Friday, July 19, 2019

On Hats

This is the smallest of small travel tips, but I find myself repeating it to new travelers all the time: wear a hat - preferably something distinct. This serves two purposes in addition to the obvious ones related to sun and fashion:

  • When in a crowd, especially when on a tour with a new group of people, a hat helps one stick out more than a shirt or something similar. I know that people have found me (and thereby the rest of a tour group) by looking for my hat from above. I know that I've used this trick to distinguish a driver or guide in a crowd of similarly attired folks.
  • When dealing with officials, the act of removing a hat makes a good first impression and shows a little respect. For example, when passing through customs or talking to a ticketing agent, I wait until I've made eye contact with the person to conspicuously remove my hat. While this is anecdotal, this act of overt submission (as opposed to not wearing a hat or keeping a hat on one's head) seems to smooth whatever interaction enough that, while others in line may have issues, I'm waved through.

As a bonus, when flipped over, a hat keeps keys, coins, and all that junk from your pockets in one place when going through an x-ray machine or on a bedside table.

I will, eventually, write up posts for my final six weeks in Australia and this past month in Indonesia, I promise!

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