The One Accessory I Never Travel Without

In 2015 I visited more than 100 cities in 25 countries. Winter or summer, my #1 favorite carry-along item was a simple beach sarong. From temples in Bangkok to bath houses in Budapest, here are 10 ways to use it you might not have thought of.


  1. Pool cover-up – Whether you’re heading to the pool bar or running up to your hotel room for your forgotten 50 Shades of Grey, a sarong is a great way to cover up without actually getting dressed.  (OK, so we all knew this one!)


2. Do-rag – Sometimes we ladies just don’t feel like doing our hair. Other times we need to protect ourselves from the harsh sun, especially if we’re going on a sweaty hike. A sarong can make a wonderful do-rag. If you’re really lucky, a strange Bedouin man will teach you how to tie it correctly.

3. Beach mat– When you’re done using your sarong as a beach bag (see #8), untie it and lay it out on the sand or a cabana chair. Instant beach towel!

4. Bath towel – When you’re packing light for an extended trip, a sarong can do double-duty as a bath towel. Sure, it won’t be as absorbent as a bath towel, but it will dry fast, especially when used in conjunction with #9.

DSC_03945. Cover-up for temples – Struggling to be respectful of other cultures in Bangkok’s sweltering heat? A sarong is your answer. Lightweight and small, you can easily tuck it into your day pack or purse, run around all day in your spaghetti strap t-shirt, then throw it over your shoulders before you enter a temple. If your t-shirt has sleeves but you need to cover up your Daisy Dukes, just tie it around your waist in a long skirt.

6. Shawl for cold weather – Sometimes the beach breeze gets cool at night. No need to bring along a sweater if your handy sarong is tucked in your purse. Just throw it over your shoulders for an instant shawl. Bonus: it also makes a great airplane blanket.

7. Head covering for mosque – Virtually every mosque has free head coverings you can borrow at the front desk, but carrying a sarong means you’ll always have your own. Note that ladies must cover their head, arms and legs before entering the mosque. Some mosques will also make women wear a full hooded robe, even if they’re already wearing long sleeves and a head scarf.

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8. Beach bag –Traveling light but still need a way to carry your book, phone and sunscreen to the beach? Just tie the ends of your sarong together into a nifty little hobo bag, then untie it to use as a beach towel.

9. Privacy curtain – This one is my favorite! If you’re at a hostel and have the bottom bunk, simply tuck your sarong into the bed frame under the upper bunk’s mattress. Instant privacy screen! Bonus: DSC_0399 (2)if you’re also using the sarong as a bath towel, it will dry quickly this way.

10. Scarf – You never know when the night will turn chilly. Keep a sarong in your purse and voila! Instant neck scarf.


 What’s your favorite “go-to” travel accessory?


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About Testarossa Travel

Testarossa Travel is a collection of stories about the amazing people of the world and the places they live. Adventurous, funny, and often humbling or downright embarrassing, these stories capture my experiences with authenticity and are meant to inspire readers to get out there and see the world. Each tale is designed to give the reader a true sense of a place, its sights, sounds and smells, and most of all, its people.

One Comment

  1. This is great! Two more uses are as nursing cover (so big and lightweight, and the colors filtering through can soothe baby) and as a shade cover on a stroller. Please type of air flow available and baby doesn’t get burned (or woken up). I have even built a little pup tent for baby on the beach. Also, kids can play on them w lots of little toys such as leggos or puzzles. Then cleanup is one easy swoop .

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