Fuss-Free Vacation Nails

by Anna Norman, Birchbox

How to get great nails when you're far afield.How to get great nails when you're far afield.

Whether you're trekking Machu Picchu or lounging on the beach, the last thing you want to focus on is a raggedy manicure. We've rounded up a handful of tricks to keep you well-polished and chip-free wherever your travels may take you.


We don't recommend whipping out a bottle of nail polish on a plane, but how about a mid-flight mani with dry nail polish strips or stickers? Whether you apply them on the road or at home, polish appliqués dry instantly, won't smudge, and wear longer than a traditional mani. There are tons to choose from, but we like Incoco's classy Nail Polish Appliques and Nail Rock's fashion-forward patterns. There are even toe-specfic strips, thanks to the new Pedicure Salon Effects from Sally Hansen. Snakeskin pedi, anyone?

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Glossy nails that will make it through a two-week vacay without a single chip? Sign us up! Long-lasting gel manicures use potentially harmful UV light and can weaken your nails, but as a special occasion splurge, they're a great way to keep your nails looking their best while you're away. Head to the salon and opt for a brand like CND's Shellac or try your hand at DIY gel nails with sets like this SensatioNail Kit.

Nothing will ruin a suitcase of clothes faster than a spilled bottle of nail polish remover. The solution: individually-wrapped nail polish remover pads, which are TSA-friendly, spill-proof, and the perfect size to tuck in your purse or suitcase. Try products like Deborah Lippmann Stripper To Go "mitts" or these biodegradable pads from LA Fresh-perfect for eco-conscious travel!

Related: How-To: Colored Manis

If you're like us, your carry on makeup bag is already stuffed to capacity with lotions and potions. Free up some space by downsizing to mini bottles of polish for touch-ups. Bring the sample-sized polish from your Birchbox or keep an eye out for mini versions of vacation-worthy shades, like these new summer brights from Essie. How can you resist a polish called Bikini So Teeny? Sure, chips happen, but with remover pads on hand and a piña colada by the pool, an imperfect manicure won't be the end of the world after all.

See more from Birchbox:

Survival Kit: Travel Edition

How To: Polka Dot Mani

How To: Apply Cheek and Lip Stain