If preparing for a trip inevitably finds you staring at a pile of pants that will neither pack light and stay wrinkle-free, nor match anything else in your suitcase, including your shoes… I’m right there with you. That’s why I decided to assemble a list of my 5 favorite women’s travel pants. While I don’t have specific pants that I reserve just for traveling, I have accepted the fact that my heavy, denim skinny jeans and knee-high boots are not conducive to most of my travel situations. But I still want to look and feel good, right?
So I try to remember these rules when packing good traveling pants:
- easy to clean, especially in a sink
- water repellent, if possible
- match everything
- look good
I like to take along two pairs of long pants (one can be zip-offs that convert into shorts), at least one pair of capris, something soft and stretchy for lounging, and perhaps a skirt or dress, depending on where I’m going. For my top picks, read on.
These are the main staple of my travel wardrobe. I wear them on a cold airplane, in a cool destination, at night, or during the day if I’d rather not slather sunscreen on my legs or get bitten by pesky bugs (which I generally don’t). My current favorites are the…
Lightweight, water resistant, soft, airy, comfy-yet-stylish, with neutral color choices. (I have the black and the dark gray – which they call “pulse.”) If I have any comment about them, it would be that they could use a little stretch or elastic in the waist band to assist the snap and tie closure. But it’s a minor complaint… I still love you, Columbia travel pants!
- 96% Nylon / 4% Elastane
- Drawstring snap zipper closure
- Machine sashable
- Solid-tone outdoor pant in mid-rise bootcut silhouette featuring drawstring waist with back grommets
- Omni-shield advanced repellency with UPF 50+ sun protection
- 2-way comfort stretch fabrication
I find stretch capris to be very versatile on the road. Heavier than tights, they make me feel like I’m actually wearing pants and not going to ballet practice. They’re also so easy to pair with short sleeves, long sleeves, short shirts, long shirts, tennis shoes, sandals, a lightweight jacket… you get the idea.
Jeggings, leggings, whatever you call them, there are lots of choices out there for different body shapes. Try some like these mid-weight leggings from No Nonsense.
- 8% Cotton / 19% Polyester / 3% Spandex for all-day stretchy ease
- The look of denim with total comfort
- Jean styling with real back pockets and faux front pockets
YOGA / WORKOUT / STRETCHY PANTS
Why yoga pants? Because they’re comfortable! And if they’re low-key and don’t scream DOWNWARD FACING DOG, they make pretty good traveling companions.
I dig my solid black Champion yoga pants, which are just as great for relaxing after a long day of sightseeing as they are for walking around town.
- 89% Polyester / 11% Spandex
- Machine washable
- Moisture management technology wicks moisture away from the skin
- Quick drying Champion vapor technology evaporates moisture fast
- Patent-pending smoothtec waistband for chafe resistance
- Wide waistband is embossed inside to increase air flow
- 32.5 regular inseam; 30 short inseam
Never underestimate the two-for-one benefits of a great pair of convertible, zip-off pants for traveling. They’re a fantastic space saver.
These convertible pants from Royal Robbins come in neutral black and khaki. They’re made of Nylon, so they pack small and dry fast.
- 100% Nylon
- Regular fit
- Convertible adjustable hem
- Zip secured pocket
- Action waist
OR… for the budget-conscious, you can also try these slightly less expensive convertibles from Columbia.
- 100% Nylon
- Convertible pant with zip-off legs and contoured waistband
- Zipper pocket at side
- Zipper fly with button closure
- Omni-Wick and Omni-Shade UPF 30 technologies
While we’re on the subject of bottoms, I have to give a shout-out to my all-time favorite… SKIRT!
6. Royal Robbins Women’s Discovery Skirt
I adore this skirt. It’s great for traveling as well as regular, old life. I wear it to work, shopping, dinner, whatever. First off, it goes with everything. (I have the black, but it also comes in charcoal gray.) Secondly, it has such a flattering cut, sitting just below the waist with a flare at the bottom. Cute! And third, it doesn’t winkle easily.
It’s got a hidden, zippered compartment, a snap pocket at the bottom (which frankly, I’ve never used), and a UPF rating. The Nylon/Spandex combo makes it lightweight, somewhat water repellent, and so easy to roll up and pack. What’s not to like? If anything, maybe the price, which ranges from $42-$65. But you’ll keep it forever, so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. I’ve had mine for years.
- 96% Nylon / 4% Spandex
- Lightweight wrinkle-resistant skirt featuring ruffle hem with snap-flap pockets
- Side-zip pocket and side-flap pocket
- Rear-zip closure
- UPF 50+, Dri X-treme mesh-lined waistband
To see more of my favorite travel clothing and shoes for women, check out this page.
If you have any favorite travel pants, I’d love to hear about them! I’m always looking for the next great pair. Please tell me all about them by leaving a comment below.