Few items are as versatile and functional for the female traveler as the sarong. This lightweight addition to your packing list delivers on its promise for multi-purpose use and adds color, variety, and a touch of femininity to the traveler’s wardrobe.
What is it?
A sarong is a rectangular or square piece of fabric, often found in a variety of colors and prints, and worn as clothing. Depending on your location and travel destination, you can buy a sarong in stores, online, or in a local market.
How many ways can I use a sarong?
A sarong is a multi-purpose item. Travelers have found a number of creative uses for the sarong, and its versatility is not limited by the ideas listed below!
Blanket at the beach or on a picnic. Grab a few new friends from the hostel, plan a day out, and bring your easy-to-carry sarong along.
Blanket on cold transportation. It might not be as warm as a normal blanket, but if you’re stuck on a cold plane, train or bus, every extra layer helps.
Towel (beach or bath). The thin, lightweight material dries quickly and saves you from packing a separate bath and/or beach towel!
Curtain/divider/wall. When you’re in shared accommodation or camping, sometimes you want a little more privacy than what’s afforded. Hang the sarong from your bunk bed or clothesline or find another creative way to hang the fabric to create a discreet place to change clothes. Your new “wall” may also help avoid overhead lights in the middle of the night or offer more peace during mid-afternoon naps.
Cover knees, shoulders, arms, or head while visiting places of worship. If you don’t have a separate scarf or find yourself needing more coverage, a long sarong can cover bare shoulders or legs in hot weather when you want to visit temples, mosques, and other places of worship.
As a makeshift bag/purse. Picking up a few items at the market? Fold your sarong into a bag or purse to tote your new finds!
Need sheets for your bed or a tablecloth?Unfurl the sarong and it easily covers the mattress or table. You can also use it in place of a questionable pillow case.
Pillows a little flat, lumpy, or non-existent? Fold the sarong for extra support. If you have a packing cube, tuck the sarong inside to maintain a pillow shape throughout the night.
Wearing your sarong as clothing
If you get a little creative, sarongs can be used as clothing. Why not try one of these styles!
Skirt or halter dress. Depending on the length of your sarong, you can play with a variety of lengths and folding techniques to create different skirts or dresses – from beach ready, every-day casual, to ready-for-dinner and drinks.
Belt or scarf. Shorter sarongs can work for either or simply cut some fabric from one end to create a few new accessories!
Wrap/shawl. Need to dress up an outfit for a date or dinner and drinks at a nice restaurant? Cool nights setting in? Use your sarong for function + style.
Beach cover up. Wrap your sarong like a bath towel, around your waist, or cleverly folded in several additional ways to create a cute beach cover up (and protect your skin from the sun!).
The benefits and uses of a sarong are only limited by creativity! How have you used one in your travels? I’d love to hear some of your stylish or functional inventions on the road.