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Blue jeans are a beloved staple of most wardrobes. Unfortunately, jeans aren’t the best choice for travel. Jeans are heavy. They are bulky. They restrict blood flow and bind your legs on a long flight. They take hours and hours to air-dry when laundered. Fortunately, there is a travel worthy jeans alternative. I’d like you to give jeggings a try.

Lee Easy Fit jeans in a dark wash

Lee Easy Fit jeans in a dark wash. These jeans have two hand pockets and a coin pocket in the front. There are two patch pockets on the rear. They may look like jeans but they feel like pajamas. They are 2/3 the weight of regular jeans.

Blue jeans alternatives for travel

Jeggings have many travel worthy features

Stretch jeans are known as jeans-leggings or jeggings.  While regular jeans are made out of 100% cotton, jeggings are made out of a cotton/spandex blend.  Many are cut and dyed to look like regular blue jeans.  They have all the pockets that jeans have, and even have contrast stitching.  The key difference between jeans and jeggings is the addition of spandex in the jeans material.  Adding spandex does several things to the jegging material:

It gives it stretch.  You can actually sit comfortably on an airplane for 10 hours!  The stretch also makes jeggings less prone to wrinkles – not that anyone ever cared about wrinkled jeans.

It wicks water out of the garment.  The spandex acts like little capillaries to suck water out of the garment.  Jeggings dry in 1/2 to 1/3 the time that it takes regular jeans to dry.

It makes the material thinner.  Spandex is thinner than cotton.  Material that is part cotton and part spandex is thinner than 100% cotton.  That means that jeggings pack down smaller in your bag.

Jeggings are less bulky than jeans

A comparison of jeggings on the left Vs. jeans on the right. The jeans are twice as thick as the jeggings. They’re heavier too.

It makes the jeans lighter.  Spandex is lighter than cotton. My regular jeans weigh 1lb, 5.3 oz (0.63 kg).  My stretch jeans weigh 15.7 oz (0.44 kg).  That’s a weight savings of 5.6 oz (0.16 kg). It doesn’t sound like much until you are trying to make an airline weight restriction.  It is also the weight of a spare shirt or a few pairs of underwear.  It all adds up.

Jeggings work for many body types

Many people avoid jeggings because they think that they are skin tight and expose every figure flaw.  That may be true for jeggings made for teen agers, but other jeggings are made for adult bodies.  Many adult jeggings come in a heavier fabric that has the drape and feel of denim.  Stretch jeans, such as Lee Easy Fit jeans, come in a looser cut.  You may also want to size up with jeggings.  I normally wear jeans in a size 6 or 8 regular length.  When I buy stretch jeans I will buy a size 8 or 10 in the short length.  This gives me a looser jean that skims my body instead of hugging it.   The jeans don’t bag because of the spandex.

Jeggings work for many but not all trips

Jeggings work for many, but not all occasions.  I take them for shorter trips of less than 2 weeks.  I also bring them for casual trips where I am visiting my family.  I might take one pair of dark wash jeggings on a business trip, but would most likely use the space for another pair of dress pants.  Would I take them on a 3 week trip to Europe?  Probably not.  I’d rather bring stylish synthetic pants that I can use for a variety of activities.

Lee Easy Fit Jeans come in black too

Lee Easy Fit jeans come in black as well as various shades of blue. It’s an easy way to dress up a casual look.

Jeggings may not be appropriate for ultra-light trips, where every clothing piece needs to perform double and triple duty.  They are made of cotton so they aren’t good for trips that involve a lot of outdoors activities. They still take a long time to dry even though they take less time than regular jeans.  This would be a big problem if  you are traveling to a hot humid country.  Jeggings are also hot, just like normal jeans.  You won’t want to wear them to the tropics.

Give jeggings a try

Jeggings aren’t the perfect travel pant, but they are a great substitute for regular jeans.  If you normally travel with blue jeans then I’d suggest you try out some stretch jeans/jeggings.  I think you’ll like the features.

What about men?  Yes, there are jeans alternatives for them too.  Check out Snarky Nomad’s post on soft shell jeans.  They are made out of a different fabric than jeggings but are very appropriate for travel.