It’s time to celebrate some of the oddball things people have worn in order to take in a place. I asked my fellow travel bloggers to chime in on the weird things they had to wear in order to see a place or do something, and I got some wonderful responses! Note the ones without a ‘as told by’ credit are mine.
A blue smock
As told by Matilda at thetravelsisters.com.
The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is a non-profit research and breeding facility for giant pandas located near Chengdu, China. While visiting the panda base, we signed up for the opportunity to hug a panda in exchange for a donation. Thrilled with the prospect of cuddling one of these cuties, we would’ve put on anything, and we do mean ANYTHING, to make it happen. Although unflattering (light blue is just not our color), the required attire wasn’t too out there. Our outfit for the experience consisted of a smock, plastic gloves and shoe covers. Basically, it was something a medical professional might wear. As we happily donned the required items, a member of the Chengdu Research Base explained how important those precautions were to keep pandas safe. Hugging an actual panda was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us but the health and well-being of our beloved pandas was the most important part.
Whatever it takes for free chocolate
As told by Kiki Karpus at wanderlustexplorers.com.
We visited the Taza Chocolate Factory last summer in Somerville, MA. Think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but it’s amazing, artisan stone ground, Mexican-style organic chocolate. It’s pure heaven. $6 gets you in the door for a full chocolate making process. Did I mention unlimited samples? Oh yea. Unlimited samples. We donned our hairnets and booties to tour the factory. I mean you just don’t want to contaminate the product because you do visit the entire factory It was amazing. I’ll say it again unlimited chocolate samples. I left with a stomach ache.
A ‘modesty wrap’ — and a hard hat
Over at the Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya, Thailand, a ‘modesty wrap’ is necessary to enter this ‘sacred’ building. The irony here? There are topless statues almost everywhere you look. Why the real people need to cover their shoulders and knees but the statues can be nude remains beyond me… The shorts my darling wife wore were deemed too short for this sacred place, so on went the modesty wrap.
I didn’t get a picture of us wearing the hard hats, since we picked these up just before we entered the building. There was construction happening inside, apparently, and it was just a precautionary measure… but still…
Your birthday suit!
If you’re going to a Korean jimjilbang (day spa / sauna), get ready to wear your birthday suit, a smile, and not much else. Pay your admission fee, get an generic uniform for after the sauna, then put everything in a locker. The only exception is your bag of shower stuff — showering before the baths is a cardinal rule. Once showered and clean, take the bag back to the locker, then sit back and — ahhhh! — relax.
Once you’re out of the bath, you’ll head back to the locker room and put on your generic uniform (typically one color for men and another for women). Head into any of the saunas (such as this salt room, complete with bags of salt for pillows!) or ice-cold rooms to help your circulation.
A prison-like outfit
Going to the Hallstatt Salt Mine in Austria means checking out the world’s oldest salt mine. Getting in, however, means putting on some protective clothing that wouldn’t look too out of a place at a prison. Colors are green, blue, or maroon, and looked to be based on size. Button up your shirt and tie the cover-up pants around the waist, and try not to be embarrassed when your fly is open — there’s really no way of closing it!
Your butt and back of your thighs has an additional layer of microfiber to them, which is mainly necessary because of the wooden mine slides that are part of the tour. You can potentially hit 40 kilometers an hour going down these, and your speed will be checked on the way down!
A thermal beanie, crampons, and a sexy bumbag
As told by Gabby at theglobewanderers.com.
A couple of years ago I made the decision to challenge my exercise-allergic body to climb a glacier.
Perhaps it was a side effect of the travel bug I’d been bitten by or my new found desire to push myself to my limits that made me say ‘yes’. Or maybe, just maybe, I was yearning to wear the fetching blue jacket, flattering trousers and sexy bumbag.
Either way, there I was, clambering up the side of the ever changing Franz Josef Glacier on New Zealand’s South Island. Proudly sporting an array of climbing attire from the thermal beanie on my head to the crampons on my feet, I may not have felt the part, but boy did I look it. (Or so I kept telling myself).
The clothing I was required to wear may not seem “unusual” to the seasoned climber, but for me… an exercise-phobic, seeing me in this kind of get-up was a VERY unusual sight. Despite my feet being more blister than foot after approximately 2 hours of climbing (thanks boots!), this was an experience not to be missed.
Don’t miss this adventure if you find yourself in New Zealand. The sexy bumbags are awaiting.
Overalls and eye goggles
As told by Kach Howe at twomonkeystravelgroup.com.
Have you heard about the place in Central America where you can race down the side of an active volcano at 60 kph on a homemade wooden sled? I absolutely had to check it out! So I headed north from Costa Rica to northern Nicaragua and a town called Leon, right next door (about 1 hour drive) to Cerro Negro, a very much active volcano, to see what the new backpacker adventure sport of volcano boarding was all about!
You’re provided with protective overalls, with the option of leather builders gloves and eye goggles, which are not really an option — Wear them! The sharp stones can cause some pain and damage at high speed, as I was ‘lucky’ to experience first-hand.
Traditional Muslim clothes
As told by Inma Gregorio at aworldtotravel.com.
Little I knew that even fully covered I wouldn’t be able to enter Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque a couple of months back. Long trousers, long blouse and a proper scarf only took me to the changing room before entering the mosque grounds and from there on I had to dress with an abaya (traditional robe) and a shayla (headscarf) on top of all the clothes I was already using.
I won’t lie to you. It was hot and I barely could move while trying to keep everything in place and not show my hair as the shayla would keep falling down. It felt everything but comfy or appropriate in the beginning, but as I walked inside and saw every other girl in there dressed all in black as I was, I soon got used and forgot about this issue. From then on, I focused on taking pics and patiently waited till the sun went down to shoot the blue hour.
White coat, hat, and slippers
As told by Irene S. Levine at MoreTimeToTravel.com.
The Emilia Romagna region of northern Italy is the source of the famous Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese that is certified PDO — Protected Designation of Origin. This label is used by the European Union to protect the names of traditional foods produced in a strictly defined geographical area with recipes handed down over generations. Although many copies of the cheese are produced around the world, this is the only one that is authentic.
When you visit the Emilia Romagna region, you’ll find numerous Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese producers/factories outside of the cities that maintain strict production standards, similar to the ones used eight centuries ago. It’s fascinating to tour these facilities to watch the cheese being made, to visit the storage rooms with lines of cheese wheels (some weighing as much as 175 pounds) and stay around for the tasting (usually with local wine) afterwards and, perhaps, buy some cheese to take home at great reduced prices.
Of course, the factories are kept immaculately clean, so before entry, visitors are asked to don disposable white coats, hats and slippers. This picture was taken when we visited one cheese factory. By the way, Parmesan is the American translation of Parmigiano.
A purple jumpsuit
As told by Laura Lynch at savoredjourneys.com
In 2005, I went skydiving for the first time at Skydive Orange in Orange, Virginia, with my best friend Michelle. After filling out a disconcerting number of liability release forms, we were taken to the hanger where we were given special skydiving gear to put on. The jumpsuit was a lovely shade of purple with bright reflector strips on the arms and legs. Then came the cone-shaped rubber helmets and clear plastic goggles to protect our eyes from the wind. Lastly, we were strapped into harnesses that weighed a ton, with metal clips and buckles down the front to connect us safely to our jump instructors. We had to hobble around in all that gear for the next half hour, while we were given lessons on flying and landing, before we could board the plane that would take us up 13,000 feet to the jump site. In the end, the experience of free-falling through the air at an ungodly speed was worth every second we had to traipse around looking ridiculous in our purple jumpsuits. It’s all just part of the experience.
A jumpsuit to climb a bridge
As told by Sally Lucas at our3kidsvtheworld.com.
I took the opportunity to surprise Craig for our 9th wedding anniversary and purchased for us a Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. As you can see we have a matching outfit on, same same, as with the other 10 people in our group.
If you ever get the opportunity to do this climb make sure you take it as you can see the views are amazing. We did a twilight climb which meant that it went dark while we were climbing. Firstly when you arrive you have to remove all jewellery, including earrings, wedding rings the whole lot. They give you the pictured all in one matching jumpsuits. You put these on leaving your underwear and t-shirt if you have one on. If its a cold night they also supply you with ski pants which I also have on but you cant see them. I am also wearing ski gloves, all of which is clipped to the blue belt that I am wearing. This then clips to the railing for the entire time that I am on the bridge.
It is expensive but its a once in a lifetime experience and one I’m very glad I have done.
The Leather Diaper
As told by Sarah Pittard at solomomtakesflight.com.
The most horrifying get-up I’ve ever been required to wear while traveling was a “leather diaper” at Buena Vista Lodge & Adventure, located in Guanacaste in northwestern Costa Rica. I watched men and children zip down the 400 meter slide with ease but all woman were required to wear a leather diaper, their name not mine, to be able to ride. The slide is made out of concrete but I’m pretty sure we would have come out unscathed even without the diaper. I don’t have a photo of me in it as this was before GoPros and frankly the image was sure to remain burned in my mind for eternity.
Slovakian Body Condoms
As told by Lance Longwell at traveladdicts.net.
We visited the town of Banska Stiavnica, Slovakia because of this small town’s mark on history. We both love learning about new things. Here, in the mountains of Slovakia, the mining industry changed forever — explosives were used for the first time. Things that go BANG! seem like they would be awesome and so we visited.
When we arrived, they made us put on thick, yellow overcoats, which we affectionately dubbed our Slovakian Body Condoms. Adding to the get-up were hardhats. We felt safe…very safe. At the time, we thought the tour would be “sanitized” for tourists, but that didn’t happen. It was every bit as rough as you’d expect a mine to be. We were grateful for our hardhats…and body condoms.
‘Paper pants’ in the Vatican
As told by Dan Vineberg at danvineberg.com.
Photo credit: http://www2.ljworld.com/photos/2003/jul/17/38754/
When I was young, my family visited Rome. It was a scorching summer with temperatures hitting 40 degrees Celsius. Today we were off to Vatican City. Now the Vatican is a strict place, with a policy that adults need to wear pants inside. My parents both dressed appropriately. But I was a Canadian kid — 13 at the time — and this was shorts weather. So I was in shorts, and so was my 10-year-old brother.
After standing in a brutally long line on a brutally hot day, we were at the Sistine Chapel. Only at the front gate, security wouldn’t let me pass. He tapped a sign on the wall that indicated that pants were required.
“But these are our children,” my mom said to the man.
The man shook his head. He spoke with an accent. “He is a children,” he said, pointing to my brother. “But he,” pointing at me and laughing, “No children.”
We had to find a street vender who was selling “paper pants”. They were a hybrid between snowpants and a garbage bag. Something Oscar the Grouch might wear snowboarding.
I’ve always been tall for my age, but it had never led to a public embarrassment like this before. The whole time I was in the church I could hear the fabric of my pant legs swishing against each other. I kept wishing to be out of that place, and back in Rome, eating a pizza.
A full-on mining suit
As told by Claudia Tavani at myadventuresacrosstheworld.com
On my last trip to South America this year, I visited Bolivia, Chile and Uruguay. One of the highlights of my trip was a guided tour of the mines of Potosi, in Bolivia. In order to take part in the tour, all participants had to wear the appropriate gear, which consisted of a special pair of pants, a jacket, boots, a helmet connected to a flashlight and a belt. We even had a bandana over our faces, as the air was full of dust and hard to breathe.
It really was a breathtaking experience. Potosi is at 4000 meters above sea level and the mines are located even higher than that. The mines are still in use, and while we toured them, workers kept drilling and going in and out transporting minerals and rocks. The noise was deafening, the lack of light and the thick dust made it a bit claustrophobic, and in some parts we had to crawl or climb up or down. How do those miners manage to do this every day?
It really was a touching experience and we were all glad when we finally got out of the mine and saw the light of day again.
A full-on mining suit, part deux
As told by Paula McInerey at contentedtraveller.com.
Gordon had been a mining engineer forever, so when an opportunity came up to see where he worked and lived in many respects, I jumped at it. This was a visit to a coal mine in the Illawarra region of NSW, Australia where coal is/was a predominant resource and lifeblood of the economy. It was a pity that it was the morning after a big night out, and going into confined spaces when you are not on an even keel was possibly not the best idea. We had the go through the drill of safety of what would happen if ….
Their seemed to be a lot of if’s and this worried me, not for myself as I was beyond caring, but what Gordon faced on a daily basis. It was then time to get the gear on. We put on a sperm suit, and then they tied the self-rescuer belt and battery on me. I toppled backwards, not because of being bad the night before but it weighed nearly as much as I did. Gordon walked with this daily, and I could barely stand up in it. We then proceeded in the darky depths of the mine. It was interesting on many levels. It was dark, it was cold and it smelt old. However, at the end of the day it was an interesting experience, and one that made me worry forever after when Gordon went to work as I could see what a dangerous environment it was.