No matter how you’re getting to your next destination—by plane, train, or a good ol’ fashioned road trip—comfortable travel pants are a must. The last thing you need to be worrying about while packing for a trip is whether your pants will cut into your waist as you’re scrolling through a flight’s movie options.
Instead, opt for pants made from stretchy and sweat-wicking fabrics, perhaps with an elastic waist, that you can easily wear all day. You’ll feel comfortable, look put together, and arrive at your destination in elegant style—no readjusting necessary.
We turned to two travel pros, supermodel Coco Rocha and lifestyle author Kat Jamieson, for their expertise and then narrowed down the 10 best travel pants. Scroll on for joggers, leggings, and trousers of all styles that’ll have you adding a pair of pants (or two) and a flight (or two) to your online cart.
Best Overall: C by Bloomingdales Cashmere Jogger Pants
These cashmere beauties not only top our list but Jamieson’s, too—so much so that she owns them in three colors. (Good luck narrowing down your favorite hue.) “They’re sleek and make me feel put together when I travel,” she says. Plus, since they’re made out of ultra-fine and ultra-soft cashmere, they’re ideal for anyone who gets chilly while traveling on a plane without the risk of overheating. Not only are they ideal for flights, says Jamieson, but for road trips and running errands too. They’re—dare we say it?—perfect.
Price at Time of Publish: $198
Fabric: Cashmere | Sizes: XS - XXL | Number of pockets: Two
Best Budget: Uniqlo Ultra Stretch High-Rise Leggings Pants
When shopping for basics on a budget, Uniqlo is our browser’s first stop. Currently in our cart is this pair of super stretchy pants with dry technology, ideal for traveling. Are they leggings? Are they pants? They’re both, and when you pair them with an oversized sweater, which you’ll need to combat a cold flight, these pants create a base for an easy outfit you can wear all day.
Price at Time of Publish: $40
Fabric: 53% cotton, 32% polyester, 15% spandex | Sizes: XXS - XXL | Number of pockets: Four
Best Splurge: Jenni Kayne Marina Culottes
There’s no denying that these soft-as-can-be culottes from Jenni Kayne are an investment. However, they’re equally as chic, and they are comfortable, making them a dream to wear for traveling. Pair these with a tone-on-tone turtleneck, and you’ll feel ultra-elegant, even if you’re just popping back to your hometown for the holidays.
Price at Time of Publish: $275
Fabric: 59% polyamide, 23% viscose, 10% merino wool, 5% cashmere, 3% elastane | Sizes: XS - XXL | Number of pockets: Zero
Best for Work: Anywhere Apparel Tencel Travel Pant
When traveling for work, you gotta look as sharp as you feel. That’s where these Anywhere Apparel pants come in handy. Since they’re made with 100 percent Tencel, these trousers are breathable, odor-resistant, durable, sustainable, and oh-so-soft. They’re just as versatile in look, too, since the snap at the ankles allows for either a tapered shape or a wide-leg one, and the partial elastic waist with snap tabs can be adjusted to provide a high-waist or mid-ride look. These travel-friendly pants are almost as smart as you are.
Price at Time of Publish: $175
Fabric: 100% tencel | Sizes: 0 - 16 | Number of pockets: Five
Best Joggers: Lunya Silksweats Jogger
These Lunya joggers aren’t just any pair of joggers. Think joggers as upscale sweatpants, made with a thermoregulating cotton blend that’s not only crazy soft but will keep you just warm enough (but not too warm) on a flight, too. The high-rise fit—with an adjustable waist drawstring, so you can adjust as needed—and tapered ankles are flattering, too, so you can feel put together while wearing the comfiest, coziest joggers.
Price at Time of Publish: $198
Fabric: 80% cotton, 14% tencel modal, 6% silk | Sizes: XS - XL | Number of pockets: Three
Most Pockets: Banana Republic Performance Cargo Pant
“As a mom who needs her hands free as much as possible while traveling, cargo pants are a literal lifesaver,” says Rocha. These Banana Republic cargo pants top her list. And for good reason: They’re made with a water- and wrinkle-resistant fabric and fitted, tapered details, including the adjustable ankle.
“Each pocket is designated for one of my three kids, and I try to leave one for myself,” she says. “The pants have to fit iPhones, passports, chargers, and pacifiers perfectly and securely. Sometimes I feel like Mary Poppins with the number of things I have tucked away.”
Price at Time of Publish: $100
Fabric: 100% polyester | Sizes: XXS - XXL | Number of pockets: Six
Best Leggings: Adidas DESIGNED TO MOVE HIGH-RISE 3-STRIPES 7/8 SPORT TIGHTS (PLUS SIZE)
On one hand, the comfort of wearing leggings is unparalleled. On the other, you don’t want to wander around an airport terminal feeling like your behind is hanging out and drawing too much attention. The happy medium? These sport tights from Adidas provide full coverage along with full stretchiness. Throw on a crewneck sweatshirt, and voila! Airport outfit decided.
Price at Time of Publish: $50
Fabric: 89% recycled polyester, 11% elastane interlock | Sizes: XXS - 2XL | Number of pockets: Zero
Best Technical: Topo Designs Lightweight Tech Pants
Whether you’re getting on a flight or getting outside, these lightweight, four-way stretch pants perform well in any environment. Built with double-needle stitched stretch polyester, a soft cord adjustment at the hem and waist, multiple zippered pockets to stash your essentials, and a high-level DWR (durable water-resistant) finish, these travel-friendly pants offer it all—style, stretch, comfort, and functionality.
Price at Time of Publish: $109
Fabric: 100% polyester | Sizes: XS - XL | Number of pockets: Four
Best Compression: Girlfriend Collective Compressive High-Rise Legging
For anyone with a history of varicose veins or blood clots, compression socks and leggings are a must-have travel companion. These high-rise leggings provide all of the pressure you need to keep your circulation moving as well as four-way stretch for movements of all kinds, whether a high-impact cardio class or revving up yet another movie on a long flight. The fact that they come in fun colors and a wide range of inclusive sizes? All the better.
Price at Time of Publish: $78
Fabric: 79% recycled plastic bottles, 21% spandex | Sizes: XXS - 6XL | Number of pockets: One
Best Elastic Waist: Athleta Brooklyn Ankle Pants
The elastic waist on these stretchy, stylish travel pants makes sitting for long stretches feel like no big deal. So does their wrinkle-resistant and quick-drying material, back pockets with secure zipper closures, and lightweight feel too. Perhaps best of all, you can walk off the plane and head straight to a casual business lunch or meeting feeling fully confident that you look put together.
Price at Time of Publish: $99
Fabric: Recycled polyester/spandex | Sizes: 00 - 26 | Number of pockets: Four
Meet the Expert
What to Look for in Travel Pants
A Stretchy Material
Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or automobile, whatever you’re wearing should be comfortable enough to sit in for long periods of time. That’s where materials like spandex, elastane, and nylon really shine. When your pants have some stretch to them, you can indulge in that second bloody Mary in the airport lounge without worrying about thick denim cutting into your waist as you cross the Atlantic.
When you’re traveling, it’s best to keep your essentials—your phone, credit cards, a baby’s pacifier—close by, preferably in a pocket. Throw on a pair of travel pants with multiple pockets, and you’ll always know where your must-haves are without having to dig under the seat in front of you or rummage through the overhead compartments. If the pockets zipper or if the pants include a hidden pocket, all the better.
Are joggers good for travel?
Both Rocha and Jamieson agree: Yes. Not only are joggers convenient to throw on since they feature an elastic waistband, but they’re a breeze to style. What about an oversized sweater layered over a bodysuit with a pair of slip-on sneakers? Joggers make you feel more stylish than a sloppy pair of sweatpants too.
“Joggers are so easy and comfortable to travel in, and today there are several styles that look put together and chic,” says Jamieson.
What should I wear on a long flight?
Whether you’re flying across the country or the world, to a different climate or a similar one, the key to a successful traveling outfit is layers, layers, and more layers. That way you can add or peel off an element to keep you as comfortable as possible. Jamieson, for instance, packs a chunky cashmere scarf that can act as a pillow in a pinch.
As for Rocha, she aims to be both comfortable and polished—a fine, fashionable line. “I grew up with a flight attendant mother who believed that you should always dress up for a flight,” she says. “In some ways, I feel the same, but I try to find a balance between style and comfort. You never know who you’ll see on the flight but who says being comfortable can’t be stylish as well!”
To nail her looks, Rocha opts for cozy and convenient. “I'm all about the oversized jacket, blazer, or sweater, which also doubles as a kids’ blanket or pillow on the flight,” she says. “I also think about shoes that are easy to slip on after taking them off in security but don’t look like slippers.”
Why Trust Byrdie
Full-time freelance writer Megan McCarty has been writing about the best of the best of fashion and design for over 15 years, and her work can be seen in InStyle, Domino, Architectural Digest, Bustle, and more. Often she works from various locations around the world, so she’s worn her fair share of travel pants and prides herself in having nailed the comfy chic airport dress code.