Towel Day

"A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have."

Fans of sci-fi will be familiar with the travel advice written on the right offered by the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. Travelling without a towel, whether on intergalactic misadventure or on a vacation to Spain, is an unforgivable error, such that an entire day has been dedicated to educating the unknowing masses.

Since May 25, 2011 fans of The Hitchhikers Guide galaxy-wide have been celebrating the quirky holiday (well no, it's not a real holiday - but it should be) of Towel Day; a day to marvel at this handy technology and to celebrate the life and work of Douglas Adams - one of Great Britain's greatest science fiction writers. Essential Travel suggests a few other must-pack items for the terrestrial and aspiring intergalactic traveller.

...A Towel, of course

Don't Panic man with Towel

Let us list some of the uses of a towel to show you how critical it is to pack one:

  • Roll it up and use it as a pillow on a Trans-Siberian train trip.
  • Unroll it, to make a, um, makeshift blanket for an afternoon nap on a Spanish beach.
  • Wrap it around you head, turban-style, to keep cool in the blazing Middle Eastern heat.
  • Fight off wild animals with a swift whip of the towel on a safari hike in South Africa.
  • Strap your toddler to your back for hands free walking about New York (also to make a nappy for said toddler).
  • Soak in warm water and place on your forehead for a slapdash end-of-the-day amateur spa treatment.
  • A towel around the neck has been proven to relieve anxiety. When things go awry wrap a towel around your neck and hakuna matata.

A hat

Sombrero Hat

The virtues of a hat transcend its mere utility; it adds a fashionable air about you when paired with the right outfit. Plus, nothing says how-dee-doo quite like a doff of the hat. For summer climes utility trumps fashion and a good bucket hat is all you need, but if Latin America is your destination, a sombrero is the hat of choice. When winter rolls around, anything from a light beanie to a fully-fledged ushanka does the trick.

Read more about all manner of hats in our Top Summer Hats blog.

A pair of sunglasses

For sunny weather or for skiing, sunglasses are a critical item. Like the hat they come with added advantage of looking stylish: rocking a big pair Jackie O's to the beach or a sleek pair of Men In Black shades gives you the feel of a celebrity or a rockstar. Just avoid the counterfeit versions that often do more damage to the eyes by dilating the pupils without offering any protection.

Any items you think we are missing out? Correct us in the comments section below. And don't forgot to carry your towel around tomorrow to celebrate Towel Day.

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Gugulethu Hlekwayo

Gugulethu Hlekwayo

A timid traveller, but a traveller none the less; Gugulethu is in his element lost and without a map - preferably with a companion willing to listen to his tall tales. He's our resident expert on the best muffins in town.