If you’re a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fan (like us), you know two things: 1. 42 is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything, and 2. you should be a zarkin frood who always knows where her towel is. Especially when on the move.
Just like our good friend Douglas Adams suggested, a towel is an infinitely useful item to have on hand in any number of situations, including those you might find yourself in while traveling. We’ve personally encountered quite a few where a towel came in handy and we thought we might share them with you in hopes that on your next adventure you won’t be caught dead without your towel.
So here are 42 reasons you should never leave home without it:
1. Fold it up and use it as a pillow on a train, plane, or automobile.
2. Dry off your seat after a London rain or use it as cushioning during a good long sit.
3. Spread it out on the grass at a park for a picnic.
4. Dry off a soggy bicycle seat with it when you get caught in the rain.
5. Dry off your soggy self with it when you get caught in the rain.
6. Save money on linen rentals at hostels (they don’t usually provide towels for hand washing or showering).
7. Use it for hand washing and showering when your couchsurfing host offers you a smelly T-shirt for those purposes.
8. Fold it up and sit on it to pad an uncomfortable park bench while waiting for a bus.
9. Use is as a blanket when you’re cold.
10. Use it as a sunshade when you’re hot.
Dry off an outdoor chair after a London rain or use as cushion during a good long sit.
11. Place it between your shivering body and the airport floor as a layer of insulation while sleeping between flights.
12. You don’t know when those tray tables on the train were last cleaned. 13. Spread your towel on top when sharing snacks.
14. Wrap it around your head and ears when you get to the top of that hill and suddenly realize it’s much windier than you anticipated.
15. Clean the fish guts from between your fingers when catching dinner in the wilderness (and then don’t use it for anything else until it’s laundered!).
16. Tie a string between two trees and drape it across for an impromptu tent.
17. Use your towel as a pillow when napping during extended plane, train or automobile trips.
18. Use it as a pot holder when removing the kettle from the campfire.
19. Wash and dry camp dishes with it.
Use as a pillow on an one of those long plane, train or automobile trips.
20. Fold it up, lay it over your eyes and use it as an eye mask when attempting to sleep in less than blackout conditions.
21. Fold it up and tie it around your head and ears for sound blockage when attempting to sleep in less than silent conditions.
22. Use it at the beach!
23. Use it at the pool!
24. Use it to flick away large spiders or scorpions in the desert.
25. Wrap it around cameras, souvenirs and other valuables as an extra layer of protection.
26. Wipe off your sweat-drenched face when hiking in South America.
27. Use it to send smoke signals.
28. Drape it over your head and brightly glowing screen while doing some late night e-mail checking at a hostel or when sharing accommodation with others (be considerate, now!).
29. Wrap up snacks and sandwiches when you’ve managed to destroy the packaging it came in.
Use your towel as a placemat or picnic blanket when snacking.
30. Use your towel as a place mat or picnic blanket when snacking.
31. Use it as a catch-all when sorting through your bag on an airport or bus station floor.
32. Collect wild berries and edible foliage in it while foraging.
33. Use it as a handkerchief when you catch the sniffles while on the road.
34. Wrap it around exposed skin to protect yourself from thorns and thistles when hiking in the wilds.
35. Use it to scrub the questionably clean tub in that cheap motel you’re stuck at.
36. Wrap your muddy boots in it before shoving them in your backpack.
37. In hot weather, dip it in cold water and wrap it around your neck to cool you down.
38. Claim your seats for a parade or outdoor concert by laying it across any open space when you didn’t pack your folding chairs.
39. Traveling with kids? Have them all line up and take firm hold of the towel when navigating packed city streets.
40. Wipe the grease from your hands after replacing the chain that decided to come off your bicycle.
41. Wipe the moisture from your camera lens (carefully!).
42. Use a washable marker to write your destination on it when attempting to hitch a ride.
43. Wave it in the air and make crazy loud noises when you suspect you’re being stalked by a bear in Yellowstone.
44. Clean the slime off yourself after your first mud run.
45. Use it to stop the bleeding when you slice open your arm repelling down a cliff.
46. Wrap it around your kayak paddle to prevent blisters on long journeys.
Alisha is a freelance writer and photographer based in Austin, TX. She loves her tiny house, vegan food and experiencing the community of travel in far away places. She’s also pretty sure she’s addicted to coffee. alishamcdarris.com