When you’re planning what to pack for your next trip to distant shores, it can be easy to forget the importance of the humble towel. Although most hotels will provide towels, some types of accommodation don’t and others don’t have high standards.
A travel towel will be your new best friend in these situations. Compact, absorbent, and a lifeline to comfort in gritty hostels and on deserted beaches, your travel towel will keep you warm and dry.
Table of Contents
- Why Use a Travel Towel?
- Travel Towel Materials
- Travel Towel Sizes
- The Best Towel for Travel
- Best for Outdoor Adventures
- Excellent for a Choice in Sizes
- Best for Style Conscious Travelers
- The Travel Towel Bundle
- The Budget Turkish Towel
- Best for the Eco-Friendly Traveler
- For Those Who Want to Avoid Sandy Towels
- Best for Those Looking for Versatility
- The Budget Microfiber Travel Towel
- Best for Multi-Pack Value
- Final Thoughts
Why Use a Travel Towel?
Wherever you’re headed, travel towels offer a lightweight, quick-drying alternative to regular towels.
Flexible enough to fold up small, you can use your travel towel for everyday water adventures, cleaning up sticky messes, or as an impromptu pillow for cars, planes, trains, and even campsites.
Travel Towel Materials
Travel towels are available in a variety of different fabrics. Each one is as practical as the next, but some are more desirable than others.
Not sure how to tell a good travel towel from a truly great one? Check out these different fabric options.
Easy to come by and effortlessly practical, microfiber towels are absorbent, lightweight, and affordable.
Man-made microfiber can air dry very quickly while remaining breathable and soft to the touch. Microfiber towels are the most absorbent on the market and the quickest drying too!
Durable enough to go anywhere in the world, this style of travel towel is popular for a reason.
Linen towels are incredibly lightweight and are generally considered to be more absorbent than cotton.
Linen can absorb up to 20% of its weight in water before it will even start to feel damp. It’s also one of the quickest drying materials available, meaning you can get going on your next adventure even sooner.
As a bonus, linen is naturally antibacterial and will inhibit the growth of microbes, so it’ll smell fresh for longer.
Turkish cotton towels, also known as “peshtemals” were originally used in Turkish bath houses. Over the years, their larger size, high absorbency levels, and quick drying nature have made them popular with travelers across the globe.
As they’re made from thin cotton, they can be packed up very small, while still being sizable enough to cover you completely. They stay soft on your skin and offer a really good level of absorbency, making them the perfect choice for adventurers looking to head away from the beaten path.
Bamboo towels are lightweight, soft, and quick-drying, making them absolutely perfect for travel and camping.
They’re generous enough to be able to cover your sun lounger, while still folding down to a super small size to stow away easily in your luggage. They can air dry quickly, and because they’re made from natural materials, they’re also kind to delicate skin.
Travel Towel Sizes
You should choose the size of your towel based on your individual needs.
The biggest size available might sound like a good idea, but if it makes the folded size too big to squeeze into your luggage, it will feel like a burden instead of an asset.
The folded towel size will vary depending on the material that it’s made from and the brand of towel you purchase.
To give you a rough idea, towels (flat) are usually available in:
- Small – 20 x 32 inches
- Medium – 32 x 40 inches
- Large – 40 x 52 inches
- Extra Large – 40 x 60 inches
Turkish cotton and bamboo towels are generally larger by design, so if you’re looking for a towel that can double up as an emergency blanket or beach cover-up, you might want to opt for one of these over microfiber or linen.
The Best Towel for Travel
There’s a whole world of travel towels out there for you to choose from, but here are just a few of the best:
Best for Outdoor Adventures
Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Quick Dry Travel Towel
- Small – 20 x 40 inches
- Medium – 28 x 56 inches
- Large – 32 x 72 inches
Made from super absorbent microfiber, these handy travel towels can dry up to 10 times faster than regular towels — that’s an impressive amount of extra time spent in the water and not waiting for your towel to dry.
Available in a choice of 3 sizes, and perfect for every day, these little beauties are perfect for packing away on your next big adventure or for keeping in your bag for everyday workouts, yoga sessions, or swims.
The Outdoors Travel Towel from Youphoria also comes complete with a convenient carry bag and a quick-snap hook for easy hanging on the nearest branch, chair back, bedpost, or towel rail.
Excellent for a Choice in Sizes
Rainleaf Microfiber Travel & Beach Towel
- X-Small – 12 x 24 inches
- Small – 16 x 32 inches
- Medium – 20 x 40 inches
- Large – 24 x 48 inches
- X-Large – 30 x 60 inches
- XX-Large – 40 x 72 inches
This fast-drying, antibacterial travel towel comes in a choice of 6 sizes, making it easy to find the size you need for any adventure.
The super soft, suede-like material feels awesome against the skin, and this clever towel dries so quickly you can use it over and over again, all day long.
Complete with a snap loop, you can hang it out to dry almost anywhere. The carry bag it comes in is reusable and waterproof. The Rainleaf microfiber towel is so fabulous that it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Hot Tip: If you’re looking specifically for beach towels, check out our separate round-up of the 10 best travel beach towels (plus beach blankets)!
Best for Style Conscious Travelers
Pink Flamingos, 100% Bamboo, Lightweight Beach & Bath Towel
Material: Bamboo and Cotton
Size: 60 x 35 Inches
This pretty little travel towel is perfect for those who want to stay dry while being surrounded by beautiful things.
With its chic and simple pink flamingo design, this 100% bamboo beach or bath towel is made from natural fibers, with only the finest natural and chemical free colors used in the decoration.
Being highly absorbent, this towel can wick away moisture and water with ease and is as much as 60% more absorbent than cotton. If that wasn’t enough, it’s naturally antibacterial and resistant to odors — pretty and practical, how super!
The Travel Towel Bundle
WildHorn Outfitters Microlite Travel Towel Bundle
- Small – 12 x 24 inches
- Large – 24 x 48 inches
- X-Large – 30 x 60 inches
This great value bundle is as perfect for those heading out on a big adventure as it is for those who want a quick, convenient mobile towel solution for everyday use.
Each of the 3 towels in the pack comes with its very own mesh carrying case, meaning you can stow them away in your gym bag or backpack with ease.
Made from lightweight, microfiber material, each of these towels can hold up to 4 times its weight in water, making them incredibly absorbent and versatile, while still being durable and easy to carry. Perfect for just about any occasion, this towel bundle represents excellent value for your money.
The Budget Turkish Towel
Natural Turkish Cotton Peshtemal Thin Travel Towel
Material: Turkish Cotton
Size: 39 x 71 inches
This gorgeous traditional Turkish Peshtemal is the perfect companion for the style conscious traveler. Made from 100% soft Turkish cotton, these can be used to wipe you dry at the baths, spa, pool, beach, or even the fitness center.
The best part: it can double up as a sarong, pareo, or scarf when you’re cold or in need of a beach cover-up.
Easy to fold up small for travel, these wondrous travel towels become remarkably soft, even after many washes. They’re absorbent, stylish, and super useful for every day, both at home and away.
Best for the Eco-Friendly Traveler
Material: Turkish Cotton
Size: 27.5 x 72.5 inches
Nomadix produces some of the most sought after travel towels on the market. These towels are made using certified post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. Imagine that, a soft, absorbent towel that’s made from old plastic bottles — amazing!
These towels are popular with yoga practitioners, beach fanatics, backpackers, and just about everyone in between as they offer an eco-friendly, compact, high-performance alternative to regular towels.
Available in a wide variety of stunning colors and patterns, you can guarantee this super absorbent, slip resistant, anti-microbial, durable, and lightweight travel towel is as great to look at as it is practical to use.
For Those Who Want to Avoid Sandy Towels
Dock & Bay Microfiber Beach Towels
Size: 27.5 x 72.5 inches
This sand-free beach towel is one of the best swimming towels out there. Perfect for a traveler on the go, the Dock & Bay Microfiber Beach Towel dries up to 3 times as fast as regular cotton towels.
Smooth feeling and super soft on the skin, this towel folds up small making it perfect for popping in backpacks, totes, or travel bags. It even comes with its very own travel pouch.
The unique material prevents sandy bottoms, as the sand won’t stick to the towel, leaving more sand on the beach for everyone else to enjoy.
The extra large size is even big enough to cover your entire sun lounger, and the handy hook is useful for hanging your new towel out to keep clean and dry. A 30-day return policy and a 12-month warranty are also included.
Best for Those Looking for Versatility
Snappy Towels Waffle Weave Microfiber Travel Towels
Size: 50 x 27 inches
Wear your super absorbent and super soft towel with pride, as the Snappy Towel comes complete with innovative snaps that allow you to change the use of your towel in an instant. You can wear it as a cape to keep the sun off your shoulders or turn it into a bag to carry your sunscreen — your Snappy towel, your choice.
However you use it, your Snappy towel is super absorbent and can dry up to 3 times faster than a regular cotton towel. It even comes with a convenient hanging loop, so you can keep it off the ground and clean.
When you need to get going, this clever bath sized towel can fold up to just a fraction of the size of a cotton towel, meaning you can take it anywhere with ease.
The Budget Microfiber Travel Towel
WGOOT Quick Dry Microfiber Travel Towel
- Small – 31 x 14 inches
- Medium – 40 x 20 inches
- Large – 59 x 29 inches
- X-Large – 72 x 32 inches
This fast drying towel can absorb several times its weight and can dry up to 3 times faster than regular cotton towels, making the WGOOT Quick Dry Towel perfect for travel and other adventures.
The ultra-soft texture feels good on your face and skin, while its antibacterial properties prevent any build up of mold, mildew, or odor.
As clever as they are convenient, these towels are available in a choice of colors and sizes. It even comes complete with a reusable carry bag that’s designed to prevent damp from damaging the towel.
Best for Multi-Pack Value
Set Of Three Microfiber Travel Towels From OlimpiaFit
- Small – 15 x 15 inches
- Medium – 30 x 15 inches
- Large – 50 x 30 inches
These 100% microfiber travel towels can absorb 3 to 4 times their weight and can dry 10 times faster than regular cotton or terrycloth towels. They can go longer in between washes, and just five minutes in the sun will leave them feeling clean, dry, and soft.
This mega-value pack is perfect for travel, and the slip-resistant hypoallergenic surfaces make these towels an excellent choice for the gym, pool, beach, or anywhere else your next adventurers take you.
Available in a choice of colors and 3 different sizes, this bundle also comes with a 100% hassle-free, satisfaction guarantee.
Travel towels offer quick drying times, high absorbency, and a ton of durability, all wrapped up in a tiny package that will fit comfortably in your luggage.
Affordable, easy to buy, and offering a heap of benefits over and above a regular towel, you should honestly never think of going anywhere without one especially if you’re packing for that ultimate beach vacation.
If you’re looking for more great products to add to your travel packing arsenal, check out our other similar reviews:
- All Our Best Travel Product Reviews – In One Place
- The Best Travel Yoga Mats — A Detailed Buyer’s Guide
- The 13 Best Travel Toiletry Bags For Men and Women
- The 13 Best Water Bottles for Travel
Featured Image: Courtesy of Amazon