14 Travel Cardigans to Stow in Your Carry-On (or Better Yet, Wear on the Plane)

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Best Travel Cardigans 2023
Paula Boudes for PureWow

Your bags are packed. Your hotel is booked. All that’s required from you is a *really* chic airport outfit. But between all that unpredictable A/C on the plane and varying degrees of body heat you might emit running from gate to gate, you’ll need an extra layer to keep you warm that you can easily peel off. Enter: The perfect packable travel cardigan to stow in your carry-on—or better yet, wear on the plane for some extra warmth.

While some cardigans serve to elevate your outfit (read: tailored fits and textured fabrics), others are a little more utilitarian and serve only to keep you warm (which, in many cases, is perfectly fine). Of course, a cardi that combines the best of both worlds is ideal, especially when it might be the one thing keeping you look (and feel) put-together during frazzling travel delays. 

To help you find one that hits the mark, we scoured the internet and consulted an expert stylist to find the best travel cardigans out there. To start, we can’t stop fawning over this uber luxurious long cardigan from Cuyana ($298), which is made of single-origin cashmere, or this fan-favorite, ever-versatile J.Crew cashmere wrap that serves as a cardigan, shawl and scarf in one.

Looking to take your travel wardrobe to the next level? Don’t go a single trip without our favorite cardigans for all your plane, train and automobile needs.

Travel Cardigans At A Glance


Best lightweight travel cardigan

Old Navy Shaker-Stitch Cardigan

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Best long travel cardigan

Jenni Kayne Sweater Coat

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Best short travel cardigan

Madewell Crinkled Cardigan

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Best oversized cardigan

Theory Cashmere-Blend Boxy Cardigan

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Best plus-size travel cardigan

Agnes Orinda Plus Size Velvet Cardigan

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Meet the Expert

Catherine Bibeau is a creative fashion designer and stylist with several years of experience in developing brand imagery and serving highly targeted audiences, all while staying ahead of emerging trends. Bibeau is skilled at developing lookbooks for photoshoots and marketing campaigns by coordinating brand imagery, look selection, hair styling and makeup. She’s worked alongside celebrity photographer Richard Bernadin, Victoria’s Secret model Flavia Lucini, and major brands including Dior, Lancôme, Guerlain, Veuve Clicquot, Moet & Chandon and Buffalo Jeans.

How We Chose the Best Travel Cardigans

When choosing the best travel cardigans, we prioritized our expert’s advice, perused top-rated picks at our go-to retailers, and browsed through a ton of shopper ratings and reviews. We also considered whether each cardigan came at a fair price, choosing highly rated pieces from a range of price points to fit every budget. 

Additionally, we selected cardigans with helpful features like deep, functional pockets, comfortable and performance-driven fabrics and cuts that provide either ample coverage or promote breathability.

The 13 Best Travel Wraps for Your Most Comfy Flight Ever

Best lightweight travel cardigan

1. Old Navy Shaker-Stitch Cardigan

Old Navy

  • Why We Like It: preppy look that elevates any airport outfit
  • What We Don’t Like: only comes in one color 
  • Material: cotton and linen
  • Size Range: XS to L

“A lightweight cardigan is always the most practical when you travel or for easy packing,” says Bibeau. “It’s easy to tie over your shoulders and permits you to wear it as the top or middle layer for extra comfort.” This option from Old Navy is hailed by shoppers as being the perfect lightweight pick, thanks to its blend of soft cotton and cool linen. It’s designed to hit just below the waist, and has ribbed-knit cuffs that allow its long sleeves to stay secure while providing an extra layer of visual interest. The four-button closure sits below a deep V-neck so your cute cami beneath can take center stage.

Best long travel cardigan

2. Jenni Kayne Sweater Coat

Jenni Kayne

  • Why We Like It: functions as both a cardigan and a light coat
  • What We Don’t Like: might be too bulky to pack easily
  • Material: merino wool, yak wool and elastane 
  • Size Range: XS to 3X

This “coatigan” has so much going for it, like a durable yak wool material with a high warmth-to-weight ratio and merino wool for ultimate breathability so you don’t overheat. Additionally, the structured-yet-relaxed silhouette provides ample coverage and range of motion (a must for when you’re dashing through the airport). Beyond its next-level fabrics, this quality cardi stands out for its front slit pockets that allow you to hold your belongings close by (phone and passport? check and check!) and its effortless open front to keep you ventilated. Plus, colors like oatmeal and gray make it easy to pair with everything else in your travel wardrobe.

Best short travel cardigan

3. Madewell Crinkled Cardigan


  • Why We Like It: super thin, making it easy to pack
  • What We Don’t Like: only comes in one color
  • Material: polyester and elastane
  • Size Range: XXS to XXL

Sometimes all you need is a thin layer to keep those shoulders away from the wrath of the plane’s blaring air-conditioning. That’s where this cute and comfortable cardi comes in. Its material comes pre-crinkled, which means you don’t have to fret over getting it wrinkly as you toss and turn to get comfortable in your seat. It hits just above the hip for a fit that’ll keep your high-waisted trousers or leggings on full display, and it features a classic button-down closure to adjust your ventilation. The jersey blend of polyester and elastane is lightweight, stretchy and comfortable, per shoppers, which is everything you want in a travel staple.

Best oversized cardigan

4. Theory Cashmere-Blend Boxy Cardigan


  • Why We Like It:  roomy fit, features a suede elbow patch 
  • What We Don’t Like: dry-clean only
  • Material: wool and cashmere
  • Size Range: XS to XL

“Theory cardigans are fantastic,” says Bibeau. “They’re very lightweight, durable, are guaranteed good quality and their fit is well-designed.” Nothing screams “I woke up like this” in the most effortlessly chic of ways than an oversized borrowed-from-the-boys cardigan, and we’re obsessed with this stylist-approved one from Theory for several reasons. With its blend of wool and cashmere, this boxy cardi should be incredibly soft, warm and cozy, no matter the climate or A/C situation. Deep pockets make it functional, while suede elbow patches add another element of durability and style.

Best plus-size travel cardigan

5. Agnes Orinda Plus Size Velvet Cardigan

Agnes Orinda

  • Why We Like It: velvet makes any outfit look infinitely dressier
  • What We Don’t Like: lint, dust or pet hair might stick to this type of fabric
  • Material: polyester and spandex
  • Size Range: 1X to 3X

For a dressier option that gives off all the regal vibes, opt for this jewel-toned cardigan with a velvety texture. It comes in either wine red or navy blue for a bold-yet-sophisticated pop of color and features a shawl collar that’ll keep your chest warm. Functional font pockets allow you to stash your belongings, while an open front makes it easy to throw on or peel off. It’s also got a touch of spandex added to the polyester material to provide a bit of stretch (read: comfort). Plus, its bum-covering length provides plenty of cozy coverage, ensuring you stay toasty and look cute on your travels.

Best cozy soft travel cardigan

6. Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Lite Circle Cardi

Barefoot Dreams

  • Why We Like It: ribbed collar shawl adds texture, super plush feel
  • What We Don’t Like: arms may run a bit tight
  • Material: nylon and rayon
  • Size Range: XS to XL

If staying cozy is the name of your travel game, you won’t want to pack for another flight without this open-front cardigan from Barefoot Dreams. It boasts the brand’s cult-favorite CozyChic microfiber material, which is known to be especially plush, and is topped off with a ribbed shawl collar that offers the style and structure of a scarf without the need to pack extra accessories. Two inset pockets make it a practical option for the plane, while its neutral hue will keep it on frequent rotation in your everyday wardrobe, even when you’re not en route to somewhere else. As a bonus, the cardi has the loveliest drapey silhouette that looks high-end but feels like pajamas.

Best cardigan for plane travel

7. J.Crew Oversized Cashmere Wrap


  • Why We Like It: luxurious feel, versatile construction
  • What We Don’t Like: if you’re looking for a shirt-style cardigan with sleeves, this isn’t for you
  • Material: cashmere
  • Size Range: one size

Who says you need to stick to tradition when it comes to choosing the perfect travel cardigan? This oversized cashmere wrap serves the purpose of a cardigan, shawl or blanket in one depending on how you wear it, saving you space in your carry-on and bulk in your seat. It also features the most buttery-soft cashmere fabric you’ll want to drape yourself in your entire trip. Wear it wrapped around your neck for just a touch of warmth, tied over your shoulders for a preppy look or draped around your entire torso as a makeshift blanket during your flight. Better yet, you can feel good about this purchase since it meets the Good Cashmere Standard, which certifies the welfare of all goats, natural resources and farmers involved in the manufacturing process.

Best affordable travel cardigan

8. Sndys Tia Knit Cardi


  • Why We Like It: oozes quiet luxury
  • What We Don’t Like: may be prone to wrinkling
  • Material: viscose, nylon and polyester
  • Size Range: XS to XXL

This elegant cardigan looks far more expensive than it actually is—and you have the dramatic sprawl collar and luxe, slouchy shape to thank for that. It’s got discreet side slant pockets that look anything but bulky, and it’s made with the silkiest viscose blend that should prevent you from overheating or feeling too stuffy under its long silhouette. Paired with its chic, neutral colorway, it has a quiet luxury aesthetic that’ll be a breeze to pair with whatever else you’ve packed for your trip. 

Best open cardigan

9. Spanx AirEssentials Cocoon Cardigan


  • Why We Like It: thick-yet-lightweight
  • What We Don’t Like: may run large due to grouped sizing
  • Material: modal, polyester and elastane
  • Size Range: XS to 3X

Open cardigans have this non-committal air about them that makes it feel like you’re wearing a blanket you can easily throw on or peel off. As its name suggests, this version from Spanx is deceptively airy, despite its thick, cozy material. According to tons of reviewers, you’ll be glad to be wrapped in its cocoon-like design and light-as-a-feather modal fabric. It features four-way stretch to keep you mobile, functional side pockets for your essentials and a slightly tapered fit that’s as flattering as it is comfortable. Here’s what one jet-setting shopper had to say: “Wore [this] from Texas to Ireland. Looked stylish from beginning to end of trip and [it] was so comfy to sleep on a transatlantic flight. Pockets are deep and placed perfectly for my phone. Love the high neck in back. No scratchy tags or seams. Worth the money and I will use [it] on all flights.” ‘Nuff said.

Best versatile cardigan

10. SweatyRocks Knit Cardigan


  • Why We Like It: classic look, great price
  • What We Don’t Like: made to be small, so size up for a roomier fit
  • Material: polyester, elastane
  • Size Range: XS to XL

If you’re unsure of where your travels will take you (after all, that’s part of the fun), opt for this highly versatile knit cardigan that’ll pair with everything in your suitcase and keep you comfortable and covered no matter what’s on the itinerary. It comes in a bunch of colorways and patterns, and it features a chunky knit or ribbed texture depending on the option you choose. A cropped length allows it to pair swimmingly with your favorite high-waisted jeans or dresses, and it features a wide V-neck that’ll show off your favorite stacked necklaces or tank top underneath. Buyers praise its soft feel and impressive quality, making it a great value for the price (especially with how much wear you’re sure to get out of it).

Best cashmere cardigan

11. Cuyana Single-Origin Cashmere Long Cardigan


  • Why We Like It: deep pockets, luxury material
  • What We Don’t Like: not many color options 
  • Material: cashmere
  • Size Range: XS to XL

To make your Economy seat feel more like First Class, bring this single-origin cashmere cardigan along for the ride. “My absolute favorite [type of cardigan] is cashmere,” says Bibeau. “It's elegant, durable and most importantly, it provides a fantastic feeling of comfort.” This cashmere cardigan will keep you comfortable indeed with its long silhouette that’ll feel like a blanket over your body. Side slits give it a flattering edge while providing a little extra breathing room, and its relaxed fit gives you plenty of give to snuggle up when and where you need it most.

Best warm cardigan

12. Quince Cashmere Duster Cardigan Sweater


  • Why We Like It: made of sustainable and ethically sourced cashmere
  • What We Don’t Like: no pockets
  • Material: cashmere
  • Size Range: XS to XL

Whether your seatmate blasts the air-conditioning or you venture off into (what feels like) an Arctic climate, an extra warm cardigan is always a wise investment when packing for your trip. This simple, polished number features a shawl collar that feels like a hug, ribbed cuff and hem details that add visual interest, and, most importantly, a grade-A cashmere fabric, which is said to be up to eight times warmer than wool. Its drapey open-front silhouette is especially versatile and easy to pull tight, and makes it a cozy second or third layer for your next trip.

Best spread collar cardigan

13. Vince Spread Collar Cardigan


  • Why We Like It: super soft alpaca wool
  • What We Don’t Like: might be too warm for certain climates or extended wear
  • Material: wool, nylon, alpaca, viscose and spandex
  • Size Range: XXS to XL

“Vince cardigans are great because their softness is one-of-a-kind,” says Bibeau. “The quality is always on point, and they always carry the classics in many different colors from neutrals to in-season trend colors.” She adds their fit is well-balanced, making them the perfect option for all body types (a testament to their popularity, she adds, is how easy they are to find in many stores and online). So, where to start? This spread collar option elevates the traditional cardigan look and features a fuzzy alpaca material you’ll never want to take off. Handy side-seam pockets make it more than just a pretty face, while a touch of stretch makes it functional for busy days getting to—and exploring—your destination.

Best cropped cardigan

14. Alo Yoga Chenille Chalet Cardigan


  • Why We Like It: trendy *and* practical
  • What We Don’t Like: tiny buttons might be hard to deal with (especially with long nails)
  • Material: chenille
  • Size Range: XXS to XL

Cropped cardigans aren’t just a must for any aspiring influencer’s #OOTD, they also make for a practical addition to your carry-on because they’re lower in bulk and only cover exactly what you need them to. This super soft Alo number is made of micro chenille fabric which shoppers say will keep you cozy without adding unnecessary fabric to your frame (and luggage). It features baggy bell sleeves to balance out the cropped style and offer an of-the-moment retro vibe, with a button front to offer a tad more coverage if you need it.

How Do I Choose a Flattering Cardigan?

While travel cardigans are inherently flattering, Bibeau recommends sticking to the following guidelines. “A flattering cardigan shouldn’t be too tight around the arms and pinch at your shoulders,” she says. “The feeling and quality of the fabric is also important. If you embrace and love the comfy feeling of it, you’ll look more stylish.” Bibeau also warns against opting for a travel cardigan that’s too sloppy or slouchy. No matter which option you choose, however, she says, “[a cardigan] is a timeless and classy piece.”

Where to Buy Travel Cardigans

You can buy travel cardigans virtually anywhere you find your favorite garments. If you’re looking for some budget-friendly options, you can’t go wrong browsing Amazon, Target or Old Navy. For mid-range price points, Madewell and J.Crew are great brands to browse, while you’ll find luxury items worth the splurge at stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Jenni Kayne.

How to Style Travel Cardigans

When styling a travel cardigan, the world is your oyster. “The best way to style a travel cardigan can be [to wear it] as a shirt itself, over a crewneck tee or even with a tank with a nice pair of jeans,” says Bibeau. Depending on the weight and thickness of the cardigan, Bibeau says you can wear it under a blazer that looks super sharp and sporty for a business-class-chic look. “A blouse with a statement collar looks super cute under a solid-colored cardigan,” she adds. “You can also use it as a fashion accessory worn over your shoulders, which gives your outfit a classic, [elegant] look…[and works as] a statement piece to dress up more casual outfits.”

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Freelance Writer

Marissa Miller is a freelancer with more than 10 years of experience editing and reporting on all things health, beauty, fitness, style and home for publications, including The...

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