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There’s nothing like a simple dress to give you effortless travel style. Travel dresses are comfortable, especially in the summer heat, and provide versatility for layering and making multiple outfits.
Plus, sometimes us female travelers want to look sexy, feminine and flirty!
The best dresses for travel are multipurpose, should dress up and down easily, and hopefully consist of special fabrics that wrinkle less, smell less, and wear out less. With the right accessories, dresses on our packing list work in many climates and for many travel activities.
Here are our picks for the best travel dresses.
Best Basic Dresses for Travelers
Wool& Sasha French Terry Dress
Everyone loves a T-shirt dress. The wool& Sasha French Terry Dress has cute rolled cuff sleeves and patch pockets (pockets!!!) to give it an elevated look that can work for any destination from the beach to the city.
Not only is wool&’s signature Merino wool odor-resistant, breathable, and temperature-regulating, but it also stays wrinkle-free which means you can wear it all day and look amazing. It’s also quick drying, so even if it does need a wash, you can easily wash it in your hotel’s hand basin and it will be ready to wear the next day!
SCOTTeVEST Daisy Dress
This unassuming design is not only stylish and comfortable, but it is also super functional. The SCOTTeVEST Daisy Dress has no less than eight (yes eight!) strategically placed pockets that you can actually use. Some of them are hidden (great theft-proof clothing options) and some of them are zippered which is perfect for keeping all your essentials safe if you want to go handbag free.
The bamboo mix fabric is soft and breathable, designed to help regulate your body temperature, keeping you cool and comfortable during your travel days. It’s also wrinkle and odor-resistant making it perfect for multiple wears on your trip.
Toad&Co Marley Tiered Short Sleeve Dress
At first glance, the Marley Tiered Short Sleeve Dress by Toad&Co looks like a simple T-shirt dress, but in reality, it’s so much more. First off, the simple design is perfect for a casual look and travel days (how about being part of a plane outfit), and then it shows a bit of playfulness with the swing silhouette.
In addition, the breathable, travel-friendly fabric makes it quick-drying, moisture-wicking, and odor-controlling. Oh, and did we mention that this dress has hidden pockets? Holla. If there’s anything that makes a girl happy, it would be a travel dress with pockets… am I right?
Travel Maxi Dress
The simple maxi dress offers the traveler an extremely versatile wardrobe option. Given the length, this dress provides coverage for more conservative trips (with an extra wrap on top) while also staying flowy and light for warm, beachy adventures.
Best of all, it’s casual, but also has the capability of being sleek and classy while at the same time being one of the most comfortable travel dresses.
“It’s comfortable, and black goes with everything! The length is perfect for visiting more conservative countries as well as entering cathedrals. As an added bonus I don’t have to worry about shaving my legs! It’s also my favorite outfit to wear for those long days of traveling spent on buses or planes. I’ve slept overnight in airports wearing my maxi dress and it’s almost like having a built-in blanket keeping me warm.“
She goes on:
“The best thing about my maxi dress is not having to worry if it’s going to fit. With a few colored cardigans and cute jewelry, the options for outfits are numerous and I can tailor it to my activities. I’ve worn my maxi dress on the beach and out to dinner and it’s perfect for both occasions.”
The LBD – Little Black (Travel) Dress
A little black travel dress is a staple in your home wardrobe, so why not in your travel wardrobe? The perfect LBD can be worn in almost every travel situation (that’s not super active) and dressed up for more special occasions. Your LBD can even be a black maxi dress!
“An LBD can take me trekking in tropical rainforests to painting the town red at night. It is comfortable and at the same time chic! Black is slimming, it goes with everything in your wardrobe, and it photographs really well. It takes up next to no space. Plus, since it can be worn during the day and at night, you can eliminate other items of clothing.”
Now the optimal little black dress will contain some extra travel-specific features (quick-drying material, for example — see the best dress for business travelers below), but even my simple $25 find from H&M worked wonders on a cruise. It’s no wonder the LBD is one of so many travelers’ top picks.
Eddie Bauer Easy Tank Dress
The Eddie Bauer Easy Tank Dress is the ultimate traveler. The relaxed fit of this dress makes it perfect for travel days but it is also a very flattering style making it perfect for a day spent exploring or a night out when you want to look your best.
This tank dress combines four-way stretch mobility fabric making it comfy and easy to wear. It also uses moisture-wicking technology and built-in sun protection to make this dress a smart choice for warm weather destinations or crowded public transport.
It is also quick drying which is a huge plus because you’ll definitely want to wear this one multiple times on your trip.
Convertible Travel Dress Picks
Season The Pepper Dress
The Pepper Dress is sure to spruce up your travel wardrobe. This 100% silk, low-waste, and eco-friendly garment can be worn in over ten different ways!
This lightweight layering piece is perfect for all climates and can be worn at a variety of different lengths. This one piece can take you from day to night and can be dressed up or down to suit your needs.
In addition to being versatile, the lightweight silk fabric is odor-resistant and perfect for throwing into a backpack and toted off to the next adventure.
Encircled Chrysalis Cardi
It may not have dress in the name, but let me assure you that the Chrysalis Cardi transforms into one glorious dress (or should I say dresses). At its core, this soft modal, wearable garment serves as an infinity scarf but it can transform into eight completely different styling options from a strapless dress for hot, sunny days to a modest cover-up for visiting temples.
With a couple of strategically placed snaps, the scarf transforms into a cardigan, and further into a gorgeous dress.
Caroline documented her love of the Chrysalis Cardi early on, and I also have enjoyed having this convertible travel dress on my packing list. Caroline says:
“As with all multi-wear products, you may like one look over others and for me, the scarf and dress looks suit me best. I love the Grecian inspired dress for nights out as well as bundling up in the scarf to keep warm in winter. It’s also easy to accessorize and comes in a handful of colors.”
Encircled Sleeveless Revolve Dress
By the same company as the Chrysalis Cardi, the Revolve Dress offers up versatility in a much simpler design. In the original post, we linked to the Revolve dress with sleeves, which is no longer available. However, the sleeveless version is just as versatile and great for warmer days (or layered up for colder ones).
This convertible travel dress works as a tunic dress or as a top, plus it can be flipped backward for a different neckline. It can be worn in six different ways, giving you six different outfit options in one, and is made of the same soft modal as the Chrysalis Cardi. The Revolve dress design was updated in April 2023.
Caroline reviewed the original Revolve dress saying:
“I can imagine packing this item for my next cold weather trip. Not only is it extremely comfortable and lightweight, it can be worn so many ways and add layers. It would make for an ideal plane outfit.
“. . .I found this garment to be much easier to wear in the different styles than the Chrysalis Cardi, which took a bit of learning and YouTube watching on my end. This dress is fairly straightforward and requires little instruction. You just put on and go!”
Infinity Wrap Dress
It was one of the first articles I put on Her Packing List, and over 10 years later, it’s still a viable convertible travel dress option. While it might not be the style of skirt/dress you prefer, the infinity wrap dress is very suitable for beachy and tropical getaways.
Plus the multiple patterns, and the layers themselves, make this skirt/dress literally have 100 ways to wear. It works over bathing suits, it works while sightseeing, and it definitely works while getting dolled up for date night.
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Reversible Dresses for Travel
Helene Clarkson 4-Way Reversible Dress
You get four dresses in one with Helene Clarkson’s Reversible Travel Dress. This dress has two patterns, a charming floral print or a serene sky hue, and two different neck options, a flattering V-neck or a classic boat neck.
The drawstring waist makes this dress incredibly easy to wear and not only looks great but can be worn for all occasions, from casual outings to special events. As a bonus, this soft and stretchy material is also wrinkle-resistant.
Diane Kroe Reversible Resort Dress
Not only is this dress reversible, which means an instant two-in-one look, but it can be worn both as a skirt and as a dress which means even more outfit options to keep your travel wardrobe looking fresh and fun.
In fact, the Diane Kroe Reversible Resort Dress can be worn in 22 different ways!
This lightweight dress is made from Diane Kroe’s Venezia travel fabric which is a high-quality poly/spandex blend. This is very similar to your yoga, workout, and swimwear, only with a lightweight, silky-soft finish. It is quick to dry, wrinkle-free, and durable.
Tribal Reversible A-Line Dress
Double the options in your wardrobe with this versatile piece! This bonded knit dress is solid black on the one side which is perfect for days spent exploring and travel days or it can be easily dressed up for a night out. On the other side, it transforms into a stunning tropical print, perfect for a beach destination.
The Tribal Reversible A-Line Dress is made from a rayon/spandex blend, is sleeveless (perfect for hot island getaways), and has pockets! Does it get better than that?
Encircled The Everyday Sleeveless Dress
The A-line, mid-length Everyday Sleeveless Dress from Encircled is super versatile thanks to the reversible neckline (meaning two neckline options in one). It also comes with a removable belt giving you even more stylish options. Cinch the dress in at the waist or leave it loose and flowing depending on the occasion. And to make this dress even better, it has pockets!
This dress is made from an ultra-soft, sustainable bamboo blend fabric that is breathable, and perfect for a warm destination. It also comes in three color options, raspberry, heathered navy blue (pictured), and black.
Best Dresses for Business Travelers
Wool& Reversible Midi Dress
This elevated midi dress hits just below the knee for a flattering fit. The ¾ length sleeve is not only perfect for a work environment but a great option if you need to look professional in a warmer destination.
Made of the same signature fabric as their Sasha French Terry dress, the Norah Reversible Midi Dress from wool& is a business traveler’s dream come true. Wrinkle-resistant, and oh-so-lightweight, this travel dress delivers comfort and classy style that can easily be packed in a suitcase without any drama whatsoever.
Plus, it’s quick-drying, meaning a quick rinse in your hotel sink is all it takes to be fresh again by morning!
The flattering cut is only outdone by the reversible neckline, giving you two outfit options in one. The Norah dress can be worn either as a v-neck or crew neck.
Eddie Bauer Empire Waist Dress
Although the Eddie Bauer Empire Waist dress is sleeveless, the addition of a cardigan or blazer will instantly make it a hit with business travelers. The fitted bodice also gives it a more professional look.
Many women struggle with packing light for business trips as there is often the need to pack bulky pieces and dress shoes, all while including casual clothes for outside of work hours. With this dress, you can literally go from work to play, with just the addition of a cardigan. You could even add the Encircled Chrysalis Cardi on top to really make the most out of a single purchase.
To make it even better, this polyester/spandex blend material features moisture-wicking, sun-protection, and odor-control technologies making it ideal as a travel dress.
SCOTTeVEST Daphne Dress
This faux wrap dress is the perfect addition to you next business trip. Like the SCOTTeVEST Daisy Dress, it is packed with strategically placed pockets. The SCOTTeVEST Daphne Dress has one top drop pocket, two side seam pockets with zips, and one sleeve pocket with a zip perfect for safely stashing your valuables and ideal for women who need their hands free.
On top of all those pockets, the stretchy fabric is both flattering and comfortable. AND it is wrinkle-resistant.
The Best Materials for Travel Dresses
Merino wool is one of the best fabrics for travelers. Wool has got a bad rap, with many people thinking that it is high-maintenance when really this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Merino wool regulates your temperature like no other material. Not only does it keep you warm in cold climates, but it keeps you cool in warm climates too. Lightweight merino wool garments breathe and wick moisture away from your skin, keeping you cool, even when it’s humid.
Your Merino wool dress can also go for weeks (yes weeks!!!) at a time without showing signs of odor. Merino wool does this by quickly absorbing sweat which prevents the growth of odor-causing bacteria and keeps your skin dry.
Wool& is so confident about this that they host a 100-day dress challenge where their customers are encouraged to wear a wool& dress for 100 days straight for eight hours a day and document their journey on social media.
In addition to this, merino wool is naturally soft, quick-drying, and wrinkle-resistant.
Bamboo is another great option for travelers. One of the biggest benefits of bamboo material is that it is so comfortable.
Bamboo fabric is breathable and has moisture-wicking properties. The structure of the bamboo fibers contains micro-gaps, which provide ventilation and pull moisture away from the body, allowing the skin to breathe. We all know this is extremely important when you’re traveling, especially when you have a tight schedule or are rushing from one train to the next.
As if that wasn’t enough to convince you, bamboo fabric is antibacterial, antifungal, thermoregulating, hypoallergenic, and lightweight!
To top that all off, bamboo fabric is naturally eco-friendly making it an obvious choice for the conscious traveler!
Rayon feels smooth on your skin. It dries quickly and is another great wrinkle-resistant fabric. Unfortunately, it doesn’t wick moisture as well as wool and bamboo, so it’s not the best option for warmer climates where you might sweat a lot.
Some Materials to Avoid
Some fabrics to avoid when traveling are those that lack breathability like nylon or leather.
Another fabric to avoid is cotton. You might think that cotton is a good travel fabric but cotton takes an extremely long time to dry meaning there’s no chance of washing and re-wearing your cotton dress if you get it dirty.
Even if you’re not planning on re-wearing, if you get cotton wet or get a bit sweaty while you’re traveling, you could be stuck in your wet clothes for hours which can get really uncomfortable and even dangerous if you’re hiking in cold weather. This is even worse in humid conditions.
- Read about the best fabrics for travel clothing.
Do Dresses Limit Travel Wardrobe Options?
“I love dresses and find them to be cool and effortless. Does packing dresses limit my ability to mix and match?”
Great question. On the one hand, if you already love dresses and feel most comfortable in them, then putting dresses on your packing lists is a pretty safe bet for packing with simplicity and ease. Many women love packing dresses because the top is included… there’s no need to put outfits together!
But when it comes to packing less and having loads of options, dresses may not be as versatile as a skirt plus top. You can change the look of dresses with cardigans, sweaters, and shirts over the top, but skirt and top separates give more options because you can mix and match those while also wearing the tops with a pair of jeans or the female travel necessity: leggings.
Or, you can invest in the multi-wear, convertible and reversible travel dresses mentioned in this article. See more convertible travel clothing for women.
Best Ways to Pack Dresses for Travel
Two words: packing cubes.
As with all things we pack, the best ways to pack dresses for travel start with the packing cube. By using a packing cube, dresses won’t get jostled around too much while in transit, but it does help if those dresses are made with wrinkle-resistant fabrics.
If you are packing nicer dresses, or dresses that shouldn’t be rolled up into a cube, the left side of a suitcase is usually a good place to store them. That side often has a zippered enclosure, which is where I store my jackets and nicer clothing that doesn’t get stuffed into a packing cube.
You can fold multiple items together, much like a loose form of bundle wrapping, to lessen the chance for wrinkles.