The Best Travel Scarf for Every Trip (7 Great Options!)
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When I first started traveling, there were two things I was guaranteed to pack for every trip: my travel journal and a scarf. (I would also almost always forget to pack socks, funny enough!) Over time, I became a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to travel scarves. I have since written several posts about the best travel scarf options in the seven years I’ve been blogging.
In this new version, I’ve pulled together a list of some of my favorite travel scarf styles. Each one is unique, and they work best for different types of trips and destinations. While you don’t need to be wild like me and own so many different travel scarves, you might find that each fills a special need you have while traveling.
Read on for what I consider to be the best travel scarf options for each and every kind of adventure.
This post was originally written in August 2015, and was updated in November 2020.
What Makes a Great Travel Scarf?
Before jumping into my list of the best travel scarf options out there, it helps to define what I think makes a travel scarf good. Here are the three big criteria I use when deciding to add a new travel scarf to my admittedly large collection:
- Form – Is the scarf well-designed and well made? Is it sustainably made and/or of nice, high-quality materials?
- Function – First and foremost: does it work as a scarf? Does it work in any other capacity that might be helpful while traveling?
- Fashion – Does it look nice? Can I imagine how it will fit with the rest of my common travel wardrobe?
Since I’ve been traveling with scarves for years, I have a pretty high bar about what makes a travel scarf great – or just good enough. I’m confident the scarves you’ll see in this post are the best travel scarf options out there, based on my criteria and road-testing many styles personally.
Speakeasy Infinity Scarf
- Perfect for: Skipping the Money Belt
- Available in: dozens of patterns, including Moab which I’m wearing in the featured photo of this post (unfortunately no longer available!)
I’m super late to the game in recommending Speakeasy Travel Supply’s scarves – they’ve been popular among travelers for years thanks to their handy hidden passport pocket.
Now that I have my first one, I can attest: they’re comfortable, cute, and super handy for keeping important documents away from prying hands. And the pocket isn’t bulky, so nobody will know you’re even hiding anything.
If you’re worried about keeping other items safe while traveling, I’d also check out anti-theft fanny packs – these are great for fitting more than just your passport.
Chrysalis Cardi by Encircled
- Perfect for: Chronic over-packers, those up for a wardrobe adventure
- Available in: Cinnamon, Black (which I have), Navy Blue, Sapphire Blue, Plum Purple, Royal Blue, Bordeaux Red, Pink Clay (Petite only)
While the Chrysalis Cardi might not seem like it fits on the list (Cardi sands for “cardigan”), it’s actually one of the best travel scarves I’ve owned because it’s versatile and can be worn a number of other ways too.
The Chrysalis Cardi is versatile enough to be worn (at least) eight different ways – including two scarf styles. It’s also sustainably made and lasts; I’ve had mine for six years now!
(You can see me wearing my Chrysalis Cardi as a scarf in the second picture of this post and me wearing it on the red carpet at an awards ceremony here!)
- Perfect for: Additional wardrobe options
- Available in: Black, Heathered Misty Pink, Heathered Ultra Light Grey
I recently added a Lululemon Vinyasa scarf to my wardrobe (you can see it in my photos from Crescent City) to try a different convertible travel scarf. On the whole, I’m pleased: it’s warm and comfortable, and definitely adds options without requiring additional packing.
It’s not as agile as the Chrysalis Cardi, but the Vinyasa can be used a number of ways as both a scarf and a top; Lululemon has a video showing 7 ways they recommend.
- Perfect for: Dressing up quickly with limited wardrobe options
- Available in: thousands of colors and designs
I received my first Pashmina scarf many years ago, and it’s been a staple in my at-home and on-the-road wardrobes ever since.
What makes a Pashmina great as a travel scarf is that it folds up small, is surprisingly warm, and makes quick work of those unexpected (or on the itinerary) occasions where you need to dress up your outfit but can’t or don’t want to throw a whole new look into your suitcase.
- Perfect for: Overnight travel where you really need to sleep
- Available in: Tan, Burgundy, Green, Grey, Navy Pink
It has admittedly been a while, but I’m never shy about sharing that I sleep like garbage on overnight flights and train rides. Neck pillows just don’t work for me!
If you’re the same, try the Infinity Pillow. It packs down smaller for days of adventure, but turns into this infinity scarf of coziness when you need to catch some Zzzs.
- Perfect for: Leaving the Neck Pillow at Home
- Available in: Black, Heather Grey
If you like the concept of the Infinity Pillow I just mentioned but want something a little more subtle/space-efficient, consider the Sleeper Scarf.
This scarf combines the form and fashion of an infinity scarf with a hidden inflatable neck pillow. Wear the scarf all day, then blow up the neck pillow for that overnight flight, train, or bus ride.
SummerSalt Cashmere Blanket Scarf
- Perfect for: Staying warm and cozy even far from home
- Available in: Azure & Sea Urchin, Lava & Hibiscus
Last but certainly not least, every wise traveler knows the value of a blanket scarf. They serve so many purposes, from keeping you warm to bundling up to serving on occasion as a picnic or beach blanket.
You might not want to put this gorgeous cashmere blanket scarf from SummerSalt on the ground though – it’s gorgeous and soft, but also an investment piece for your wardrobe at home and abroad.
Note: Unfortunately this is no longer available!
Other Blanket Scarf Options
While I love the idea of having a cashmere blanket scarf as much as the next traveler, that might not be your style or in your budget. In that event, here are three other Blanket Scarf styles I love:
- HappyLuxe Travel Wrap & Blanket – This is a more affordable, everyday option that provides the same functions and comes in a number of colors.
- Candor & Class Wool Blanket Scarf – Depending on your destination, a wool blanket scarf might be a better option… or just help you blend in with locals in places like Scotland and Ireland!
- Keffiyeh – I got my first Keffiyeh on my trip to Jordan in 2016, and while it isn’t primarily designed to be a blanket scarf, it works well as one (in addition to as a scarf or head covering, which are the more traditional uses).
Oh, and you can always use your Chrysalis Cardi or Pashmina as a blanket when you get chilly while traveling! You know I love a good versatile scarf/travel wardrobe. 😉
Hopefully, these other options will help you find the perfect travel scarf for your next trip… or one that will work on all your future trips to come! Have questions about what I consider to be the best travel scarf options? Let me know in the comments!
Special thanks to Speakeasy Travel Supply for sending me a complimentary travel scarf to try. Same goes for Encircled, who took a chance on me many years ago and sent me a complimentary Chrysalis Cardi. While these two brands helped make this post happen, I made the final call on all of the scarves I included.
I love the scarf. They really can serve many many functions. I got the one with the zipper pocket for both of my girls, and the one who spent a semester in Spain practically wore it out. I always wear a lightweight, pale pink cotton scarf when I travel. It can be folded put behind my lower back for support, or wrapped around my face if the person next to me is coughing. Washability is key for me too. Thanks for sharing these great tips!
I love connecting with fellow scarf-lovers, Sarah! Thanks for your comment 🙂
I really enjoy your ideas about scarves. I’m just starting to get into the travel thing. I never even realized that one could “hide things” in scarves! “Good idea, Ollie” (I’m old so this saying hankers back to Laurel & Hardy comedians). lol
Thanks for reading, Angela! Scarves are such a handy way to do multiple things while traveling, that’s why I love them!