Which Towels To Bring On Vacation

Which Towels To Bring On Vacation

Which Towels to Bring on Vacation

When you go on vacation, there are so many things you need to remember to bring. However, one item you might forget to consider is a towel. You may stand over your full suitcase wondering whether you need to pack beach towels or if you can rely on the free hotel towels. But what if you’re planning to stay in a hostel, where guests are often encouraged to rent towels or bring their own?

There’s no need to stress out over towels before a vacation. You just need to consider whether a towel is needed for your trip and, if so, which type is best.


Do You Need to Pack Towels for Your Vacation?

The need to bring your own towel depends on three things:

  1. The type of trip you’re taking
  2. What activities you have planned
  3. How much luggage you have

If you’re going on an all-inclusive vacation at a resort, towels will most likely be provided by the resort or hotel, so you don’t need to take any of your own. But, if you’re going backpacking, staying at hostels or camping outdoors, you may want to bring your own towel. Similarly, if you expect your vacation to be filled with beach days and water activities, a towel is required. 

However, if you’re flying, you also have to consider airline weight limitations, which can impact whether you take a towel  and which type of towel to take.

Which Towels To Pack On Vacation

Which Towels to Bring on Vacation

If you do decide to bring a towel with you on vacation, it’s important to consider which ones would be best suited for your particular trip. It’s also a good idea to check with your accommodations ahead of time to see if complimentary towels are offered or  in the case of some hostels  towels are only available to rent.

There are four main types of towels you’re likely to consider:


  1. Beach towels
  2. Bath towels
  3. Travel towels
  4. Microfiber towels

Each of these types of towels has its own set of pros and cons to consider.


1. Beach Towels

Even if your hotel offers bath towels, many don’t offer beach towels, so if you’re planning a vacation filled with beachside fun, packing a beach towel would be worthwhile. 


Beach towels, unlike bath towels, tend to be less fluffy, which means they’re often much thinner. They’re also more lightweight than bath towels, which makes them a better option if you have weight limitations on your luggage. 

Their weight also makes them a decent substitute for bath towels, just in case your accommodations don’t provide any. While beach towels are thinner than bath towels, they are still fairly absorbent since they’re designed to dry you off after a dip in the water. They are also the better option for lounging on the hot sand.

Arriving at your vacation resort, prepared for beachside or poolside fun, only to find the resort doesn’t provide beach towels can put a damper on your entire trip, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared. Even so, if you find your towel is unneeded, you can always leave it behind on your way back to lighten your luggage. Or, it can act as padding for any fragile souvenirs you pick up.

Beach towels are also sometimes sold as souvenirs themselves, so you could always buy a souvenir beach towel to use and bring home as a keepsake of your vacation.


As mentioned, beach towels aren’t as absorbent or soft as bath towels, so you may not get that same post-shower comfort from drying off with a beach towel that you would get with a nice, fluffy cotton bath towel. 

Although they’re lighter than bath towels, beach towels can still be pretty bulky and add to your overall luggage weight  not to mention, they might take up a lot more room than you have available. This is especially a concern for backpackers who need to travel light.

A good solution is to check ahead with your hotel or hostel to see if they offer free towels. If your accommodations offer free towels, you can leave the beach towel behind and use the hotel’s bath towel for the beach and request more towels for your room. 

If you’re able to, you could also just buy a cheap souvenir beach towel to use on your vacation and leave it behind when you leave if it’s too bulky to bring back with you. If you do pack beach towels and find they’re not needed, plan ahead and pack old towels, so you can leave them behind if your luggage is starting to weight too much.

2. Bath Towels

It can be tempting to bring along your favorite cotton or cotton-blend towel on vacation. You know for a fact that they’re reliable and comfortable, so why not bring that certainty along with you? 


Few things are better than getting out of a shower and wrapping yourself in a warm, fluffy towel that smells like home. This experience is heightened when on vacation, especially if you’re prone to homesickness. Bringing along your own bath towel can be a great comfort, and bath towels are much better at ensuring you’re properly dry after a shower.

bring a bath towel on vacation

Bringing your own bath towel also prevents the risk of developing any skin irritation from hotel towels washed in industrial detergents. You also won’t need to worry about how often hotels wash their towels and whether they’re washed well enough to kill bacteria and germs from the guests who used them before you.

Plus, if hotel towels are available on your trip, your bath towel can act as a beach towel, as well. This saves you from having to buy a beach towel  and it may even save you from having to pay for a towel rental, which is common at many hostels.


As with beach towels, bath towels aren’t designed to fit into a tiny suitcase or backpack. Their absorbency depends on them being bulky and heavier than other towels to ensure they perform their duties as expected. 

While bath towels are much more absorbent, they also take a long time to dry, which can be a hassle if you’re planning on frequently traveling from place to place. Backpackers staying at hostels or in the great outdoors may have trouble finding a place to hang bath towels to ensure they are completely dry before packing them into their bags. 

Packing a towel that isn’t completely dry can lead to mold and mildew, which can be a pain to clean. It can also transfer to the rest of your clothes, creating a health hazard and embarrassing stench that will follow you for the remainder of your trip.

A good solution is to call ahead and see if your accommodations provide free bath towels for guests. Chances are, they do, so you won’t need to bring your own. If you do decide to pack one only to find you didn’t need to, you can always leave it behind instead of lugging it back with you. However, bath towels are great if you’re planning to drive to your destination and don’t have to worry about luggage weight.

Backpackers and campers are better off investing in travel towels, but if you’re planning an extended vacation in one place or are moving abroad temporarily, a bath towel from home is a wiser investment than relying on your accommodations to provide you with one.

3. Travel Towels

For seasoned travelers, travel towels are a lifesaver. Designed to be extra slim and lightweight, these towels can be folded up to take up much less space than beach or bath towels. These towels can also be versatile, depending on the material they’re made of, performing the functions of blankets, umbrellas and even scarves.


The size of a travel towel is its biggest selling point since it’s designed for people who are traveling with limited luggage and need to make the most of the little space they have. They’re also incredibly thin and lightweight while still being very absorbent, depending on the material they’re made of.

Despite being so absorbent, travel towels are designed to dry much faster than traditional cotton towels, making them great for backpackers and travelers who plan to move from place to place. They’re also great for the budget traveler who’s looking to save money because they allow you to not buy or rent a towel in every city you visit.

Another bonus is that they can also double as beach towels if need be, saving you the money you would otherwise spend on a beach towel while traveling.


Travel towels are designed for travelers, but that doesn’t mean they’re without potential drawbacks. While they’re much thinner and more lightweight than bath towels or beach towels, travel towels can still be heavier than you’d like and get in the way of sticking to airline weight limitations. Depending on the material of your travel towel, it could still be heavier than you anticipated.

The material of travel towels can also affect how useful they are to you. Travel towels made from certain materials, such as linen or rayon, are very absorbent, but synthetic materials, like polyester, won’t provide the same levels of absorbency. 

Travel towels can also be more expensive than other towels since they’re sometimes marketed as yoga towels made with environmentally friendly fibers.

4. Microfiber Towels

Lightweight, absorbent and compact, microfiber towels are popular among travelers  and for good reason, too. These towels are popular in many industries, but they find a lot of success with frequent travelers, who appreciate their compact size and universal functionality. 


Microfiber towels are great to bring on vacation

Their lightweight material and the fact that they come in multiple sizes and can be folded into a small, compact shape make microfiber towels a popular choice for backpackers in particular. However, they’re a great choice for any occasion, from a Sunday morning hike near your home to a week-long camping trip hours away. 

Because they are available in various sizes, you can take multiple towels with you without sacrificing a lot of space. And, like travel towels, they can easily be used as beach towels or bath towels, as well. 

Microfiber towels are designed to dry quickly, and most come with a small loop, so you can hang it up before showering and then after to dry. These towels are a great investment, especially for budget-minded travelers and those who include a lot of outdoor activities in their travels. Microfiber towels are also easy to wash, so they’re great for long trips.

While microfiber towels are quick-drying, it’s important to make sure you buy yours from a reputable source to ensure the towels have built-in antimicrobial features, which will prevent moisture from sitting in the fibers and encouraging bacteria and mildew growth.


If you’re used to using 100% cotton towels after your shower, you may feel a bit uncomfortable using a microfiber towel for the first time because it may feel like the towel is absorbing all the water from your body, but not the moisture. You may need to get used to the idea of patting dry your body after a shower instead of wiping off the excess water.

But no matter how soaking wet a microfiber towel gets, it will dry much faster than a cotton bath towel  however, it will still take some time to dry. Some people think microfiber towels dry immediately, but what they are is quick-drying, so they still need to be hung out for a while before they’re 100% dry. 

Overall, microfiber towels are best suited for travelers who are more concerned with function than comfort.

Alternate Options

Sometimes, it pays to come prepared and be a little creative, which is why many travelers bring along items that can be used in multiple ways when they’re on the road. 

Sarongs are a popular option since they can double as clothing and a towel, and some scarves can be similarly multipurpose. If you’re really in a pinch, you can even use a T-shirt for a towel. 

Of course, it’s always best to be prepared, so you don’t have to resort to alternate options, but it never hurts to expect the unexpected. 


Trust Towel Super Center for All Your Towel Needs

Save your guests the trouble and stock your hotel, hostel or resort with high-quality, 100% cotton terry cloth towels from Towel Super Center. By providing wholesale towels for sale, we’re able to help you stock your establishment with quality towels that are soft, absorbent and applicable to a range of industries  all at a budget-friendly price.

Make your towels a part of your company’s identity by choosing from our selection of vibrant colors and top-notch towels. Shop our towels based on application, size or color today. Or, get in touch with us using the online contact form or by calling toll-free at 1-888-664-0951.

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