Travel Tip: Always pack a hat, #TravelTuesday

Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer in Manitou Springs, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

A birthday weekend in Manitou Springs, Colorado.

Today’s #TravelTuesday tip may seem simple, but I’m here to tell you that it’s vital. I’m a hat person. I love hats of all sorts and own quite a few. Spring, summer, fall or winter, a hat is probably the most useful thing you can pack when you’re heading out on a trip – any kind of trip.

Heading to the beach? Whether it’s the beach at Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins, Colorado or the beach in Cozumel, Mexico, a big floppy hat is a good idea. Even for the boys. My floppy hat that I bought at the Glenwood Springs Hot Springs Pool in 2013 for $36 was the best investment I’ve ever made. I’ve worn that thing everywhere; beer fests, soccer games, the pool and most recently an outside memorial service. It’s a truly versatile hat, and it’s also doing my body good.

Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer at Colorado Brewers' Festival in 2013. HeidiTown.com

The best hat ever! At the Colorado Brewers’ Festival in 2013.

Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer in Mexico. HeidiTown.com

Floppy beach hat at my 30th birthday in Mexico. HeidiTown.com

I come from a long line of light skinned redheaded stock. My dad has had two benign skin cancers removed from his forehead. But skin cancer doesn’t just affect fair redheads. According to WebMD it’s the most common of all human cancers, with 1 million people in the United States diagnosed each year. This means that wearing a hat isn’t just a fashion statement, it could potentially save your life.

While hats are great for keeping the sun’s harmful UV rays from hitting your face, neck, ears and scalp, they are good in other ways too. My eyes are very light sensitive and wearing a hat and sunglasses cuts down on glare. Here in Colorado that’s important all the time, after all we get more than 300 days of sunshine a year so whether you’re on the ski slope or at the lake, it’s probably going to be sunny.

Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer in her Liftopia hat in Vail, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

Sporting my Liftopia hat this past winter in Vail, Colorado.

Obviously a hat also keeps your head warm, but there are other good reasons why you should carry a hat or two during your travels.

I referred to several of these “good reasons” in an article I wrote in 2011 for IndependentTraveler.com. In that article I wrote that a hat can be used to cool your neck because you can tuck your hair up into it. It can also be used as a way to block out the light if you’re trying to catch a few Z’s at an airport or on a bus. And if you haven’t washed your hair in a few days a hat hides a multitude of sins.

What’s your must-have travel accessory?

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