The one item smart travellers never leave home without

Adaptable, affordable, unbreakable, reusable. Discover this one thing used by smart travellers.

Passport, sun cream, toothbrush: there are items that none of us would dream of travelling without. But there’s one that’s just as indispensable, yet completely underrated. We mean, of course, the humble sarong.

The sarong is adaptable, affordable, unbreakable, reusable – and it saves space. It has so many uses it is one item that smart travellers shouldn’t leave home without. Here’s our top ten:

The shawl:

Even in the hottest parts of the planet you often need to keep warm, whether it’s because the temperature drops at night, or there’s harsh air-conditioning to contend with. A sarong is small enough to throw in a handbag.

The cover-up:

Whether you’re trying to surreptitiously feed your baby in public, or visiting a religious shrine that requires you to cover your head and shoulders, the sarong is an essential piece of kit.

The beach towel:

A sarong is quick drying, lightweight and doesn’t take up the space of a typical beach towel. So whether you’re just heading to the pool for a quick dip, or lounging around on the beach, the sarong has a part to play.

The first aider:

Break an arm or sprain a wrist and a sarong can double as a triangular bandage to immobilise the injury until you get to hospital. You can even use it as a stretcher.

For children:

The sarong is great for swaddling babies, wiping up spills or converting into a sling/carrier, play tent or sun cover.


There are hundreds of ways to wear a sarong in different styles. Wear it as a dress, skirt or a sash. You can even turn it into a bathing suit with a few clever folds, or wrap it around your head to keep the sun off.

Bag it:

Never be caught out with more than you can carry. Simply knot the two corners at the short end together, repeat at the other end and you have a hammock shoulder bag.

In the car:

When the sun gets too hot on the leather or vinyl seats, lay down a sarong. When parking your car, hang the sarong in the inside of the windscreen, using the sun visors, to help keep the car cool.

In public:

Travelling somewhere ‘exotic’ where toilets don’t have doors and stores don’t have changing rooms? Your sarong is the ideal way to get some makeshift privacy.

Out and about:

Throw it on a table as a stylish tablecloth or on the floor as a picnic blanket.