Curvy travelers have additional considerations that others may not have to worry about. We might have to worry about bra sweat or have to cover up even more in conservative countries.
But when in a warm destination, a major issue is chafing, especially since we are often out doing a bit more walking than in our non-travel lives. I’ve experienced thigh chafing, also referred to as chub rub or thigh rub, plenty of times. One time, I ran a race and the chafing was so bad that I waddled for over a week to keep the blisters from touching.
So what’s a girl to do? How do you avoid thigh rub when traveling (and in your daily life)?!
A number of products are on the market to deal with this issue. Some work better than others, so we asked the ladies of #HPLWorld for their expertise. Keep in mind that some require regular application.
Before I tried any of the other solutions, I used Gold Bond, baby powder, or a standard stick of deodorant to prevent thigh chafing. Baby powder has mixed results, but is good for sopping up moisture in sensitive areas.
I purchased this product back when I was running regularly and swear by it for travel as well. The balm isn’t wet or greasy and stays on for hours. You can put it anywhere, but your thighs are a good place to start. It won’t clog your pores and is made with allergen-free, vegan, and plant-derived ingredients. Best of all, it comes in a small, travel-friendly container.
>> Check out Body Glide on Amazon.
Plus sized models vouch for this product, which I also tried out. Made in a similar format to Body Glide, Chafe Zone lasts the longest of any that I’ve tested. It was created by sports medicine doctors and has a 100% guarantee. It also won’t come off from sweat, chlorine, or salt water.
>> Check out Chafe Zone on Amazon.
Bandaid Friction Block:
While it’s made to prevent blisters on your feet and heels, you can also use this product elsewhere. It’s an invisible gel made from hydrogenated vegetable oil. The small stick is easy to throw in your toiletry bag.
>> Check out Bandaid Friction Block on Amazon.
Monistat Chafe Gel:
This gel product has a silky finish that’s free of fragrance and greasy feeling. The moisture barrier prevents friction and can be used in the underarms, breasts, thigh area, and bikini area. The small tube of gel feels like a lotion, but has the benefits of a powder.
>> Check out Monistat Chafe Gel on Amazon.
Neat 3B Body Saver Chafing Cream:
As Australia’s number one product for chafing, it only needs to be applied once or twice per day. The smooth cream eases inflamed areas. It’s fragrance free and contains an antiperspirant.
>> Check out Neat 3B Body Saver Chafing Cream on Amazon.
Lanacane Anti-Chafing Gel:
This gel reduced friction while drying clear, perfect for everyday use. The hypoallergenic and fragrance-free product is gentle on your sensitive skin.
>> Check out Lanacane Anti-Chafing Gel on Amazon.
Other recommendations: Bariéderm by Bioderma, Silky Underwear by Lush, and Gold Bond Friction Defense also come recommended.
If gels and powders aren’t your style, fabric solutions like shapewear can also prevent thigh chafing.
Spanx Everyday Shaping Boyshorts:
This company is perhaps the most well known of shapewear companies. I’ve owned a number of pairs, including the full length ones and more recently, the boyshort version. The fabric tends to be thicker in order to smooth out your figure, but they can be worn under just about anything. Just test them out before a trip in case of rolling.
>> Check out the Spanx Everyday Shaping Boyshorts on Amazon.
Jockey Skimmies Short Length:
I tried out this brand as a more breathable alternative to Spanx. They’re slightly thicker than panty hose or tights and are super breathable thanks to wicking materials. They come in a variety of colors and lengths. I’m much more likely to wear these under clothing, especially during the summer heat, but they don’t do much in the way of slimming.
>> Check out the Jockey Skimmies on Amazon.
Unlike the other options, these thigh bands can be worn to prevent chafing without full coverage undergarments. The lace bands create a barrier without lotions and creams. They come in multiple color options and they can be worn with any underwear!
>> Check out Bandelettes on Amazon.
These slipshorts are designed similarly to the other brands, but are made with different materials and styles. The bloomers are made of soft cotton and are seam-free for added comfort. They’re also designed not to ride up through movement.
>> Check out Undersummers on Amazon.
What’s better than chafe free underwear? Boyshort, brief, and knickerbocker options are available in multiple colors and made from wicking COOLMAX fabric. This brand is currently available in the UK or on Amazon US.
>> Check out Chaffree on Amazon.
Good Bike Shorts:
Former HPL team writer, Katy, swears by a good pair of bike shorts. When it’s hot out, you can’t always stand wearing leggings (which are her general go-to for thigh protection), which means bike shorts are essential when wearing skirts or dresses. Higher-end sports gear bike shorts are great: moisture-wiking, breezy, and easy to clean. The prices, however, tend to run pretty high. Some pretty good plus-size options are available from JunoActive.
Her favorite bike shorts are actually very, very cheap. Danskin women’s bike shorts, available at Walmart, are just under $14 for a pack of two! They’re not fancy, but they help wick moisture and don’t ride up. They definitely get the job done.
>> Check out prices for Danskin bike shorts on Amazon.
Another way to avoid the dreaded thigh rub is through items of clothing. Longer shorts like Bermuda shorts work better and skorts, or skirts with shorts underneath, can also prevent chafing. Linen pants can be just as stylish! And don’t forget leggings.
After the Fact
If all else fails, and you do end up with some terrible chafing, be sure to carry some hydrocortisone in your travel medical kit to help the chafing heal quickly. The Aveeno Anti-Itch, which also has oatmeal in it, is great for sensitive skin; it’s a little less harsh than your garden-variety hydrocortisone. Coconut oil can also help clear things up pretty fast, and you’ll smell great!
XOJane also has some super helpful reviews of other chafe-prevention clothing, as well as home-made remedies.
How do you avoid thigh chafing while traveling?
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using them, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps to keep this site running – thank you!
The Mobistar chafing gel is also a great makeup primer and mattifier. I know it sounds crazy, but I swear it is! I love my double duty products.
I regularly use both Glide and Lush Silky Underwear (which I think was a rec. from HPL!). I prefer Lush only because it doesn’t feel as present as Glide does. As a bonus, it works on my boyfriend when he has chafing issues. If it’s not too hot, I like a pair of skimmies (called “safety shorts” in many places), but living in tropical climates sometimes means that’s just too much.
Knix underwear brand has a long short style as well that is super light weight for summer wear. I like them
I fell in love with “skorts” on my first multi month trip theough Asia. I stumbled upon one on sale shortly before my trip, threw it in my (very overpacked) bag as a backup option, and fell in love! I have a difficult time finding shorts to fit my body, so I typically prefer to wear dresses and skirts in the summer months. The skort gave my thighs some much needed relieve between skirt/dress days, while having enough stretch to be comfortable on long days. I had always thought of skorts being tiny tennis skirts, but have been surprised by the number of longer more street-clothes styles out there.
I have found some great options from Athleta, Title9, and other women’s activewear lines.
Jenn Ott says
Maybe I am an old lady, but I use split slips. I work in aid in Zambia, and we have to wear skirts or at least a wrap all the time. Too much bulk is hot, but split slips are cheap, lightweight, and breezy. Bike shorts work, too, but I prefer something non-restrictive.
Hi Jenn, Are split slips like slips that have openings up the sides? When I search online, there are lots of different variations popping up.
I basically live in skorts for travel, but when I wear skirts I always use lanacame, which also works well after the fact.
Alex Moore says
I tried wearing clothing (like bandelettes and bike shorts) to prevent the chafing but even that didn’t work for me. Body Glide kinda worked but I’ve had better luck with Lady Anti Monkey Butt. It’s talc free so no worries on the side effects of talc, and I like that it has calamine in it to moisturize that area while absorbing the sweat/preventing chafing. Highly recommend trying it for anyone suffering from chafing issues
I solved the problem by hanging a cotton bandana over the crotch of my ordinary knickers, before I pulled them on, so that it hung down one leg. I secured it with safety pins. It gave me a single layer of cotton cloth between the thighs which was enough.
I bought the bandelettes and got the worse thigh rub ever…. I do not recommend the lace ones… the lace actually made it worse.
Thanks for this article- I’ve been suffering from chafing for the first time this year but as I’m actually quite skinny its not my thighs that rub together but it’s due to clothing rubbing against my thighs. So ditching trousers and shorts and living in dresses all summer has worked well for me, but now the weather is starting to turn colder I’m looking for other solutions. My first idea is to wear stockings under dresses and skirts but they’re not great for all activities (as I found out when I laddered a pair on a tree the other day!). Maybe tight fitting shorts/leggings/tights will help if they don’t rub themselves – the problem was originally caused by a badly fitting pair of tights. I was also recommended a nappy rash cream by a pharmacist, which actually does work wonderfully- it’s called bepanthen – has an anti chafing barrier and also soothes and heals the sores.