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When you’re heading out on the road, you want to make sure that you’re as comfortable as possible —and as many women know, underwear plays a huge role in this. If you’re hopping on a transcontinental flight, embarking on a hiking holiday, or simply want underwear you can wear and dispose of rather than tote around, having the right style in the appropriate material can often make a big difference.
Travel underwear is made to be more breathable (the better for avoiding odors) and quicker to dry than your standard cotton underwear—both extremely helpful features when it comes to long days of travel. Whether you’re looking for a multipack to buy once and last the whole trip or a pair for that’s a little less sporty and a little more lacey, we’ve got you covered.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: ExOfficio Women’s Give-and-Go Sport Mesh Bikini Briefs
These bikini-cut underwear are beloved by female travelers for a few reasons. They're not just one of the prettiest available pairs of travel underwear—with bright colors easy to spot in the depths of a backpack—but they’re also one of the most comfortable. Thanks to their moisture-wicking, pointelle mesh construction, this pair offers excellent breathability and quick drying time—plus, each pair gets an antimicrobial treatment to help reduce odors. Users report that they don’t ride up or chafe, which is the last thing you want on the road. The fabric is so easy to wash and fast to dry that the company says you’ll only need to bring two on a trip—just keep in mind that if you throw them in the dryer, they might shrink a bit. The underwear come in an array of both muted and bold colors as well as other cuts, like "hipkini."
Best Budget: Under Armour Women’s Pure Stretch Hipster
With 13 cheerful colors to choose from—a rare find for travel and sports underwear—Under Armour’s Pure Stretch Hipsters are cheaper than what you might expect for such a well-regarded brand. But rest assured, they deliver on the quality the company is known for. The stretch hipsters are incredibly thin and seamless (the edges are laser-cut instead), making them easy to tuck into tight corners in a pack and, when worn, they fit like a second skin. Interestingly for this type of underwear, they do have a cotton gusset—which, while not great for odor, is a plus for women who want all the benefits of travel underwear but also prefer cotton for comfort reasons. They can ride up a bit, due to the pairs’ high-cut legs, but they offer a great range of motion and are great for casual wear while sightseeing or sitting on a long-haul flight.
Best for Hiking: Smartwool Merino 150 Bikini
If you thought wool underwear were a relic of your grandma’s generation, think again: Smartwool, the genius company behind many of the best layer-based activewear items out there, has come through with a lightweight pair of bikini briefs that are great for day hikes and camping. They’re made from super-soft, high-quality merino wool, which is naturally odor-resistant, and they’re very lightweight at just .7 ounces. The only complaint reviewers note is that the waistband isn’t the stretchiest— so it can be a little difficult to get them on, especially in a cramped space like a small hostel room. They’re easy to take care of on the road, though. With a light breeze and humidity, they’ll take about 45 minutes to an hour to dry after hand-washing—nearly twice as fast as the competition.
Best Organic: Boody Organic Bamboo EcoWear Boyshorts
These comfy boyshorts aren’t just wallet friendly at less than $10 a pop, but they’re eco-friendly, too. Each pair of Boody Organic Bamboo EcoWear Boyshorts is made from 80-percent rayon that comes from organically grown bamboo, plus a bit of nylon and a dash of spandex for a comfortable, stretchy fit.
Bamboo is naturally cooling and breathable, so you get all the benefits of high-tech travel underwear without the synthetic stuff. Another major bonus? We love that this pair actually comes in a series of nudes for a variety of skin tones, as well as a black and white pair. The boyshorts sit close to the skin, with a mid-rise, wide waistband that’s equally comfortable under yoga leggings as it is under a summer dress. They’re moisture-wicking and thermo-regulating, meaning they’re cool in the summer and warm in the winter, so things stay dry and comfy down there no matter the time of year. They run a little small, so order up a size if you’re unsure.
Best Lacy: ExOfficio Give-n-Go Lacy Travel Underwear
If you love the idea of travel underwear but find that they tend to be a little too sporty or a little too drab, ExOfficio makes a lacy pair that’s exactly what you’re looking for. Their Give-n-Go low-rise bikini has a lace waistband for a flat fit under tighter clothing, and it comes in both fun and practical color options.
Like the rest of their excellent Give-n-Go line, ExOfficio has treated these with Aegis Microbe Shield to help reduce odor after a long day of wear, and they’re incredibly breathable and easy to dry (you could bring just two pairs if you’re really pressed for space). Unfortunately, not having a cotton gusset isn’t great if you’re wearing a pad or pantyliner, but we love that these are packable enough that if you need to bring a different pair or two along, you’ll still have more than enough space. They also come in a thong style.
Best with Pockets: Clever Travel Companion Underwear
With pockets large enough to hold a passport or phone—or even your keys—these comfy boy shorts from Clever Travel Companion virtually double as a money belt without the awkward bulge around the middle (the company bills them as pickpocket-proof and loss-proof). They’re made from 95 percent cotton and 5 percent spandex, and come in black, gray, pink, and white, so there’s some variety when you’re on the go. They sit a little higher up on the waist than you might expect, with the passport pocket sitting under the belly button. The pockets are secured with zippers to keep valuables extra-safe—but don’t worry, they’re designed not to set off alarms at airport security. This underwear is easy to care for on the road, too — just hand-wash them in your hostel or hotel room sink and let them dry. Thanks to the fabric’s durability, you’ll be able to use these trip after trip or festival after festival.
Best Multipack: Areke Women’s Low-Rise Bikini Underwear
These highly comfortable and affordable bikini briefs from Areke come in a variety of configurations, from a three-pack in black and white to six-packs in assortments of jewel and contrast tones. Made from 92 percent nylon with 8 percent spandex, the soft, stretchy material is also extremely breathable—and they dry super-quickly too. These do have a slightly relaxed fit, which we like for long plane rides and low-key excursions around a new city.
Areke bills their low-rise bikini as seamless, but they’re not quite seamless in the sense that most people think. The material is joined just below the hip bone, and there’s also a raised edge along the leg opening. Users say that they’re durable and hold up while traveling without losing elasticity, so in terms of value for money, this is a great pack of travel underwear.
Best Thong: Icebreaker Siren Thong Travel Underwear
Thongs are definitely one of the more divisive styles out there—and before you stop reading, this style also comes in a low-slung bikini cut—but they’re handy if you’re trying to be extra-sure you’re avoiding panty lines. We love Icebreaker’s version, which comes in six great colors and is great for both warmer and colder climates. Its unique construction all but ensures comfort: Icebreaker has wrapped merino wool fibers around a nylon core to make an extra-durable material that will hold up trip after trip, while still retaining the softness and breathability that’s naturally found in merino wool.
This pair works great whether you’re hiking in a rainforest or want something inconspicuous for under a sweater dress, and they’re comfortable, too, thanks to side seams that have been moved forward and a bulk-free design that helps to reduce potential chafing. They dry quickly, too: It only takes about an hour to hang-dry them. Just avoid throwing them in the dryer as they'll definitely shrink.
Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular women's travel underwear on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 30 different pairs, screened options from 20 different brands and manufacturers, and read over 50 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.