I'll admit it: My ever-growing activewear collection often sees more action at airports than at the gym. Go ahead and judge, I'll be too busy sprinting past you to the gate to notice your disapproving glances anyway.
Anyone who travels often knows comfort is key. For me, finding the ideal pair of sneakers (breathable, cushioned, slip-on, cute enough to be seen in upon landing) came first. Next, I set my sights on something slightly more elusive: travel pants I wouldn't hate spending hours in on a cramped airplane but that also wouldn't rule me out for a potential spur-of-the-moment first class upgrade. (Still waiting for that to happen, by the way.)
There are endless options out there when it comes to athleisure clothing these days, so this was definitely a trial-and-error process. After swearing off all jeans — a decision I have not once regretted — I realized I'm not a big fan of leggings either. That's where Athleta's Tribeca Crop Pant came in and changed my airport look forever.
Athleta's site actually has a “Travel Essentials” shop, where you'll find these front and center. Why? Because the absolute best travel pants are comfy without necessarily looking it. If I didn't see these listed as travel pants, I may never have given them a second glance, assuming they were stiff and office-y. But that's where they'll fool you: They actually are made out of a lightweight, wrinkle-resistant, stretch fabric with a waistband that's both supportive and stretchy. (By now you may be picking up on “stretch” as a key word here.) And my favorite part is probably the wide-leg style that comes with snaps so you can open them up a bit for extra flair (and a breeze) when it's hot and keep them closed when it's cold. Another key packing word: versatility.
To buy: athleta.com, $89
Don't just take my word for it, though, these pants have a 4.8 out of 5 customer rating. “My new go to pants,” one reviewer wrote. “These would be fabulous travel pants, which I will be using them for travel, work, and every day." Another added, "The lightest, most comfortable and versatile pants to wear every day ... definite must have for travel.”
Content with my travel pant inventory, I went back to Athleta hoping to solve another packing woe, especially as summer approaches: the need for a swimsuit that would look good poolside while also working for snorkeling, Jet-Skiing, not-so-skillfully trying out kitesurfing for the first time, or catching a wave. I'm inventive when it comes to finding new ways to get a tan on vacation.
While I might not be an athlete (seriously, you should've seen the kitesurfing), Athleta has real athletes try out their swimwear, so when they say it's high-performance, they mean it. For the average beach-goer, this means many come with UPF, so built-in sun protection; are made with a long-lasting material they call Lycra Xtra Life, so you don't have to worry about wear and tear; and tend to hold you in a bit and support you when a big wave comes out of nowhere. Some of my favorites are the high-neck bikini styles, which happen to block out my most vulnerable sunburn spot, but there are plenty of one-piece options and even a cropped rashguard. Very surfer girl chic.
To see the full collection, visit athleta.com.