When traveling abroad, sometimes a haircut is inevitable. Many world travelers even like to “collect” haircuts in the various countries they visit. This may be easy to accomplish in English-speaking countries, but what do you do when you don’t speak the language?

Bring a friend If you have a friend or relative who speaks the language (fluently or not) they can help you communicate with the stylist to make sure you get what you want.

Use translation tools Using a dictionary or online translation sites before you go can be a major help. Be sure you know words like “haircut,” “shorter,” “bangs,” “layers,” etc. If you’re getting a dye job, make sure you know the name of your color!

Visuals Bring a picture of what you want. This can almost eliminate the need to verbally communicate with the stylist. Don’t underestimate the power of hand gestures, either!

Research Researching area salons is extremely helpful. You can see what other people think of the salon, how much a cut might cost you, and even if they have any English-speaking stylists you can ask for.

Know local customs Each country has different customs about tipping. Is tipping expected? If so, what’s the average amount? If you can, it’s always your best bet to get the opinions of a few locals. If that’s not possible, the internet should have some information for you, too. Another easy way to figure this out is to watch other customers in the salon. You may not be able to see exactly how much they tip, but it’s a great indication of when and how to go about doing so.

Have you gotten your hair cut in a foreign country? If so, let us know how it went and what tactics you employed to communicate what you wanted!