Imagine hiking through a rainforest for days or spending 72 hours cramped on a transcontinental train ride. Twisting and turning your torso is bad enough – the last thing you need are metal wires or hooks digging into your skin.
You’ll need a travel bra that can cope with your journey.
Of course you can stick to your regular fashionable bras, but I prefer some sporty support when I’m on my feet all day. Not to mention that if you’re traveling for any length of time, you’ll want to make sure you get as much use as possible from every item on your packing list.
Remember, you’ll have to wear this bra when you’re sweaty, hot and clammy. You may have to wear it several days in a row. Conditions may be far from ideal.
What you should look for in the best bra for travel
Every travel bra is different but they all have common characteristics – keep these in mind as you make your choice.
Here’s what I look for:
- sturdiness: if you’re packing light you’ll be wearing it a lot, and that means something that makes the grade
- cup size: remember, your rib cage may be narrow and your breasts large, or vice versa so make sure both measurements fit
- support: you’ll be walking a lot, sometimes quickly, and you don’t want to be bouncing all over the place
- suitable: think of your activities – a more sporty bra for sightseeing and sports but if you’re going glam at night, a convertible bra is a must (if you can pull this off, that is!)
- comfortable straps: nothing too thin that bites into your shoulder or collarbone
- whether it snaps in the back or slips on over your head – many of us have preferences! If you like the ones that snap on, make sure those hooks are strong so your bra stays put!
- smoothness: for bras with hooks, make sure they’re well-covered and off your skin.
- anti-microbial properties make your bras more suitable for travel
- wicking materials will help keep you dry longer – meaning you have to wash your bras less often
- color: you want your travel bras to be neutral and invisible (I prefer skin or nude colors that work well under any color top)
I personally can’t travel without a sports bra but I’m on the larger side. If you’re slim with less weight to carry, you may be just fine traveling with your everyday bras.
The best travel bra comparison chart
|Ex Officio Crossover Bra||ExOfficio bras are among the most popular travel bras. This particular model is for the less chesty but is one of the best bras for hot weather, humid temperatures and long trips. You'll forget you're wearing it. (94% Nylon, 6% Lycra Spandex)||Buy Now!|
|Panache non-wired Sports Bra||The Panache is possibly the best hiking bra for large breasts, or if not hiking, then intensive activity. It's like a regular sports bra - but nicer looking. And won't let you down on the bounce front. (45% Polyamide, 39% Polyester, 16% Elastane)||Buy Now!|
|Glamorise Sports Bra Amazon||One of the best bras for large busts - sturdy bra for women with very full figures who are planning active holidays and need to avoid bounce at all costs. (70% Polyester, 25% Polyamide, 5% Elastane)||Buy Now!|
|Anita Light and Firm Sports Bra||For women with bigger cups, this adjustable sports bra lets you decide just how much bounce you'll accept. For medium intensity movement and lightweight fabric. (80% Polyamide, 20% Lycra Elastane)||Buy Now!|
|CK Calvin Klein Cotton Bralette||Unlike the CK sports bra, this light little thing － one of the best bralettes on Amazon － isn't designed for sports. If you have small to medium breasts, this will be the ideal garment for city sightseeing, super comfortable and soft all day but with very little support for anything beyond a day's walking around. (53% Cotton, 35% Modal, 12% Elastane)||Buy Now!|
|Hanes Women's Comfort Evolution Bra||Here's another popular offering from Hanes, with its usual smart sizes. No seams or bulges under your clothes, and super-stretch synthetic fabric with wide straps for ultra-comfort. I'd reserve this for cooler temperatures and for average-size cups rather than for women who need the extra lift.||Buy Now!|
|Boody Body EcoWear||The bamboo fibers in this unique bra make sure your tops don’t cling to it, and it’s organic - so good for your allergies, and good for the environment. It’s soft and light, and - I like this - no clasps that dig into your back. Just slip it on over your head. (80% bamboo)||Buy Now!|
|Warner's Women's Easy Does It||The cool thing about this travel bra is that you can wear it all day and it won't dig into your skin. It also comes in a wide range of sizes (like we do!) and its straps can be changed to criss-cross if you so wish. (92% Nylon, 8% Spandex)||Buy Now!|
|Coobie Seamless Comfort Bra||This seamless, wireless bra has no hooks or clasps, giving it a smooth feel, accentuated by its wide bra straps. The fabric is stretchy, which adds to the comfort, and comes in several cup sizes for better fit. (Microfiber, Nylon, Spandex)||Buy Now!|
|Prettywell Leisure Bras||More of a bralette than a bra but removable padding and great support means it's a good alternative for women seeking comfort at a really low price. It's seamless, doesn't show under clothes, and leaves no marks on your skin. Wide, flat straps, no hooks or clasps, and breathable material. (75% nylon, 25% spandex)||Buy Now!|
Best travel bras reviews
Here are just a few of the travel sports bras I’ve either tried myself or am planning to buy because other women travelers are raving about them.
The Travel Bra is basically a travel bra with pockets. It’s designed by travelers for travelers and combines a comfortable undergarment with some serious safety features – I know this because I’ve tried it myself. Other than a standard money belt, it’s the most discreet of hiding places for your valuables.
NOTE: That said, you shouldn’t be delving into any undercover money belts during the day: you should keep a small amount of cash in an accessible place, such as your zipped or hidden pocket or travel bag, as long as it’s an amount you’re prepared to lose. In the unlikely eventuality you should get mugged or pickpocketed, handing over your “day stash” should satisfy most petty thieves, for whom speed is essential. The rest of your money will stay safe and absolutely out of sight.
This travel bra also has a breathable back mesh, making it even more comfortable. Its natural fibers and lack of wires and hard metallic pieces make it soft and comfortable, especially for the long haul. While I don’t often recommend sleeping in a bra, this one is a bit different, because you can also use it as a security item – particularly useful in dorms or on long train or bus rides.
✓ Its hidden pouch can be used to hide a credit card and passport from pickpockets.
✓ No stiff bits – underwire or clasps – so it’s super comfortable and easily wearable all day.
✓ Some models are made from organic cotton and bamboo.
✕ It sizes a little small so be aware of that as you order.
✕ Like a money belt, you’ll have to go somewhere private if you want to access your valuables.
How to keep your bras in good shape when traveling – should you use a bra holder for travel
I like to keep it simple – I don’t use any fancy bra travel case, not even for my best travel bras
First, I tend to travel with a quick-drying sports bra and a “city-type travel bra”, like an ExOfficio modern travel bra.
The sports bra is easy to fold because it is thin and flat, but bras with cups are a little harder and smash or crumple easily, which is why some women like to use a travel bra case (this one can carry both your bras and your underwear).
If I need extra protection or some kind of travel bra organizer, I use packing cubes. I stuff the bra cups with socks or underwear and voilà.
A final word: don’t wait until your trip to wear your new bra! Just like shoes, you don’t want to discover a difficult fit once you’re in a foreign country (where they may not have your size).
How many days in a row should you wear a bra?
As you can probably guess, the answer here is “it depends”.
When you travel, you’ll have fewer bras than you have at home and not as many opportunities to wash them, so you’ll inevitably have to wear them longer than you would at home (hence the importance of a quick dry travel bra).
If you’re wearing your bra under normal circumstances, for example everyday sightseeing in temperate weather, you can easily wear your bra twice or three times – just don’t wear them several days in a row and alternate, to give the elastic a chance to bounce back.
If it’s very hot outside and you’re sweating all day, you may only be able to wear your bra once before washing it.
— Originally published on 03 January 2011