On my most recent trip to Colombia, I brought the full range of travel shorts from my favorite brands. I brought relaxed sweat-wicking shorts, athletic bike shorts, traditional jeans shorts and lightweight shorts for sleep.

For me, shorts have to perform well, especially because I’ll obviously be sweating in them. My travel shorts have to look good in photos, not show sweat stains, avoid chafing during activities like hiking and of course, function as comfortable and flattering travel apparel.

In this list, I review travel shorts I’ve tested from brands I trust. Each pair has a few helpful features that I’ll point out, so that you can decide which shorts will be a match for all your upcoming adventures around the world.

Free Fly Women’s Reverb Short

I’m new to the Free Fly outdoors and travel apparel brand, and it just so happens that the first product I tried was the Women’s Reverb Shorts. Immediately, I said, “Whoa, these are comfy,” and packed them for my Colombia trip. I wore them for a week in tropical Medellin, and was very pleased with how they hold up even in sweaty weather.

The Reverb performance shorts are special, and ideal for summer travel: the fabric has UPF 40+ sun protection, quick-dry and water-resistant properties and a four-way stretch. I like the mesh-lined pockets, the drawstring waist that feels beachy and the fresh color selection (I have them in Fig). Plus, look how small they fold up!

My one criticism is that I had trouble figuring out what kind of shirt to wear with these. I tried cropped tees, regular V-necks and zipped hoodies over them. Maybe I should’ve tried basic tank tops, or oversized shirts, too? Let me know what you think.

Free Fly Women's Reverb Short

These breezy shorts are quick-drying and relaxed, with UPF 40+ sun protection for your skin.

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DUER Women’s Mid-weight Denim High-Rise A-Line Short

I’m pretty excited that one of my favorite travel denim brands (DUER, which you may know from our DUER Performance Denim review) came out with a stylish high-rise denim short for women.

These shorts may be for you if you know you’ll want to wear (and sweat in) your denim travel shorts multiple days in a row, and maybe not wash them for a month. DUER’s denim has unique antimicrobial treatment, so it’s meant to be worn a lot of times before cleaning.

These denim high rise shorts have a standard 5-pocket style, and are called a “relaxed fit with a high rise.” They’re also built to flatter your butt (seriously), with a “rise shape” for lift. Regarding the fit, I find that they run big. I’m a 26 in jeans brands like Mott & Bow, and in DUER, I’m a 25. Make sure to consider sizing down when ordering.

DUER Midweight Denim High-Rise A Line Short

Flattering high-rise denim shorts with antimicrobial denim treatment for travel.

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Public Rec Here To There Short

Public Rec’s Here to There Shorts are the sibling to my Public Rec Here to There Leggings (which I’ve worn on more trips than I can count!). What I like about both are the strong stitching and durability, the smooth silky feel and the hidden side zipper pocket.

The zipper pocket is what makes these shorts great for travel: instead of tucking your phone (or cards) in at the side leg, you can zip them up securely and also avoid pickpockets in crowded places.

These shorts are great for a light workout when I get to my destination, or perfect as an everyday pair of shorts with a loose tee, fitness tank or oversized sweatshirt for a cute look. For sizing, I size up with Public Rec, and that has worked well for me because the sizes run in even numbers (24, 26, 28, etc.).

Public Rec Here To There Short

These buttery soft shorts have a secret hidden zipper pocket at the hip.

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Nike Women’s Universa High-Waisted 8” Biker Shorts (Pockets)

I’ve been working out in the Nike Universa High-Waisted Biker Shorts for a few months now and they are my favorite for a bike ride at a hotel gym, or a mountain biking trip. I think the highlight of these cool biker shorts is that they come in really fun colors, from rose pink and lavender to mint green and magenta. (Call me boring, but I have them in black.)

I plan to wear them during a lot of future hot-weather travel because they avoid leg chafing and “hold everything together,” especially when you get warm. The “medium support” is snug and comfortable, and I find myself reaching for them all the time. Make sure to check out the size chart when checking out. I wear a size S and it’s perfect.

Nike Universa Women's High-Waisted Biker Shorts with Pockets

I like the firm and strong feel of these shorts, and the two side pockets!

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Foehn Women’s Sanford High-Rise 6-Pocket Short

Foehn is a unique company that we found because of Dan’s list of the best men’s travel pants. Foehn makes European-vibe apparel and it’s minimalist, high-quality and made for adventures, both urban and wild.

The Women’s Sanford High-Rise 6-Pocket Shorts from Foehn are supportive bottoms that have six pockets. They might just take the cake in having the most pockets of any pair of shorts in this list. There are two thigh pockets, three back pockets and one interior waistband pocket.

What about sustainability, you might be wondering? The good news is that 100% of the carbon footprint for this product is offset with Climate Neutral and this product also gives to 1% For The Planet.

Women's Sanford High-Rise 6-Pocket Short

Six pockets make these high-rise stretch shorts the most functional for travelers.

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Icebreaker Women’s Merino 260 Fastray II 8” High-Rise Shorts

Icebreaker is known for their merino wool products that make great travel apparel for both short and long trips. Maybe you saw how I even recommend Icebreaker’s merino wool bra in my list of gear for solo female travelers!

The Women’s Merino 260 Fastray II 8” High Rise Shorts from Icebreaker are travel-minded in that they are form-fitting and functional for active performance while you’re on the road. The fabric blend is no joke: with 97% merino wool and 3% elastane, they’re savvy for being worn tons of times before needing to be washed, and also have that stretch element.

For other features, there’s a phone pocket and an added-coverage high waist, which I like.

Women's Merino 260 Fastray II 8” High Rise Shorts

These stretchy merino wool shorts can be worn for ages before they'll need their first wash.

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Public Rec Luxe Fleece Short

I reviewed my first experience with the Public Rec Luxe Fleece collection in my Public Rec Luxe Fleece Pullover review. In the winter, I wear this cozy top with my Luxe Fleece Joggers every night on the couch, and I’ve taken them on cold-weather trips.

So, why is Public Rec making fleece shorts? I think they’re for someone who loves the softness of fleece and may want to have a pair of shorts that’s not too chilly in summer and fall, or as pajamas! The Luxe Fleece shorts incredibly comfortable (just like the joggers and pullover), with a cute high-rise design, two front pockets and a drawstring waist.

They’re the cool and cozy shorts for in-between seasons like spring and autumn travels. For sizing, I chose a 26 (sizes come in 24, 26, 28, etc.) and that suited me well. You may find the need to size up if you are in between sizes, like I was.

Public Rec Women's Luxe Fleece Shorts

Soft and cozy, these French Terry fleecey shorts are for shoulder season.

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DUER Women’s No Sweat Everyday Short

The No Sweat Everyday Shorts for women are a chilled-out deep-pocket pair of shorts for days spent hanging out and walking around on a summer vacation. Rather than being snug like some other shorts in this list, they’re relaxed through the thigh with an elastic waistband and drawstring.

What are they made of, if they’re so soft and comfy? The secret is a 96%-natural-fiber composition of cotton and TENCEL™ Lyocell, which has cooling properties and moisture-wicking abilities. With 1% spandex, they’re slightly stretchy and have the overall softness of a knit fabric. The fit: consider sizing down because they run big (I have the XS, and it is a little roomy on me).

These shorts also come in a men’s version from the DUER No Sweat collection, so head to the page for the men’s No Sweat Shorts Relaxed, if you know a guy who might like ‘em.

DUER Women's No Sweat Everyday Short

With deep pockets and moisture-wicking abilities, these shorts are perfect for summer vacations.

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Ibex Women’s Springbok Performance Shorts

As the only women’s shorts from Ibex, I trust that these travel shorts do it all.

The thermoregulating Springbok performance shorts are light and breathable, and have a built-in brief for helping you stay cool. As for travel bonus features, there’s a hidden interior pocket that’s perfect for keeping valuables safe, AND a back pocket with a zipper.

Wait, one more thing that I haven’t seen on many shorts for women: the Ibex Springbok Shorts have an interior elastic loop key holder. That’s so handy!

Ibex Women’s Springbok Performance Shorts

These lightweight thermoregulating shorts help you stay cool and dry, and have some surprise pocket features.

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lululemon Women’s Fast and Free High-Rise Short 6”Pockets

Coming from one of my favorite athleisure brands lululemon is the travel-day-ready high-rise Fast and Free Shorts for women. I say they’re ready for a travel day because of that super handy side leg “drop-in” pockets for my phone. It’s the same pocket you’ll find on my lululemon Align High-Rise Leggings, which I mention as one of the best travel pants for women.

These shorts have weightless coverage and a 6” inseam, with a redesigned waistband that has three drop-in pockets to hold even smaller items. This is cool if you’re taking multiple flights, or just doing outdoor activities like hiking during a trip.

The fabric is sweat-wicking, breathable, quick-drying, stretchy and sleek, so there’s not much more to ask for.

lululemon Fast and Free High-Rise Shorts

Five total pockets, including two drop-in phone pockets on the legs, make these stretchy shorts an essential for travel.

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Free Fly Women’s Bamboo-Lined Active Breeze Short

Outdoorsy brand Free Fly has another travel short for women: the Bamboo-Lined Active Breeze Short – 3.” It turns heads because of its feature that all shorts should have: a secure side zip pocket that comes in handy during workouts and activities.

On a travel day, enjoy the lightness and airiness of these lightweight shorts with UPF 50+ sun protection. What I like best is the “odor liner,” which is like a built-in brief to hide undies. My best advice when purchasing is to go for a dark color, because I have the light ones and they’re a little bit see-through. “Black” and “Blue Dusk” would be really nice.

Free Fly Women's Bamboo-Lined Active Breeze Short – 3”

With a 3” inseam and flattering high rise, these lightweight shorts have a built-in liner and sun protection qualities.

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Nike Tempo Women’s Brief-Lined Running Shorts

If you’re packing light, why not take one pair of shorts that folds up super small for a hot-weather vacation? My Nike Tempo shorts have an easy activewear fit and a built-in brief that I really like for fitness-style shorts. I wear them around the house and they’re my top pick for quick pre-dinner yoga, most nights of the week.

The smooth woven fabric on these gives comfortable coverage while out walking, running, hiking or doing some treadmill workouts at a hotel gym. And like most Nike exercise gear for women, these shorts come in lots of color-pop hues from bright pink to royal blue. For sizing, consider sizing “up” because while they may run true to size for some women, I found that they run small.

Nike Tempo Women's Brief-Lined Running Shorts

I like active shorts that have a built-in brief, and these Nike shorts wick away sweat with their lightweight material.

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Paka Apparel Women’s Tri-Blend Shorts

I slid on the Paka Apparel Women’s Tri-Blend Shorts when they arrived in the package, and they fit perfectly in an XS and in the color Andean Moss. They’re snug, firm at the waist (just like my Paka joggers) and I like that they’re a short style… but not too short.

The Tri-Blend shorts have a relaxed and cozy fit. I wear them when I want the freedom of shorts, but for shorts that feel like loungewear. These shorts are the perfect combination of both. My favorite travel feature is the zipper pocket at the backside.

As an added plus, and for all Paka Apparel products, a purchase supports more than 100 artisans in Peru who make the company’s clothes. Each Paka product has a “unique Inca ID” that’s handwoven and special. You can see more at the product page.

Paka Apparel Women's Tri-Blend Shorts

I like supporting the Paka Apparel brand, and these cozy tri-blend shorts are both unique and well-made.

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Public Rec Women’s Rec Short

I saw the Public Rec Women’s Rec Shorts and wondered if I could pull them off. They are curiously sophisticated, with the high waist, relaxed fit, cuffed hems and 5.5” inseam. Honestly, when I see them paired with a solid tank and even sneakers, they have a great look.

I can see how the Women’s Rec Short can keep you really cool during hot travel days. The cotton-nylon fabric blend is meant to handle sweat and activity with no problem. They’re like a modern travel-friendly take on casual dress shorts and they’ll be perfect for a summer in Europe — know what I mean?

Make sure to double-check the Public Rec size chart to get your correct size, before buying! I tried them in a 26, my typical Public Rec size, and they were giant on me. I had to exchange for a 24.

Public Rec Women's Rec Shorts

I like supporting the Paka Apparel brand, and these cozy tri-blend shorts are both unique and well-made.

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Patagonia Women’s Baggies™ Shorts - 5”

This is a travel shorts list, so of course we have to include the Patagonia Baggies! They’re one of the products that Dan featured in the best travel shorts for men. They come in a women’s version and have the same throwback look: a high rise and relaxed fit.

They’re perfectly baggie and ready for travel action.

Patagonia’s Baggies shorts are known for a few things: coming in a number of fun colors (Pineapple Yellow, Pufferfish Gold, Salamander Green and Pimento Red, to name a few), coming in a lot of sizes (XXS to XXL), mesh pockets, a key loop and the durable water-repellent (DWR) finish.

Want them on sale? There seem to be a few colors on sale at any given time if you click the product page.

Patagonia Women's Baggies™ Shorts

The Patagonia classic comes in a lot of vibrant colors and sizes, with a water-repelling finish.

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DUER Live Free Utility Short

If you’re looking for versatility in women’s travel shorts, check out the DUER Live Free Utility Short. A big feature on these are the deep front pockets, which are good for busy days and multiple uses.

As for the fit: every size has a 5” inseam, which is modest and flattering. The fabric on the Live Free Utility Short is stretchy, with a lyocell component for moisture-wicking properties. They come in some limited-edition colors, but the mainstay is black.

For sizing, note that they run a little big. They don’t run quite as big as the DUER Midweight Denim High Rise A Line Shorts, but they still run on the large side. Size down if you’re in between sizes, or order two sizes, to get the right fit.

DUER Women's Live Free Utility Short

Deep front pockets and a 5” inseam make these a modest and versatile choice for shorts.

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The North Face Women’s Tekware™ Grid Shorts

I’m a big fan of The North Face (I’ve been wearing my Denali fleece jacket for two decades!) and I find the Women’s Tekware™ Grid Shorts to be modern athletic shorts for any travel scenario.

The North Face has focused on their FlashDry™ technology and a water-repellent finish for these shorts, making them semi-wind-resistant and good at managing moisture. In the details, find secure zippered hand pockets and an internal drawcord for adjusting the waistband.

The North Face Women’s Tekware™ Grid Shorts

The secure zippered hand pockets and quick-dry technology make these adventure shorts a winner.

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KUHL Women’s Freeflex shorts

Would you believe that the KUHL Women’s Freeflex shorts come in three flavors: cargo, “skort” and shorts? These shorts are made for the outdoorsy woman looking for a chino-style pair of shorts to be worn in summer.

The superpowers of KUHL’s fabric are that it is quick-drying, moisture-wicking, has UPF 50+ sun protection and a luxuriously lightweight feel. These shorts come in 10 colors and five standard sizes, with two options for inseam lengths.

KUHL Freeflex Shorts

Made for the outdoorsy and adventurous woman, these shorts also come in a cargo style and a skort.

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Jack Wolfskin Pack & Go Short

Jack Wolfskin makes these women’s hiking shorts as a packable and lightweight alternative to regular shorts. The Pack & Go Shorts are stretchy and moisture-wicking, and have a zippered back pocket, which makes them ideal for trekking and outdoor activities.

Jack Wolfskin Women's Pack & Go Short

These women's shorts are packable and lightweight, ideal for treks and hikes.

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