• Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

The 24 Most Comfortable Travel Clothing Items for Women and Men of 2024

You may have a designated travel sweatshirt or a favorite pair of shoes to wear on flights — but what about other essentials, like pants, jackets, T-shirts, dresses, and pajamas? If you prioritize comfort in transit, it’s time to revamp your travel wardrobe to ensure every trip is a cozy one. Lucky for you, we editors at Travel + Leisure rounded up a few of our favorite comfy clothing items we always wear on the road and in the sky.

From impossibly soft lounge sets to what we believe are the world’s comfiest jeans, we’ve combed our closets for those few items we tend to wear every time we travel. Our list includes favorites from Lululemon, Patagonia, Lilly Pulitzer, and more, so whether you prefer to travel in loose-fitting loungewear or more compressive clothing, you’re sure to find something you love below.

lululemon Define Jacket Luon
PHOTO: lululemon

We’ve all been on a flight that’s chilly enough for some extra layers but too warm for a heavy coat or sweatshirt. That’s why we always pack this comfy, light jacket in our carry-on. Not only is it incredibly sleek and stylish thanks to its slim fit, but it’s also super soft, stretchy, breathable, and easy to move in. The sleeves even feature thumbholes and “cuffins” (cuffs that can be folded over your hands) for added warmth. Snag the Define Jacket Luon in eight sizes and five shades including espresso and bone.

“This jacket is essentially my plane uniform — I wear it every single time I fly,” editor Sophie Mendel said. “It’s comfy but keeps me looking put-together, plus I can wear it with leggings and sneakers for a super functional, comfortable, and cute transit ‘fit. It also has two zippered pockets which are extra-convenient during travel.”

Calia Women's Inspire High Rise 7/8 Legging
PHOTO: Dick’s Sporting Goods

Flying in compression leggings is wise, especially for long-haul flights, but some compression leggings tend to squeeze you uncomfortably. That’s never a problem with Calia’s Inspire High Rise 7/8 leggings, though. Boasting subtle compression that molds to your body, the leggings are sure to remain comfy and breathable without sliding down or sagging. They even have unique seam lines that strategically accentuate your curves — though, admittedly,  this is more noticeable in some colors than others. To top it off, we love the way they feel to the touch.

“These Calia leggings are without a doubt the softest pair I own,” associate editor Hillary Maglin said. “I’ve worn them for everything from yoga classes to grocery runs to a recent 12-hour travel day, and I’ve remained comfy through it all. The leggings are thick without hindering mobility, and they’re compressive without digging into my stomach (something I can’t stand). It also doesn’t hurt that they have subtle side pockets large enough for my phone. Though I have plenty of black leggings in my wardrobe, I find myself reaching for these ones again and again.”

Commes Des Garçons Play x Converse Chuck Taylor Hidden Heart Low Top Sneakers
PHOTO: Nordstorm

It’s true: Converse never goes out of style. Conveniently, the sleek sneakers tend to last forever, too, so consider copping a pair of the Converse x Comme des Garçons Play Chuck 70s. They feature the typical silhouette of the brand’s low tops, plus they come in white or black. No matter which color you choose, this particular style also boasts the Comme des Garçons red heart and eyes logo on the side. You can snag these in women’s sizes 5 to 15 and men’s sizes 3 to 13.

“This is my go-to travel shoe because it’s comfortable but also dressy enough that I can wear it throughout my trip when I want an elevated sneaker look,” travel editor Susmita Baral said.

Paka Men's Apu Lightweight Puffer
PHOTO: Paka

One of our most important tips for traveling in comfort? Dress to avoid freezing or overheating. With this lightweight men’s puffer from Paka, regulating your body temperature is easy. It’s so slim that it looks more like a zip-up hoodie than a puffer, but its hidden layers and insulation efficiently lock in warmth. Even if you choose not to wear it in transit, you can effortlessly pack it down into a bag or suitcase.

“This puffer jacket has the warmth of a parka but not the bulkiness, which makes it the perfect outerwear to bring while traveling,” writer Anna Popp said. “It can fit in a suitcase easily and it’s also perfectly cozy and warm to wear on an airplane if you need to save extra space. I love that it looks nice while going out in the city on a snowy day, but that it’s also designed to be worn for sportier occasions like skiing, hiking, climbing, or running.”

J.McLaughlin Lowden Jeans
PHOTO: J.McLaughlin

Nobody expects there to be comfortable jeans for travel. We thought so, too, until we got our hands on J.McLaughlin’s Lowden jeans. The stretchy cotton denim feels more like a soft pair of leggings, and even after long-haul flights, we never felt restricted or uncomfortable in them. The jeans feature a wide-leg slim fit for added mobility and a high waist for comfort and confidence on and off the plane.

“I never thought I would be a jeans person for airplanes but after wearing these on a cross-country flight, I’m a big fan now,” said Popp. “These jeans are super stretchy and roomy, so if (and when) I get bloated while traveling, the high-waist fabric doesn’t dig into my stomach or cause me any discomfort. They also look super cute and stylish and can be styled with many different outfits, so I’ve officially added these jeans to my travel wardrobe for every trip.”

Patagonia Women's Nano Puff® Jacket
PHOTO: Patagonia

We’re adamant that Patagonia’s Nano Puff is the jacket every traveling woman needs in her wardrobe. It’s lightweight, packable, durable, stylish, warm, windproof, water-resistant — need we go on? Some of our favorite extras are a drawstring hemline to seal in heat and hidden internal pockets. On top of all its functional features, it also comes in sizes ranging from XXS to XXL and 11 colors including buckhorn green, chilled blue, and sandy melon.

“When it comes to packable jackets for women, this one from Patagonia is the best option for virtually any trip,” Popp said. “The design is simple but very functional, and I love being able to wear it for any season. In the winter, it’s thin enough to layer for more warmth, but I can wear it as-is during summer camping trips. My outdoor-adventuring family all own Nano puff jackets and they still look as good as new, so I love that they’re built to last – possibly forever – in my opinion.”

Rag & Bone Miramar Jogger
PHOTO: Rag & Bone

These joggers are so stylish, you’d never guess they’re also comfy as can be. Don’t let their denim appearance fool you — they’re actually made of soft cotton terry that provides stellar mobility and comfort. Over the legging look for travel? Throw these on instead, and pair them with a pair of boots or walking shoes, a bodysuit, and a moto jacket for an effortlessly cool look you don’t even have to change out of once you reach your destination.

“These Rag & Bone joggers are simply the best for travel,” editor-in-chief Jacqui Gifford said. “I call them ‘faux’ jeans; the fabric looks like it’s a regular old pair of denim, but surprise — they have the softness and ease of a pair of sweats. Ideal for a plane ride or even a long day out on a tour, these are the ultimate pants that blend function, form, and style.”

Forme Power Bra
PHOTO: Forme

In need of a comfy new bra to keep everything in place on your next journey? Our editors (and a certain blonde popstar) are all about the Forme Power Bra. It’s comfy, cute, compressive, and most impressively, designed to zap bad posture. The wide straps take pressure off your shoulders and back, while the comfortable fit promotes proper body alignment, quick recovery, and overall health. We even love all seven colors it comes in — especially rosé and ecru.

“As a bra-needer and someone who really shouldn’t be traveling without one, I absolutely hate wearing something bulky while I fly,” associate photo editor Alessandra Amodio said. “My go-to is the Forme Power Bra. Not only is it incredibly comfortable and made of high-quality material, but it’s actually FDA-registered to correct posture and improve your body alignment. Now I fly comfortably and my neck, shoulders and back feel so much better. I just throw on a cute open button down, pair it with the Ergo Shorts or Sculpt+ Leggings, and look chic and put-together while traveling. (This is also what Taylor Swift wore in her Eras Tour rehearsals according to a photo from her Time Person of the Year profile — if it’s good enough for Taylor, it’s good enough for me.)”

Circus by Sam Edelman Zuri Strap Ballet Flat
PHOTO: Circus by Sam Edelman

We love that ballet flats are back — and this strappy style demands to be worn. The low heel and soft interior make them a great, pain-free option for travel while cross straps, buckles, and tiny beaded bows keep things stylish. They come in 11 sizes including half sizes, and 15 unique colors and prints. We recommend the shades dark French macaroon, light wash, and the leopard-printed beige brown.

“Even though you’d think flats would always be a comfortable shoe option, it’s actually surprisingly difficult to find flats that don’t dig into your feet or make your toes all sweaty,” testing editor Jackie Cucco said. “I’ve tried so many pairs that seem comfortable at first, but end up being too rigid and irritating by the end of the day. This is the first pair I’ve found that is soft enough to wear all day long, either with or without socks or tights. They feel like slippers, and they come in more than a dozen colors to match any vibe.”

Black Diamond Notion Pants
PHOTO: Black Diamond

Whether you’re headed to the airport, the trails, or even the gym, the Black Diamond men’s Notion Pants are your best bet for comfort and mobility. Designed with an elastic waist, a drawstring cord, and a loose fit, these pants feel almost like wearing your favorite pair of sweatpants. However, their slim appearance complete with two hand pockets and two rear pockets make them dapper enough to wear to dinner, a show, or even the office. Grab them in a neutral hue like ash or tundra, or opt for a more eye-catching shade like raging sea or burnt Sienna.

“You don’t have to be an Alex Honnold–level rock climber to love these super-soft pants,” news director Paul Brady said. “They’re comfortable enough for long-haul flights, even in coach, but they’ve still got a crisp silhouette to keep you looking put-together.”

Lilly Pulitzer Seaview Top & Deri Palazzo Pant Linen Set
PHOTO: Lilly Pulitzer

You can’t go wrong with Lilly Pulitzer, especially when it comes to jetsetting. This breathable, lightweight linen set from the brand is just as soft and cozy as it is cute, so we recommend adding it to your travel wardrobe immediately. The classic, collared button-down is super versatile thanks to cuffable sleeves and a tieable bottom — plus you can turn it into a jacket or cover-up by layering it unbuttoned over literally any other outfit. Snag the ultra-flattering matching pants to complete the look.

“I think the most versatile item to pack on a warm-weather vacay is a white linen button down, and this roomy one from Lilly Pulitzer is good enough to also grab in other colors like spearmint and mulberry,” associate editorial director Morgan Ashley Parker said. “I’ve worn it unbuttoned over a swimsuit and then slipped on matching palazzo pants — with an irresistible elasticized waist — for dinner alfresco. I personally love the all-white combo for warmer climates but the New Yorker in me would also recommend grabbing the coordinating onyx x onyx set if you can catch it in stock.”

AirEssentials Wide Leg Pants
PHOTO: Nordstrom

There are few things softer than Spanx Air Essentials’ Wide Leg Pants. They feel similar to the brand’s sleek and smoothing leggings and shapewear, but they have a relaxed fit rather than a super compressive one. While the pants could certainly be worn as loungewear, they’re also fashionable enough to wear to the airport, a coffee shop, or on an errand run. Though they fit and even look a bit like sweatpants, figure-enhancing contouring on the rear differentiates them from your typical comfy clothing.

“It’s impossible to find a better material than Spanx AirEssentials,” Parker said. “All pieces feel silky to the touch, hefty enough for a chilly plane cabin, and pretty much impossible to wrinkle. I’m super into wide-leg styles — and need this exact petite option for my 5′ 3″ frame — and these pants are pretty much a given on my long flights nowadays. Personally, I love the olive-y palm color as an alternative to black or navy, so my only real choice is whether to match them with a crew neck or a sleek half zip instead.”

Pitusa Pima Abaya
PHOTO: Pitusa

If your ideal wardrobe staple is a do-it-all piece, look no further than Pitusa’s Pima Abaya. The cozy caftan is perfect for everything from international flights to pool days to bedtime. That’s thanks to impossibly soft cotton construction, oversized sleeves, and an airy, relaxed fit. There are no buttons, snaps, or drawstrings on this piece, so you’ll never have to worry about uncomfortable digging or fussing with it in order for it to fit right. You can customize your fit upon buying, though, and you can even choose from 15 colors.

“I joke about my ideal wardrobe consisting of a caftan in every color and this floor-length maxi fits perfectly into that vibe,” Parker said. “It can serve as a dress, cover-up, nightgown — pretty much anything, all day, every day in a tropical climate. The lightweight pima cotton is incredibly soft, too, and it comes in petite, standard, and tall options to reduce tailoring needs. I like this exact one because it’s not so sheer that I wouldn’t wear it out to dinner or on the plane but if you’re looking for more of a peekaboo style, you can get the same cut in a burnout fabric instead.”

Mar Soreli Ginger Mary Jane
PHOTO: Mar Soreli

Looking to travel in comfort without sacrificing style? Check out the Ginger Mary Janes by Mar Soreli. Everything from the insole to the strap is ultra-soft and cushioned, plus the buckle and strap are easy to tighten and loosen for a custom fit — or for quickly taking on and off at TSA. They’re even soft to the touch thanks to velvet uppers, and they’re versatile enough to wear with leggings, skirts, dresses, and jeans.

“If you’re someone who wishes slippers were appropriate outdoor shoes, these ballet flats are the next best thing,” Parker said. “The velvet is so cozy but still looks great with anything from plane leggings to a nicer skirt on a night out, with or without socks or tights. And, if you do want to wear them through security (and don’t have TSA PreCheck®), each strap actually has a snap in addition to the buckle adjustment so they’re incredibly quick to slip on and off as needed.”

Allbirds Men's Wool Runners
PHOTO: Allbirds

Allbirds shoes were basically made for travel, and the Men’s Wool Runners are some of our absolute favorites. The inside is actually lined with fine merino wool, making for soft and warm-yet-breathable wear no matter the time of the year. On top of that, the sneakers are equipped with reliable arch support and machine washable fabric. While we wouldn’t recommend them for running, they’re the perfect comfy shoes for pretty much everything else, including walking, hiking, and navigating the airport.

“My husband swears by these comfortable men’s walking shoes so much that I ordered a pair of the women’s version for myself,” senior editor Kayla Becker said. “And they really deliver. We both love the thick, foamy cushion that keeps our feet supported on long travel days, and they’ve stood up to everything from 20,000-step jaunts in Iceland to hiking Diamond Head in Hawaii.”

Aday Turn It Up Pants
PHOTO: Aday

Tapered trousers are office staples — so if you’re traveling for business, we suggest adding a pair or two of the Aday Turn It Up Pants to your wardrobe. They’re the goes-with-everything piece you’ve been looking for, and their soft, tailored stretch paired with an elastic waistband makes them comfy enough to catch a flight in. The ankle-length pants have a pocket at each hip and are available in a dozen colors.

“As soon as I found these sleek, wrinkle-free travel pants, they became a permanent part of my travel uniform (and I’ve even written about how all the travel editors I know have them),” Becker said. “They’re not only super comfortable for long-haul flights (I just flew 14 hours in them and felt like I was wearing pajamas), but they also look put-together right off the plane, whether I’m headed to the office or a walking tour. I’d wear them literally anywhere.”

Saucony Endorphin Speed 4
PHOTO: Saucony

If you’re the type of traveler that likes to workout on the road, Saucony’s Endorphin Speed 4 is the versatile sneaker for you. Not only is it an ideal comfy running shoe, but it’s also lightweight and sleek enough to wear for every other part of your journey, too. Whether you wear it on the plane or to sightsee once you arrive at your destination, you’ll always feel supported in the Speed 4. Choose from five eye-catching colorways and 15 sizes including half-sizes.

“I’ve been training for the London Marathon, and since I started wearing these sneakers, I haven’t had a single ounce of pain in my feet, even on long runs,” senior editorial director Nina Ruggiero said. “They are extremely cushioned yet so lightweight. Even after the race is done, I imagine I might be wearing them on the long flight home to LA.”

Fundamental Coast Shorebreak Hoodie
PHOTO: Fundamental Coast

To make the most of the space in your suitcase, you’ll want to prioritize versatile pieces that can do it all. That’s why we love the Fundamental Coast Shorebreak Hoodie so much. It’s perfect for travel days and morning walks near your hotel, but it’s also elevated enough to wear to a cafe, museum, or shops around town. The pullover hoodie has a front pocket, drawstring hood, and slim fit for a more put-together appearance. Grab it in phantom black or storm, which both have a beachy, heathered texture.

“Fundamental Coast has perfected Southern California athleisure, especially for men, and my fiancé lives in the brand’s hoodies, shorts, vests, and polos,” Ruggiero said. “The Shorebreak hoodie is especially soft and sleek and works well whether we’re out doing something active or going to brunch at a new spot in our beachy LA neighborhood.”

Vuori Cove Funnel Neck Tank
PHOTO: Vuori

This high-necked tank top is so stylish, you’d never guess it’s also comfy enough for exercise, stretching out on a plane, or even napping. Crafted with a soft and stretchy rayon-elastane fabric blend, this top never digs into the skin or feels uncomfortably tight around the neck. While it’s not quite cropped, it’s not too long, either, so it’s likely to complement a variety of bodies and ensembles.

“This super-soft rib knit tank is my go-to running top, but the high neck also gives it some style (in addition to protecting my most sensitive areas from the sun),” Ruggiero said. “I have it in multiple colors, and I’ve definitely worn the black and tan ones out with friends at night, too.”

Vuori Echo Insulated Vest
PHOTO: Vuori

A reliable vest is essential for travelers — it locks in warmth without causing you to overheat, and it couldn’t be easier to zip on and off. We’re big fans of this one from Vuori for its insulation, water resistance, and easy cleaning. It has zip pockets for your hands or small items, and a subtle collar keeps heat from escaping while allowing your neck total range of motion, irritation-free. To top it off, the vest comes in two stylish shades.

“This lightweight but warm insulated vest has quickly become one of my fiancé’s favorite items of clothing,” Ruggiero said. “He wears it on dog walks, weekends, and travel days — it even has pockets.”

Reef Men's Swellsole Cutback Sneaker
PHOTO: Amazon

It’s no secret that Reef is one of the most trusted rugged shoe brands around, so when it released boat shoes, we were intrigued. It turns out Reef’s boat shoes are just as comfy and long-lasting as the sandals we know and love. The men’s Swellsole Cutback Sneakers are the perfect fusion of classic boat shoes and cushioned sneakers, and they’re perfect for beachy vacations. Wear them from the dock straight to dinner — then keep them on for a busy night of exploring the boardwalk.

“I always thought of Reef for flip-flops, but since my fiancé found their hybrid boat shoes/sneakers, he’s bought them in at least three colors,” Ruggiero said. “They’re supportive thanks to memory foam, and can be dressed up or down.”

Public Rec All Day Pants
PHOTO: Public Rec

Odds are, you’ve seen these popular pants everywhere from the office to the coffee shop to the airport. That’s because their straight-leg fit and stretchy nylon-spandex fabric move with you rather than tightly confining your waist and legs like other styles. But don’t let their uber-soft texture fool you — these pants are still equipped with two front pockets, two faux back pockets, belt loops, and a zipper fly, so you’ll look and feel just as sophisticated as you are comfortable when you wear these.

“The slacks feel almost like loungewear thanks to their soft nylon-spandex blend,” editor Taylor Fox said. “They’re the perfect balance of comfort and style for long flights where you don’t want to feel cramped into tight pants, but want to still look put-together when you land. They can also be dressed up or dressed down for added versatility no matter what you have on the agenda.”

ManMade Boxers and T-shirt Bundle
PHOTO: ManMade Brand

One can never have too many basics, and we love this three-piece pack from ManMade. Each set comes with two pairs of black boxer briefs and one white T-shirt. Made of high-quality modal, spandex, and Pima cotton, the briefs and tee are guaranteed to remain soft, breathable, moisture-wicking, and anti-chafing through everything — even long-haul flights and airport sprints. To ensure your comfort, the bundle comes in six sizes ranging from small to 3XL.

“My husband packs about a dozen pairs of boxers and undershirts for a weeklong trip and his absolute favorites come from ManMade,” Fox said. “They’re lightweight and breathable with a buttery soft material that doesn’t add a bulky layer under clothing. All of their items contain the perfect amount of stretch as well without allowing the clothing to ride up or bunch in uncomfortable places whether he’s hiking, riding his bike, or preparing for a long flight.”

The Mate Organic Waffle Knit Joggers
PHOTO: The Mate

There’s something so luxurious about a good waffle weave. Designed with a relaxed fit and buttery soft texture, these Organic Waffle Knit Joggers by Mate are no exception. They’re made of 100 percent organic cotton, crafted with elastic at the waist and ankles, and equipped with one pocket on the back right side. The cozy joggers come in four neutral colors (jet black, bone, lilac, and bark) and five sizes. You can also drop the matching Organic Waffle Long Sleeve Shirt in your cart to complete the look.

“If I could replace all of my joggers with these comfortable, waffle-knit pants I would,” writer Ali Domrongchai said. “They have the perfect amount of stretch that lends itself well to long travel days, and thanks to its textured design, they not only feel good, but look good, too. In fact, since I’ve been wearing these cozy knit joggers, a few of my friends have snagged a pair as well because of how much I rave about them.”

Tips for Buying Comfortable Travel Clothes

Consider the material

When traveling, it’s important to choose clothing that’s as comfortable and low-maintenance as possible. That said, we recommend clothes made of soft, sweat-wicking, and breathable fabrics such as cotton, polyester, linen, or wool. It’s also wise to opt for wrinkle-resistant materials like nylon and spandex to keep you looking fresh and put-together.

Look for travel features

Though it may feel unnecessary, we guarantee you’ll end up thanking yourself for buying pants, dresses, and bags with lots of extra pockets. Additionally, temperature-regulating clothes can come in pretty handy when you’re on the road — so consider adding clothing with cooling capabilities (or just clothes made of linen, nylon, or polyester) to your travel wardrobe.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What materials are most breathable?

    The most breathable clothing is made of materials like cotton, linen, nylon, polyester, merino wool, and silk. Though fabrics like spandex, fleece, and denim have plenty of benefits, they’re not quite as breathable.

  • What types of clothes are best to travel in?

    Generally soft, stretchy, and loose-fitting clothing is best for travel, as it’ll keep you comfy and won’t feel restrictive on long flights or drives. Some people may also opt for compressive clothing, like leggings or compression socks, which helps promote circulation on long travel days. You may also want to choose clothing you know to be breathable so you don’t overheat.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this article, associate commerce editor Hillary Maglin collaborated with other members of the T+L team to conclude which clothing that we’ve personally used is the most comfortable for travel days. Hillary travels by plane and car several times a year and is obsessed with soft and slouchy pieces to keep her comfy on her journeys.

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