Whenever friends or family pick me up at the airport, meet me at the train station, or welcome me home after an overseas adventure, the first thing out of their mouths isn’t “Yay! You’re home!” or “How was Kathmandu?” but “Where’s the rest of your stuff?”
Whether packing for a weekend in the mountains or a month-long jungle trek, I always tote the same little black carry-on bag that’s about the size of the average woman’s handbag. Inside, there’s just enough room for undies, a swimsuit, two pairs of sunglasses (I always lose one pair, and they can be tricky to replace on the road), reading material, a little black dress, leggings and a t-shirt, and that most indispensable item of all: the scarf.
Scarves are ideal for summertime travel because of their versatility; they do double duty as beach blankets, seaside sarongs, shoulder protectors, shade providers, places to rest your head on airplanes and trains, and can be employed for all sorts of other creative uses. The trick is to pack a scarf that’s large, square(ish), and made of a lightweight, fast-drying fabric. Synthetics serve this purpose well, but if you prefer natural fibers, bamboo and cotton are great because they’re breathable and easy to clean.
Theordora and Callum make big, colorful scarves from natural fibers including linen and bamboo. I’d wear any one of their pretty, ultra-lightweight designs, whatever corner of the globe I happen to be in. This Turquoise Multi Turkish Tile Wearable Art Scarf model is slightly gauzy—perfect, in other words, for tropical destinations.
Nepali by TDM Design also offers a great selection of bright, generously-proportioned natural-fiber scarves. My favorite is the black-and-fuchsia Abyss scarf, in 100-percent bamboo. The size is perfect for use as a picnic blanket or post-swim cover-up.
You might remember Beatrice Guapo of GG Collective. She was the first contestant ousted on this season’s Project Runway! I still think her designs are fab, including this snuggly alternative to not-very-animal-friendly Pashmina. I’d pack this for cool-weather vacation travel. Did somebody say Machu Picchu?
If the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra resonates with you, you might consider Etsy when launching your quest for the perfect travel scarf. I just typed “large scarf” into the site’s search engine and dozens of beautiful possibilities popped up, including this synthetic-wool number in eye-catching purple. Prices are great and you’re practically guaranteed a one-of-a-kind purchase.
YOUR TURN: What's your favorite way to wear a scarf? Share below, and see what other have to say!