For a long time, towels were high on my list of too-bulky-to-pack. I can’t remember the last time I brought one with me. I usually lump them in the same category as hair dryers or travel irons. Just not worth the space, and you can probably find one on-location.
BUT (there’s always a but), sometimes you need to bring your own. How do you know when you’ll need one, and how can you pack one without taking up half your suitcase? Ask yourself these questions:
Do you know where you’re staying?
If you’re staying with friends or family, a hotel, or an AirBnB, it’s pretty safe to assume you’ll be provided with a towel. Don’t bother bringing one.
If you don’t know if you’ll have one, what is the likelihood you can buy one when you arrive?
When I studied abroad in Paris, I stayed in a dorm for six weeks. When I got there, I bought one towel, one plate, one cup, a pan, and a set of cutlery. When I left, I gave it to the next student. There are much more exciting things you can use that suitcase space for than a towel.
OK, so you think you’ll want to bring your own?
Are you camping, backpacking across Europe, staying in random hostels, making impromptu stops at the ocean or by lakes? You might want to have everything you need with you.
Here are some travel towel suggestions:
Muji shrink wrap bath towel, $9.50
Great choice for a one-time, just-in-case towel need, the Muji’s vacuum-packed travel towels are ompact and somewhat disposable. Good for showers or the pool.
Turkish towels, $10-$40
Turkish towels are lightweight and quick-dry cotton towels. They are extremely versatile as a headscarf, sarong, beach blanket, or shawl.
Microfiber or “yoga towels”, $15-$45
Microfiber towels are made of soft polyester and nylon microfiber, with an antimicrobial treatment to reduce odour retention. They dry very quickly and are extremely resistant. Great if you’re going to be working out or in the water a lot.