Last Updated on August 17, 2022 by Dawn Head
One of the most difficult parts of planning for a trip is figuring out what clothing to pack. You have limited space so you have to pack light. I wanted to find the best travel dresses that would be versatile enough to wear traveling and at home.
Dresses are great and easier to wear than skirts. With a dress, you won’t have to worry about finding a matching shirt. It’s often easier to change up the look with different accessories as well. Ideally, when traveling, you will be able to wear the dress multiple times.
What to look for in a travel dress?
- Still fits if you gain or lose 5 – 10 pounds
- Comfortable, fits well and has some “give”
- Fits with standard bras; bra straps don’t show
- Easy-to-pack and roll without wrinkling
- Easy to dress up or down for day to night
- Breathable material
- Matches at least two different styles of shoes — Sandals, low heels, high heels, sneakers, etc.
- Easy to match with jewelry, scarves, and/or wraps you already own
- Sun protection, cooling, wicking, water repellant – Depending on the activities you are participating in, this can be helpful
Also, it’s important to consider other factors such as if you want a t-shirt dress, maxi dress, wrap dress, or a convertible dress. Consider where you will be going and color as well. Perhaps you want a simple black dress.
Comfort is key! Above all, choose a comfortable one for travel. Oftentimes this is one with stretchy fabric. When you feel good wearing it, you’ll be excited about it.
Best Travel Dresses
1. Zalalus Women’s Summer Sleeveless Casual Swing Dress
This travel dress flatters most body types because it’s loose fitting and “flowy” in an A-line cut. The t-shirt material (it’s not thin) lends itself to all sorts of activities. It’s comfortable, flattering, has a nice drape, and is stylish. It comes to just above the knees which is a flattering length for most women of all ages.
It has a little bit of stretch and a nice loose fit. You can wear it as a cover-up to the beach, walk around town or through museums in the day, and add a scarf, sweater, wrap, or a statement necklace for dinner. This is the perfect cruise dress.
We also like that it looks good with sandals, flip flops, boots, and even heels. (It’s really cute with tights, boots and a sweater or cute jacket in the winter.) You can truly change up this dress to make it work for you. Depending on the colors you choose, it’s available in sizes small to XX large.
We found it true to size. We love the pockets. This is a sleeveless dress but it’s very easy to drape a wrap, scarf, or sweater over your shoulders. Also, if you gain or lose 5 – 15 pounds, this dress will fit.
The Zalalus is a great dress for travel, and it will be your summer staple. It packs easily. You can roll it up, and shake it out and won’t have to worry about wrinkles. It comes in solid, neutral, flattering colors — black, wine red, navy, darker green, and more. This is an easy, go-to dress you will want to wear on vacations and when you return home.
Long sleeve swing travel dress
Note, if you are looking for a long-sleeve swing dress, check out Toad&Co’s Daisy Rib Long Sleeve Swing Dress. It’s a flattering length and cut and comes in a variety of solids and patterns.
2. Karen Kane 3/4 Sleeve A-Line Dress
Karen Kane 3/4 Sleeve A-Line Dress is machine washable and is available in sizes XS – XL. It’s available in black only. Because of the cut and the scoop neck, it will most likely fit all bust sizes and will be easy to fit. Made of a rayon and Spandex blend, it is wrinkle resistant and has a bit of a stretch to it, making it very comfortable.
It’s great for cooler climates and air-conditioned restaurants because of its longer sleeves. This is one of the best travel dresses to dress up or down and also perfect for a cruise. I bought this dress for traveling but it has become my go-to for work as it’s easy to change necklaces or add a scarf to change the look. A statement necklace is easy to pack and can add a wow factor.
It looks good with sandals, flats, heels or black boots. It’s made in America too.
3. Toad&Co Rosalinda Jersey Knit Dress
The Toad&Co Rosalinda dress has three quarter length sleeves. There are so many colors and patterns, it will be difficult to choose which one to get. It’s machine washable and made with organic cotton, Tencel and Spandex.
This jersey knit travel dress is cut well. It is cut really well to flatter many body types. In addition, Tencel wicks moisture so it’s great for outdoor activities too. We like this brand’s commitment to considering the environment.
4. PrAna Amelie Dress
With a loose-fitting fabric, this prAna Amelie travel dress flatters most body types, from size small to extra large. It’s a modest cut. It’s not form-fitting in the waist but offers you a little bit of shape, more so than A-line styles.
The material is very soft. It is easy to dress up or down. You can easily wear this dress when traveling. You can wear it while sightseeing, hiking, being active in sporting activities, and shopping. It will look nice in restaurants for a casual brunch or dress it up for dinner with heels and a wrap, scarf, or necklace.
We love pretty much all dresses from PrAna. They are quality items and cut well. Because they come in standard sizes, it’s easy to get a great fit when ordering. PrAna is known for making some of the best travel dresses.
5. ExOfficio Sol Cool Dress
This versatile casual travel dress from ExOfficio is cute and sleeveless. You could wear it on the beach or put heels on, and go to a fancy restaurant. It comes in many different colors and patterns available which make it fun for traveling.
Plus, it wicks away moisture and has UPF protection of 50+. There’s even a small zippered security pocket on the right side. This dress is made from a blend of polyester and Spandex so it is easy to pack without wrinkling.
I own several pieces from ExOfficio, and they are all my go-to travel pieces. I also wear them around a lot when I’m home because they transition well from shopping and meeting out with friends.
Black travel dress
A black traveling dress is often a staple in women’s wardrobes. You can usually dress them up or down and wear them with flats, heels and boots. They work for business meetings as well as trips to museums and monuments. In addition to a black dress for travel, know that most solid dresses can work well too.
Choosing a travel dress in a solid pattern means when you are in pictures on different days, you won’t look like you are wearing the same thing every day! Look for dresses in which you can add a statement necklace, a scarf, or a wrap to change up the look.
Ideal black travel dresses or dresses in any solid pattern are also those that you feel comfortable in. These often include a tapered but not form-fitting waist. They should reach around the knees for a flattering length.
Maxi dresses for traveling
No matter where in the world you are traveling to, you’ll want to abide by the customs. For women, this may mean covering skin. Maxi dresses are perfect for this. Depending on if it has long sleeves, you will need to consider a wrap or jacket to cover your arms.
Maxi dresses can be flattering for all body types — personally, I think maxi dresses are more flattering than maxi skirts. This is because with the dress, it’s all one piece. It’s difficult to pair a maxi skirt with a top that flatters.
Maxi dresses come in many different styles. Many have a halter top while others come with short sleeves. Choosing one in a solid color or very small print will be more slimming than one in a print. Again, if you choose a solid, no matter the color, it will lend itself to more dress up opportunities. This can be ideal for fancy dinners out or dress up nights on a cruise.
Columbia has stylish and practical travel maxi dresses. One that comes to calf-height is Women’s Chill River Maxi Dress. The fabric is 89% Polyester and 11% Elastane which is made to cool and wick moisture away. It also has UPF 50 sun protection.
A longer maxi dress from Columbia is the PRF Freezer Maxi Dress. It is designed to reach the ankles. It offers wicking, cooling, and sun protection. Like their Chill River Maxi dress, the PRF Freezer Maxi is easy to wear with typical bras. You don’t need a racerback bra.
Best dress for traveling to hot climate: Toad&Co Sunkissed Swing Dress
This is one of the best travel dresses for hot climates. Had I realized how cute this dress would be, I would have ordered it in one of their brighter colors, like Deep Navy Bird Print and the Spiced Coral Bird Print.
Now that I see the dress in person and understand the fabric the upper portion is made of, I would have went for the bold color. Even the Spiced Coral, while not dark, is still a statement shade. Even still, I do like my gray dress, officially called Smoke. This color is nice and neutral but for a one-piece outfit — a dress — I don’t need it to match anything so I should have went for bold.
I easily walk and hike in this dress. Once, I even swam in it. It doesn’t stretch like other fabrics. It’s a very versatile travel dress.
Like Toad&Co’s travel skirts, you could order this same style dress in multiple colors and it wouldn’t look like you were wearing the same dress.
It’s a great dress for hiking
The Toad&Co Sunkissed Swing dress looks good with flip flops and sandals. It’s a very casual dress but won’t go well from day to night. However, it has a very flattering cut. I tend toward dresses that aren’t form fitting. These are the travel dresses I wear much more often than form-fitting ones, which is why it’s one of my favorites.
It has a flattering cut. I’ve gained and lost 10 – 12 pounds, and this dress still flatters me. This dress seems like it would flatter many body types. The material is made with a quick-dry nylon (84% nylon and 16% Spandex). It’s super-easy to wear. It works for errands, restaurants, hikes, sporting activities, and other excursions.
It’s perfect to keep you comfortable and cool in the heat. In addition, it’s great if you wear it on a boat or in the water.
I live in the very hot and dry southwest and this swing dress has been a lifesaver. I only wear skirts and dresses from May – October because it’s so hot. This Sunkissed Swing Dress works well across the seasons.
This travel dress has two pockets — one on either side of the hip section. They are practical and not bulky in any way. But note, neither is a hidden pocket.
The only downside to this dress is you can’t really dress it up or down. It wouldn’t look good with boots or heels. It works well with sneakers or flip flops.
Wrinkle free dress
I rolled it and packed it in my suitcase. It’s extremely lightweight and barely takes up space. I was happy to see when I arrived at my destination and unpacked this dress, it didn’t have any wrinkles.
Eco-friendly travel dress
I asked Toad&Co for this dress to review. They are a very environmentally-friendly company, and I appreciate the efforts they make in sustainability. They do a lot to minimize excess packaging. It seems they are always strive to lead the industry in this regard.
We just learned customers have the option to select the ‘Reusable Shipper’ option. This means they will mail you the items in reusable shippers which are made from vinyl which were recycled from billboards.
You can mail it back to them for no charge. It’s lightweight and waterproof. If you have a return, you can put the item back in this mailer as well. They take sustainability very seriously regarding their products themselves. Toad&Co uses eco materials for their clothing.
Their eco icon means the garment is made with a minimum of 80% sustainable fabrics and fibers. Some of these include organic cotton, tencil, hemp, recycled fabrics, and more. So, in addition to having a fabulous travel dress in a flattering cut, color and pattern, it’s also made from sustainable materials.
Where to find the best travel dresses
In addition to choosing one of these top picks, we encourage thrift store shopping. Be sure to look before you go and while you’re at your travel destination if time permits.
One of my favorite travel dresses is from thrift store in Ireland. However, I know that takes time and patience. When you are in the market for a particular piece of travel clothing it may be time-consuming to find just the right thing.
Maximize the time you spend in second-hand stores by always looking for travel clothing, even if you don’t have a trip planned. Versatile travel pieces will always be in style. Use this list and write down what I consider to be the best travel clothing brands that are also fashionable, comfortable, versatile, and flattering. They should also be lightweight because you don’t want to pack a dress that takes up a lot of space.
Of course, you can also find them at stores such as Big Five Sporting Goods, Dick’s Sporting Goods, REI, Columbia, Lands End, and more.
Finding the best travel dresses
No matter your size, style or destination, there is a perfect dress out there for you. Perhaps you want a flowy maxi dress to be more formal when traveling to museums and religious sites. Maxi dresses can be casual or more dressy.
When you need to pack light and want your clothing to be appropriate in many situations, a dress designed for travel could fast become a staple in your travel wardrobe. All of these travel dresses are made with great fabrics for traveling that don’t wrinkle.
Sometimes, before embarking on a trip, whether for business or personal travel, it’s nice to have a few new pieces to wear. This is especially true because we often get very tired of wearing the same things on a vacation. Yet, when I have a new dress or other clothing item, I’m excited to wear it again.
Consider whether you will be going on a beach vacation over summer vacation and need sun protection or on a more formal cruise or tour where you’ll want more classic pieces and cuts. Above all, a comfy dress is one you will feel good in.
We hope some of these will become your favorite travel dresses that you will want to take on trips as well as wear out and about around your town. It will become your wardrobe staple.
Check out: Best Travel Pants