The 12 Best Travel Lotions of 2022

Our top pick, the Drunk Elephant Sili Body Lotion, ranks number one for its vitamin and butter-rich formula.

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Burt's Bee / Amazon / Amazon

Whether you’re on an epic journey to a snowy wonderland or retreating to warm climates, it's common to experience dry and flaky skin while traveling. And as winter creeps in, it gets even harder to keep skin moisturized, since cold weather also increases sensitivity and weakens protective barriers. Luckily, the best travel lotions make all the difference.

Dr. Kseniya Kobets, Director of Cosmetic Dermatology at Montefiore Advanced Care, says that hands are particularly vulnerable during travel. “When traveling, our hands do a lot of picking up, carrying, opening doors, and undergo a lot of hand washing. Hands are also exposed to the elements like cold, wind, and the sun," she explains. "What often exacerbates hand dryness is the harsh detergents that are available at most public establishments. These do a good job cleaning the skin, but at the same time they strip the skin of its natural oils and dry hands out.”

The best travel lotions mitigate the effects of cleansers and elements. “Lotion and creams reinforce the outermost layer of our skin—the epidermis, whose job is protection from pathogens like fungi, bacteria, and viruses—help with water retention, and protect skin from allergens and irritants,” Kobets says.

When choosing the best travel lotions, we looked for ingredients that nourish, protect the epidermis, and help retain moisture. We also considered whether each lotion is available in travel-friendly sizes. Our overall favorite, the Drunk Elephant Sili Body Lotion, is formulated with butters and ceramides that strengthen and hydrate and is available in a carry-on ready mini.

From perfumed formulas to soothing creams, these are the best travel lotions:

Best Overall: Drunk Elephant Sili Body Lotion

3.5
Drunk Elephant Sili Body Lotion

SpaceNK

Why We Love It: This cruelty-free lotion is formulated with various butters and ceramides that absorb quickly and work to restore the skin’s moisture barrier.

What to Consider: It has a light scent that disappears shortly after applying, so it shouldn’t be relied on for fragrance purposes.

Known for its high-performing products, Drunk Elephant is a favorite among skincare fans. Its Sili Body Lotion ranks as our number one travel option due to a formula that’s packed with ingredients your skin will love—and nothing it won’t. This lotion contains a blend of five ceramides, which Kobtes recommends to restore skin barriers that are essential for preventing moisture loss. It also contains marula butter, marula oil, and shea butter, which gently protect and provide anti-inflammatory support for the skin. Those who try to keep their skincare routines as clean as possible will appreciate that it contains no alcohol, sulfates, dyes, or silicones.

We love that Sili Body Lotion leaves behind a satiny feel without any of the greasy texture we find with some other lotions. And while this vegan, cruelty-free lotion gives off a very light almond-esque scent upon application, it quickly dissipates and won’t cause any seat-mates to turn heads or plug noses. The TSA-friendly, recyclable 2-ounce bottle is perfect for packing light, but we suggest also stocking up on a full-size Sili Body Lotion to refill the mini as needed.

Price at time of publish: $8 (2-ounce)

Sizes available: 2 ounces, 8 ounces

Best Budget: Burt’s Bees Milk and Honey Body Lotion

Burt’s Bees Milk and Honey Body Lotion

Burts Bees

Why We Love It: Burt’s Bees lotion is non-greasy and has 98.6 percent natural ingredients.

What to Consider: The fragrance is 100 percent natural, which may not be appealing to some users.

Burt’s Bees has a tried-and-true line of products that are great for the skin. This lotion comes in travel and full sizes, a perfect variety whether you want to toss it in your backpack or add it to your skincare cabinet. This luxe scented formulation includes grape seed oil, which manages acne breakouts, protects against UV rays and other environmental aggressors, and has vitamin E for hydration. Quick absorption means you’ll never have to decide between your skin feeling dry or overly greased.

Price at time of publish: $2 (1-ounce)

Sizes available: 1 ounce to 12 ounces

Best with SPF: Eucerin Daily Hydration Cream SPF 30

Eucerin Daily Hydration Cream SPF 30

Amazon

Why We Love It: This Eucerin lotion is fragrance- and dye-free.

What to Consider: It has light coverage, so it'll need to be applied liberally and often during prolonged sun exposure.

This simple yet effective option is great for daily use. Eucerin Daily Hydration Lotion provides lightweight moisture and crucial protection from harsh UV rays. The thin 8-ounce bottle makes it easy to slip on the side of a duffel or backpack, while sunflower oil and vitamin B5 help calm temporary redness and attract and retain moisture. The lack of fragrance is also ideal for days spent out in the sun, when insects can be attracted to the sweet smell of other products.

Price at time of publish: $7 (8-ounce)

Sizes available: 8 ounces, 16.9 ounces

Best for Hands: Ouai Hand Crème

5
Ouai Hand Creme

Why We Love It: The light floral scent is a pleasure to apply.

What to Consider: It’s only available in one rather pricey size.

Treat your hands to a comfortable and soothing mask with this hand lotion from Ouai. It’s formulated with murumuru butter to help the skin retain moisture, while coconut oil soothes and softens skin. This lotion is also free of sulfates and mineral oils, absorbs quickly into the skin, comes in a recyclable bottle, and has a sweet floral scent with notes of gardenia, violet, and white musk. Since a little goes a long way, the 3-ounce bottle should get you through a good amount of traveling.

Price at time of publish: $24

Sizes available: 3 ounces

Best for Feet: Aveda Foot Relief Moisturizing Creme

Aveda Foot Relief Moisturizing Creme

Aveda

Why We Love It: It contains fruit acids and jojoba oil to heal dry, cracked soles.

What to Consider: The relief only lasts for a few hours, so you will need to reapply often.

After a long day of exploring, it’s likely that your feet need some TLC. Thankfully, Aveda’s soothing and calming formula comes in both travel and full sizes and provides instant relief to sore, tired feet. Tea tree oil works to reduce redness and swelling, peppermint oil provides a cooling sensation, and lavender and rosemary oils help deodorize. However, the relief is temporary, so expect to reapply in harshly cold climates and over long periods of time.

Price at time of publish: $10 (1.4-ounce)

Sizes available: 1.4 ounces, 4.2 ounces

Best Multipurpose: Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb

Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb

Amazon

Why We Love It: This lotion contains hyaluronic acid and niacinamide for ultimate moisture.

What to Consider: It may not be ideal for those with oily skin.

You have to try it to Belif it. Essentially an all-in-one skin treatment for your body, this lotion works from the outside in to restore your skin. Comfrey leaf heals dry spots and calluses, while oat extract helps balance microbes. The supple feel can be a true treat, however, those with oily skin may want to use it sparingly. It’s available in three recyclable sizes, including a very travel-friendly .84-ounce.

Price at time of publish: $22 (.84-ounce)

Sizes available: .84 ounces, 1.68 ounces, 3.37 ounces

Best for Body: Bath & Body Works Dream Bright Ultimate Hydration Body Cream

Bath & Body Works Dream Bright Ultimate Hydration Bodycream

Bath & Body Works

Why We Love It: It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid for the ultimate burst of moisture.

What to Consider: The scents can be overwhelming for some and do not last long enough for others.

Bath & Body Works is a staple in many lotion lovers’ collections thanks to its wide array of fragrance options. Their newly formulated body cream is infused with all the goodies for the skin: hyaluronic acid to help flexibility and shea butter for moisture. This newly released scent is a wintery mix of berries, orchid, and vanilla, and it comes in a bottle made of 82 percent recycled plastic. We’re also big fans of the Japanese Cherry Blossom and Warm Vanilla Sugar mini lotions.

Price at time of publish: $9 (2.5-ounce)

Sizes available: 2.5 ounces, 8 ounces

Best to Buy in Bulk: Jergens Ultra Healing Dry Skin Moisturizer, Travel Size

Jergens Ultra Healing Dry Skin Moisturizer, Travel Size

Amazon

Why We Love It: It's loaded with vitamin.

What to Consider: The screw cap isn’t our favorite.

Buying in bulk is always a good idea when you’re constantly on the go. Jergens makes packing and traveling a breeze by making it easy to stock up on its well-known, unique formula that includes vitamins C, B, and E, which work to penetrate five layers of skin. It’s especially great for rough spots such as the knees, elbows, and heels.

Price at time of publish: $11 (10-pack)

Sizes available: 10 pack of 1-ounces, 24 pack of 1-ounces

Best Scents: Philosophy Hands of Hope

Philosophy Hands of Hope

Amazon

Why We Love It: In addition to a host of delicious smells, Philosophy’s line of hand creams includes hydrating ingredients.

What to Consider: Those sensitive to smell might find the scent too overwhelming.

Philosophy is known for its true-to-life scents and nourishing formula. From seasonal gingerbread to year-round favorites like the coconut- and guava-infused pure grace and lemon custard, there’s an option of this lotion for almost every scent preference. We especially love the berry & sage and green tea & avocado options. Formulated with fatty acids like macadamia nut and olive oil to retain moisture and aloe vera for a soothing refresh, this is the boost your hands need after hard work on long travel days.

Price at time of publish: $12

Sizes available: 1 ounce

Best CBD: The Body Shop CBD Replenishing Moisture Cream

The Body Shop CBD Replenishing Moisture Cream

The Body Shop

Why We Love It: It contains almost entirely natural ingredients.

What to Consider: The smell is potent and can be considered a turn-off for some.

With ingredients derived from 97 percent natural origin, this CBD oil creates a soothing environment for your senses and your skin. Squalane works to soften texture and control oil levels, while CBD combats breakouts and even soothes psoriasis. The addition of patchouli oil in this cream is anti-inflammatory, so it also reduces irritation and redness.

Price at time of publish: $34

Sizes available: 1.69 ounces

Best for Sensitive Skin: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration

4.9
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration

Amazon

Why We Love It: It’s a gentle formula for distressed skin that won’t cause irritation or redness.

What to Consider: It only relieves minor irritation, so may not be ideal for outdoor climates.

This clean and fragrance-free formula is perfect for those a bit more gentle around the edges. Colloidal oatmeal provides relief to itching and irritation caused by eczema and rashes and allantoin helps to shed dead skin cells. It’s also cruelty-free and fast-absorbing.

Price at time of publish: $16 (2-ounce)

Sizes available: 2 ounces, 6 ounces, 8 ounces

Best Eco-friendly: Lush Charity Pot Body Lotion

Lush Charity Pot Body Lotion

Lush

Why We Love It: It has chic and sustainable packaging.

What to Consider: The pot container isn’t the easiest to use when traveling.

Packaged in a fully recyclable black pot, this body lotion contains antioxidant rich moringa oil and soothing aloe gel as its base. Scents of rosewood and ylang ylang transport your nose and skin to fields of gentle flowers, and your recyclable pot turns into donations for small grassroot organizations.

Price at time of publish: $9 (1.58 ounces)

Sizes available: 1.58 ounces, 8.4 ounces

Tips for Buying a Travel Lotion

Know your skin type 

Knowing what your particular skin needs and likes is key when it comes to purchasing lotion: You want to identify if your skin is normal, oily, sensitive, or prone to reactions in certain environments. “If you have a rash, I would look for ingredients with aloe vera because it is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, and avoid products with fragrance,” Kobets says. “If you are not acne-prone, unrefined coconut oil also has similar properties to aloe vera and is very soothing, especially if you have eczema.” We also recommend doing a patch test on your skin with any new product. Leave it on for no longer than ten minutes to make sure your skin agrees with the formula.

Consider your scent preferences

Everyone wants to smell good, whether they prefer a scent reminiscent of fresh rainfall and cotton or juicy fruits and florals. As it is something you will likely be wearing for 12-plus hours, you want to ensure your lotion’s scent isn’t too potent—strong fragrances can cause headaches and even attract wildlife when you’re outdoors.

Look for hard-working ingredients

Because your skin changes in specific environments, you want to make sure you’re packing a lotion with ingredients tailored to the location. If you’re vacationing on the beach or in the canyons, SPF (a must!), oatmeal, and sunflower oil are ideal to help combat sunburn and irritation. If you’re going somewhere a bit more frigid, you’ll want something with multitasking humectants like niacinamide that can help brighten the skin and promote moisture.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How does lotion help our skin?

    Lotion is key to how our skin performs and adapts to different environments. “Overall, the purpose of lotions is to maintain or repair skin barrier by providing two functions,” says Kobets. “Rehydrating skin with humectants (i.e. glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and heparan sulfate analogs), and occlusion of skin via barrier repair with petrolatum, dimethicone, lipid complexes, ceramides and paraffin.”

  • What’s better, body butter or body lotion?

    It’s all dependent on your climate and your skin’s needs. A good rule of thumb to follow is to use body butter for the winter, as it holds more moisture, and lotion for the summer, as it absorbs quickly and is lightweight and more resistant to sweat.

  • Does lotion expire?

    Lotion does expire. Check the little jar symbol on the package, and it will state how long the product is good for (i.e: 12M = 12 months). You’ll know your lotion is expired when you see a change in its consistency and color (i.e: from thick to watery or white to yellow).

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Náosha Gregg is a Broadcast Associate at CBS Mornings and a freelance writer. She has a passion for all things beauty and skincare. Her work has appeared in Glamour, Byrdie, The Zoe Report, and more. To curate this list of the best travel lotion, she scoured through dozens of products and spoke to dermatologist Dr. Kseniya Kobets, who is the director of Cosmetic Dermatology at Montefiore Einstein Advanced Care in New York City.

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