Stay Comfy & Look Good: The Best Travel-Ready Leggings

Megan Lee
“Pack light,” they said. “Carry on only,” they said. Easier said than done, right? Wrong. With travel leggings, you can pack plenty bottoms that are multi-functional, and never be without the perfect outfit. Streamline day to night looks, sign up for that yoga class, take a client out for a cocktail—the best travel leggings will be there for you every step of the way (and won’t take up a ton of space in your travel backpack!). Master carry on only travel and look good while doing it: travel leggings are your secret weapon.

What Makes Great Leggings?

Style & Color

Are you an ankle-length legging kind of girl, or do you prefer calf-length casual? Do you like to pair stirrup leggings with boots or running shoes? Know which cut looks good on you and run with it. Choose leggings in neutral colors that will pair well with multiple outfits.

Fabric

Above all, avoid see through leggings or pairs that rely too heavily on sheer fabrics. Play with different thickness and fabric weights to find leggings that highlight all of your best features.

Waistline

No muffin tops, please. Pick something with a waist that sits above, or just below, your natural waistline, depending on your figure. Try to find pairs that give your mid-section good coverage without cutting off your hip or making you look lumpy.

What do the Best Travel Leggings Have in Common?

Don’t Look Like Workout Gear

While you might be running to your gate for last call boarding, you’re probably not running marathons. Travel leggings should be more sleek and stylish than a typical exercise pant. Ideally, travel leggings blend with everyday clothes.

Climate-Friendly & Quick Dry

Choose travel leggings based on what keeps you cool (or warm) and the climate of your destination(s). If you tend to overheat on airplanes, don’t bust out your fleece lined winter warmers. In a perfect world, your travel leggings will work with a range of outfits in a variety of climates. For example—mesh accents are fun, but not great in cold weather. To that end, make sure your favorite travel leggings will dry quickly after laundry days so you don’t have to wait around too long to put your beloveds back on again.

Durability

When you’re on the go and looking fly, you don’t have time to worry about leggings that stretch out, pill, or become sheer. Invest in high quality brands now to avoid the troubles later. With leggings, you do tend to get what you pay for.

Pockets!

It might seem silly, but travel leggings with pockets just might be the secret to successful modern exploration. Keep your Airbnb key handy, your cell phone ready to snap your next great profile picture, or your wallet carefully zipped. For travel, leggings with pockets are a must.

Travel Leggings That Tick All (or most of) the Boxes

Who makes the best leggings for travelers? Read on and find out!

Best Travel Leggings for Long Haul Flights: Athleta’s Metro High Waisted Legging ($79)

It’s hard to compete with Athleta’s signature legging, described as, “Style made to give your jeans a day off with handy pockets, sweet seam lines and super stretchy fabric that supports your love of adventure.”  Leggings made for adventure? Yes please. These pants are wicking, rated UPF 50+, made of a signature Nylon/Lycra® Spandex blend, and feel lightweight. The high waist is comfortable well into hour 12 of your trans-Pacific flight and their compact nature makes them a breeze to roll up and add to your backpack once you land. These have a more athletic look, but can be dressed up into stylish and comfortable travel outfits for the airport and beyond. A reliable recipe includes a pull over or oversized cardigan to dress up the travel leggings look.

Best Leggings for Urban Travel: A Day’s Throw it Higher Leggings ($135)

A Day’s Throw it Higher Leggings are Tortuganaut Angela’s travel legging of choice—at 59% nylon, 41% elastane, these leggings are comfy, fit true to size, and have a stretch that hugs you in all the right places. Did we mention their utility is on point, too? Angela shares: “I can put my passport, phone, and wallet in the side pocket, making them super functional.  Designed to resist pilling and offer UV protection, they’re also quick drying and sweat wicking.  Yup, these are the travel leggings any lady strutting in a foreign city can feel good about. Pair ’em with a bomber or leather jacket and your favorite ankle boots and be ready to hit the town from day to night.

Best Leggings for Work & Travel: Eileen Fisher’s Stretch Ankle Leggings ($98)

Nordstrom’s Eileen Fisher knows how to take care of ladies on the move who refuse to sacrifice comfort. Step into your favorite pumps and nail your pitch for potential clients, then slip back into your sneakers and hit some local watering holes for the night. What’s more? You can keep the unwanted attention to a reasonable level because these are the best matte black leggings that are not see through. Material that is 92% viscose, 8% spandex, makes these leggings extra comfy, and they and maintain their shape nicely after multiple washes. For this reason alone, if work and travel are on your itinerary, pack a pair of Eileen Fisher’s in your carry on.

Best Travel Leggings for Digital Nomads: Alo Yoga’s High Waist Airbrush Legging ($82)

Digital nomads need travel leggings that can work in a variety of circumstances—overland travel, the occasional workout class, followed by a quick Skype meeting on-the-go. Wide waistbands allow an easy transition from functional exercise piece to cute coffee shop look. I love this pair’s glossy finish but know that others might be more excited by their various colors, patterns, and cuts—it’s really hard to go wrong with a brand as high quality as Alo Yoga’s. Even the company ethos is one to get behind, championing mindful movement and environmental awareness. At 81% Polyester and 19% Spandex, this travel leggings purchase is not one you will come to regret.

TL;DR

Your closet space is precious, and your backpack’s even more so. Invest in high quality travel-friendly leggings to maximize style without sacrificing comfort. Your travel leggings just might end up being your favorite companion when you’re far from home, so its essential you find the best travel leggings and get the pair that’s right for you. Scratch that—get the PAIRS that are right for you. Because one pair may never be enough… The best travel leggings are:

 

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