Best Travel Pants for Women 2021
Stuck in coach (and definitely not going to be changing into those comfy first class pajamas for your long flight)? Looking for wrinkle free, versatile pants for exploring that have a little more polish than leggings or sweats? We’ve got you covered!
We’ve divided this article up into categories, with plenty of examples of our favorite types of the best travel pants for women: technical pants, elastic waist pants, and culottes.
Technical Travel Pants
Technical pants are travel and outdoor sports pants made of high-tech fibers. They’re good for travel because they’re comfortable, stretchy, and don’t hold wrinkles. We’ve included a variety of technical travel pants in the list below, but my personal preference is for the sleeker styles that look a little more dressy.
Elastic Waist Travel Pants
Yes, this is a pretty broad category, but there’s some specific criteria to look for in order to find the best travel pants: you want elastic waist pants with enough tailoring or structure that they don’t look like pajamas. Think nicer fabrics (avoiding sweats!), and sophisticated prints or darker hues.
The one comfy pant I swear by for those long hauls in coach is Lands End’s Starfish pants. They’re basically tailored sweats that can easily be dressed up a little, and (this is so difficult to find!), they come in petite sizes!
Taller gals may find they have a little more leeway here in choosing wider leg pants while still looking polished, but everyone should consider balancing out a voluminous leg with a more fitted or structured top.
This type of pant is great for warm weather destinations, where a casual but chic gauze or linen pant is comfy and totally appropriate.
Culotte Travel Pants
Culottes make awesome travel pants because they are loose fitting and comfortable, but can often pass for a skirt, making them great for breezing straight from the airport to your fancy dinner reservation. Look for culottes in heavier weight natural fabrics like linen, or synthetics like poly blends that don’t wrinkle easily.
What’s the best fabric for travel pants?
There’s a number of factors to consider when choosing the best travel pants. What’s the weather like where you’re traveling? In warmer weather, medium weight linen is a fantastic go-to fabric, while wool is an option to consider for cooler climates. Keep in mind that when it comes to natural fabrics, the higher quality, the better, so that they drape well and resist wrinkling.
If quick drying or stretch is your number one priority, a synthetic blend is probably your best bet (but don’t underestimate the comfort of wide leg pants!). Synthetic fabrics don’t always breathe as well as natural fabrics, but you’ll often get more bang for your buck, so they’re great travel pants if you’re on a budget.
I’m going somewhere warm. What’s wrong with traveling in shorts?
If you prefer shorts, there’s certainly nothing wrong with opting to travel in shorts. I tend to pack mostly lightweight pants and skirts for warm weather, because they’re more versatile, and generally read as dressier–making them more appropriate for your dinner reservation, and more likely to score you that upgrade if you look like you belong in first class. Do keep in mind that in many parts of the world, you won’t be able to enter some tourist sites with bare legs, and some US airlines have been known to refuse boarding if they feel like you’re showing too much skin. While planes can be so freezing that I wouldn’t want to wear shorts to begin with, the body shaming from random airline employees is outrageous, and honestly worth challenging. If you’re most comfortable in shorts, then go for it.
What are the most versatile travel pants for women?
This depends on what you’re going to be doing on your adventures, but for city exploring, I think culottes make the best travel pants for women. They’re loose and lightweight, and with a wide enough leg, they give you the best of both skirts and pants: practical, but pretty enough to wear to dinner.
If you plan on a more outdoorsy vacation, technical travel pants are going to be your best bet. Good technical fabrics repel water, dry quickly, and resist staining and wrinkling. I prefer slightly more fitted or tailored technical pants with stretch for comfort, so that I can get more usage out of them for slightly dressier situations.