9 Best Men's Shorts for Travel

The 9 Best Mens’ Shorts for Travel

Shorts on men can be a tricky subject. They're not always appropriate for dinner or a bar, but when it comes to warm weather travel, there’s nothing more essential for comfort than a dependable pair of shorts. Beyond keeping you nice and cool, many styles offer added bonuses like quick-drying material and sweat-wicking tech. Not all shorts are created equal, though, and while many are incredibly versatile, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Some shorts are presentable enough for a lunch date but would be useless in water (and vice versa). Read on for our list of nine of the best pairs of mens' shorts for travel, which will have you covered no matter the (casual) occasion.

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Columbia PFG Backcast III Water Short

Men's Men's PFG Backcast III Water Short

If your next trip involves fishing, whitewater rafting, or any high-octane water sport, you’ll want to pick up a pair of water shorts from Columbia. Made with quick-drying nylon, wearers can step in and out of the water without worrying about needing a towel. If that isn’t enough to sway you, the built-in UPF-50 sun protection keeps your legs safe from harmful rays no matter how long you’re out and about. These shorts are available in 15 color options, including navy, black, and orange. They won’t break the bank, so they’re really a no brainer for your next trip.

$30 at Columbia

Levis 511 Cutoff Denim Shorts

511 Cutoff Denim Shorts LEVI'S Men's

Full disclosure: Cutoff denim shorts certainly aren’t for everyone, but if you’re planning a brewery tour or going to a rock show, you might as well fit in. It’s hard to beat Levis at the jean game and their cutoff denim shorts definitely deliver with a fit based on the brand’s iconic 511s. The pair has a zip fly, a traditional five-pocket design, and an 11-inch inseam (rolling them will place them right above the knee). Just like a quality pair of jeans, you can easily wear them more than once before needing to wash them, so they should take you through the bulk of your vacation. 

$59.50 at Nordstrom

Lululemon Surge Short 4” *Liner

Lululemon Surge Short 4" Liner Men's Shorts

Want to show off your legs on your next run? Lululemon has you covered, or, well—exposed. With an inseam of 4 inches, these are practically the length of boxer briefs, but they have the functionality of well-designed gym shorts. Made with sweat-wicking fabric and lined with a quick-drying mesh, they’re guaranteed to keep you cool. If you get really warm, the waistband loop is there to tie the top you shed. And believe it or not, these little shorts even have a built-in phone pocket at the waist, so you can listen to podcasts while you run. They also pair beautifully under a pair of joggers or sweatpants if you’re looking to layer. 


Polo Ralph Lauren Stretch Cotton Classic Fit Chino Shorts

Polo Ralph Lauren Stretch Cotton Classic Fit Chino Shorts

Don’t knock a classic. You’ve probably already seen these preppy shorts from Polo Ralph Lauren before, but that’s for good reason. The best part of a good pair of chino shorts is that they can be dressed up or down as you see fit; throw on a crisp button-up, and you’ve got a casual dinner-appropriate outfit. These are made true to size with a slight stretch, and the 9.5-inch inseam lands right above the knee. Don’t forget them—they’ll be your go-to pair for anything from an urban hike to a drink by the pier.

$89.50 at Bloomingdale's

Patagonia Men's Baggies Long Shorts

Patagonia Men's Baggies Longs Shorts

When packing light, it doesn’t make sense to pack multiple pairs of shorts for an outdoor adventure. The smart choice is to go with one pair that can handle a hike, a swim, heavy sunlight, and whatever else your destination can throw at them. Patagonia’s Baggies long shorts are your answer. Made with a water repellent finish and UPF 50+ sun protection, this will be your go-to pair of shorts for whatever the world throws your way.


Bonobos Core Shorts

Bonobos Men's Core Shorts

If you refuse to let travel disrupt your workout routine, keep a pair of Bonobos Core Shorts handy. The mix of polyester and spandex gives plenty of stretch for an out-of-town yoga class, exploratory jog, or weight session in the hotel gym. The boxer brief liner is designed for comfort and support, with an assist from flatlock seams to prevent chafing. Unlike many other gym shorts, Core Shorts actually have pockets, so your key card will be safe and sound. They’re available in 5-, 7-, and 9-inch inseams, so whether you like to show off your legs off or keep them tucked away, Bonobos has your style in three neutral colors and one bold pattern.

$58 at Bonobos

Tommy Hilfiger Cargo Shorts

Tommy Hilfiger Men's 10" Cargo Shorts

Occasionally, function needs to beat fashion. Look, we know cargo shorts aren’t exactly a happening style, but Tommy Hilfiger comes through with a chino or stone pair that look about as good as possible. If a hike is on your travel agenda, the last thing you want is to leave behind essential gear because you don’t have the space to stow it. Of course, the main draw with cargo shorts is the large pockets. The Tommy Hilfiger pair feature two cargo pockets, a flat front pocket, and a lengthy 10-inch inseam. When it comes time to wash them, they require no extra care.  Since they’re made of 100-percent cotton you can just throw them in the laundry and move on to your next adventure.

$55 at Macy's

Billabong Sundays Layback Board Shorts

Sundays Layback Board Shorts BILLABONG

If your swimsuit looks silly out of the water, then it’s time to upgrade from what you’ve likely been wearing since high school. A good pair of board shorts, like these from Billabong, are just as comfortable on land as in water, plus they’re stylish enough to catch an eye or two at the beach bar. These feature an adjustable waistband, a 7-inch inseam, and a choice between two different bold patterns. You won’t regret the upgrade! 

$49.95 at Nordstrom

UO Raw Hem Knit Short

Urban Outfitters UO Raw Hem Knit Short

Sometimes the best part of a trip is getting to hang out in your hotel room, catch up on Netflix binges, and do a whole lot of relaxing between planned outings on your itinerary. Nothing fits the do nothing task quite as well as these raw hem knit shorts from Urban Outfitters. Made with soft terry cotton and an adjustable drawstring, they’re cozy and don’t run the risk of getting too tight after repeat meals from room service. When you are ready to venture from your room, they’re fashionable enough to get the job done. Plus, at just under $30, they have a pretty sweet price tag. 

$29 at Urban Outfitters

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