This Accessory Is The Swiss Army Knife Of Travel Clothing, Per Samantha Brown

Many of us put a lot of care into our travel outfits. We carefully count the pairs of underwear and socks we'll need, find the best fabric to resist packing wrinkles, and search for the most comfortable shoes and perfect soft pants for the plane. However, there's one great accessory that you should bring on all your trips that travel expert Samantha Brown called "the Swiss army knife of travel fashion" in a post on her Instagram: the humble neck scarf. Brown has given travelers some useful tips like how to wash a dish in your hotel room hassle-free, and how to secure the best possible seat on a plane. Likewise, her travel hacks for neck scarves are brilliant.


There are, of course, endless ways to wear a scarf to begin with if you're just looking at fashion. Tie it in your hair, wrap it around your neck with a fancy knot, or a few loose loops. It looks great on all genders, but it also has a ton of uses while you're out exploring the world. It can keep you warm, keep weather like snow or sand out of your face and hair, and be worn as a wrap or to simply cover your neck. On the travel side, however, it's got a lot more going for it. We've highlighted Samantha Brown's best advice for using a neck scarf while traveling and thrown in a few bonus tips as well.

Neck scarf uses on the way to and from your destination

Before you even get to your destination, neck scarves are the must-wear part of your travel outfit. Brown suggested using the scarf as a buffer between you and whatever you sit on. We've all seen those seats that you really don't want to touch. It's also useful to keep you warm in a chilly airplane. Brown mentioned it as a blanket for children as well. Having something to wrap around you to warm up when the air gets too cold saves you from purchasing a plane blanket or two. You can also place it around your hand when you open the plane bathroom door or anything else icky (though you'll probably want to place it in the dirty laundry bag right away if you go this route).


Plane seats aren't comfortable, and on her website, Brown highlighted rolling up a scarf to use as a pillow — perfect for a flight as the headrests always seem to be in the wrong place. She also suggested using it as a makeshift eye mask if you need to nap. Is someone coughing and sneezing next to you? If you don't have a mask and don't want to get a cold (or smell someone's breath), you can use it as a mask or barrier. If your kid has a spill on the plane and you don't have napkins, voila! The scarf is now a face and hand wipe. The same goes for phones and laptops.

Neck scarf uses while sightseeing

Neck scarves aren't just for the plane. They're great for your day of sightseeing as well. Even when it's warm out, having a light and wide scarf to wrap loosely around your neck (see the above pic) is really useful. Brown mentioned using them as a shoulder cover at religious sites that require it, like many churches in Italy. (If you forget, vendors will sell you one on the street.) You can also wrap your scarf around you as a sarong to cover your midriff or knees. At the beach, it does triple duty as a towel, sand remover, and beach blanket.


Hair blowing into your face? Roll up the scarf and use it as a headband. If you don't feel like having it on your neck, roll it again and use it as a belt. If you carry a purse, tie it around that so it's not on your neck. Glasses getting foggy? You can wipe them off with your scarf. If you're on a hike with a lot of bugs, you can wrap it around you to keep them off. At your hotel, a neck scarf is fantastic to block a draft from your door or window. You can also drape it over the window to block the light that inevitably comes in from the crack between the curtains. When you purchase one, it's also worth heeding Brown's warning about wearing certain colors as a solo traveler. However you use it, the neck scarf truly is the Swiss army knife of travel clothing.