canyon Ranch SpaClub at the Venetian, The Men Zone at Caesar’s, Elliott & Co., The Art of Shaving at the Mandalay, Truefitt & Hill at the Mirage all offer straight razor shaves, and there are probably a bunch more. Las Vegas is wetshaving heaven, arguably second only to London.

    If you want to use a safety razor, why not try the CVS store brand blades? They have locations nationwide, so you could try them out at home first to make sure they work well. It sure beats tempting fate at the airport. Any unused blades in Vegas could be mailed home as Brian V. suggested, or simply chucked. Better yet, leave the remaining pack in the hotel room with a note stating “To whom it may concern, If you want a lifetime of shaving pleasure at a bargain price, please take the blades and then check out traditional wetshaving at sharpologist.com.” You could be starting someone on lifetime of shaving happiness.

  11. I highly recomend the ARCO Shave Stick. Travel and Vacation is a great opportunity to try things that deviate from your normal routine, so a shave stick might be the way to go.

  12. Ted Pettinicchi (TAP119 on B & B) says:

    Andy, I agree with Brian V. and Aaron. Get good blades at Art of Shaving and mail the leftovers home to yourself for less than $7. I wouldn’t challenge the TSA; I fly in & out of Philadelphia and Phoenix where the TSA inspectors are not known for their humor or kindness.

    I just shaved with a Speick stick and found it to be very nice. Try one of those. They have a better fragrance than Arko.

    Safe trip!

  13. Many hotels offer free razors (and other toiletries that you may have forgotten) and may also have DE blades.

  14. Change hotels! I have traveled extensively and I have never had to pay a hotel to hold a letter delivered to me. I frequently have mailed blades to my hotel without any problems.

  15. David.Cook says:

    Mantic I cannot believe you are going back to where this started and you are taking a razor!!!!!!! if you need a shave got to a barber and get a shave. if it’s no good go to another when the time comes, but talk to them and see if they know who you are. If they are worth their salt they will and give you a good shave. I got into this after a wet shave in Turkey so every time I go on vacation there I leave the razor at home.
    To be honest its like Russian roulette with razors but its fun. have a great time in Vagas :) Dave.

  16. Take a blade or two and just book your bag in on the outward
    journey. Shave as usual and dispose of the blade/blades prior
    to your return trip. Hand carry your bag on the return. This is
    my routine when travelling to Singapore and Australia. Never a
    problem and always a great shave.

    • +1. Check the bag going, carry it on returning. I usually carry a Simpson Case when I travel, but also use the little Omega mixed badger/boar (model 11047, I think) in a prescription bottle at times. Be sure to cut a couple of ventilation holes or slots to let moisture out. I put mine around the “waistline” of the bottle instead of in the cap so the bristles wouldn’t poke out.

      Also, I’ve found sample creams (especially the larger QCS samples) are perfect for travel.

  17. Well, it seems to me that you’ve outlined all possible options apart from seeing a barbershop while you’re there.
    If I were to go, I would probably bring my DE razor along and hope to find a pack of good blades at the destination. If you can’t find anything decent, get yourself a cartridge razor. Using a cartridge razor every now and then will also help remind you why you are so fond of your Double Edge. :-)
    I actually wrote an article on travelling with razors earlier this year.

  18. Well, I figure since you do not want to spend $7 to mail blades, you surely do not want to spend $60+ to have someone shave you.

    I would buy blades when I arrived in Vegas. I would take my Speick shave stick and my Wee Scot that’s in its pill bottle. If you don’t want to use a stick, take a tube of your favorite cream. You can lather in a hotel coffee cup, the palm of your hand, or on your face. Put your favorite after shave in a leak proof travel bottle.

    Have fun.

  19. I would just like to thank everyone for their solutions in the comments section. I have two quick one-nighters coming up for medical school interviews, and they will be my first flights since I started shaving with a DE. I had already started mulling around in my mind how I would go about doing that. I have everything sorted out except for the blade, so thanks again for everyone’s opinions!

  20. I recommend a La Toja Shaving stick. Its vegetal and one of the best IMO!

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