Short Sarong - Purple Sarong with White Dolphins
Short Sarong – Purple Sarong with White Dolphins
If you’re planning a trip this summer, consider the sarong as a faithful travel companion. You may be wondering how you’ll fit everything into one suitcase. With airlines charging for bags these days, we’re all trying to pack lighter. Tucked into otherwise wasted spots in your bag (yes, that’s singular) this summer could be at least two sarongs. And you may not wear either one in the usual fashion.

A Sarong’s Not For You?

You may feel that wearing a sarong, or pareo, is not for you. It simply doesn’t fit  your own image of yourself, and previous urging have not swayed you in the slightest. I understand. Don’t wear it. Pack one or two anyway. They have myriad uses, some of which may not have occurred to you. Modesty, for example.

Modesty? Really?

Possibly modesty isn’t the first thought that enters your mind when you hear the word sarong. You may picture a lovely Balinese woman in an exceptionally becoming, tightly wrapped sarong. But imagine this: you’re in a foreign country,  dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, standard apparel for summer travel. In your wanderings, you come upon a hauntingly beautiful house of worship. It somehow captures your heart. You’d dearly love to go in and experience this piece of local culture. But the sign clearly indicates that visitors must be covered up. It says so in three languages, and in case any doubt remains, there are sketches that make it perfectly clear that shoulders, upper arms, and legs have to be hidden. You don’t even come close to meeting these requirements, and there’s no time to dash back to your hotel to retrieve more appropriate clothing. And today’s your last day here.

Made It!

If you have a sarong tucked into your tote—they’re so lightweight you may have forgotten it’s there—you’re in luck. With a little practice, over there under the tree, you can drape it over yourself in such a way that all “objectionable” areas are covered. Whew! You made it! You step into the cool, peaceful interior in time to hear the beautiful melodies of this culture’s worship. For years afterward, you’ll think of this visit as the highlight of your trip.

That’s how a sarong has saved many a day for travelers, and that’s one reason to pack a couple of sarongs this summer.

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