12 Made-for-Travel Water Bottles with the Best Features

These are the best travel water bottles by travel style.
silver travel water bottle sitting on a bench in a forest
(Photo: Envato/yanishevskaanna)

What makes a water bottle good for travel? On the one hand, it’s pretty straightforward: it holds water and doesn’t leak. But on the other, it really depends on what you want and need out of your water bottle. Do you want it to be light and small enough to tuck away when you’re not using it? Do you prefer something that keeps the water cool all day? Do you want to be able to filter your water as you drink it? Here are our recommendations for the best water bottles for travel, broken down by the functionality you want. 

Tips for Traveling with Water Bottles

  • Bring the right lid: Any time you’re dealing with pressurized air (hello airplane cabin) or aren’t going to be able to keep your water bottle upright at all times, swap the drinking straw flip top for a standard screw-top lid. True story: I forgot to do this and ended up with a soaked laptop on a plane. It was a very bad start to a trip.
  • Match the water bottle to the trip: The same water bottle might not work for every trip. For instance, I love my super-filtering Lifestraw Go, and it’s my go-to on trips where water quality or taste is an issue, but if I’m traveling light and opting for a day bag rather than a backpack, I might bring my more petite and lighter-weight Nicemer instead.
  • Remember to use it: In places where single-use plastic bottles are the norm, it can feel easy to just fall into the drink/discard pattern. And yes, in places where tap water isn’t safe for travelers to drink, you’ll likely need to use single-use plastic bottles. But to reduce the impact, buy the biggest bottle of water you can find and fill your reusable water bottle from that, which will cut down on the plastic. If you’re staying at a hotel, keep an eye out for filtered water refill stations; more and more hotels are offering them as a way of reducing landfill waste. 
  • Have a plan for cleaning the bottle: Part of what makes me less likely to use my water bottle when I’m traveling is that, after a few days, it needs a good cleaning but all I have is a hotel bathroom sink. Bottle cleaning tablets are super handy for travel; they’re small and pack easily and they make it so you can clean your water bottle without a sponge or dish soap.

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Best All Around Water Bottle for Travel

Maybe you’re uncomplicated about what you want out of a water bottle and none of the categories below apply to you. You really are just looking for a vessel that holds water and doesn’t leak and you’re surprised there’s any more to it than that.

For the true minimalist, there’s the Vapur water bottle, which comes in a range of fun colors but, ultimately, is just a bag for your water. It rolls up small when not in use, weighs basically nothing, and is pretty leakproof. 

Other great options include the tried-and-true wide mouth Hydroflask, which keeps liquids cool but isn’t the heaviest insulator on the market; and the Yeti Rambler is well-insulated, generously sized (26 ounces), and has both a chug cap (essentially a drinking funnel that keeps you from dumping water all over yourself while taking a quick swig) and a twist on cap that sits over the chug cap and keeps things leakproof. 

Best Water Bottles for Water That Doesn’t Taste Good

Lifestraw Go waterbottle in a carry-on bag in front of a red wall
The Lifestraw Go water bottle removes bacteria, parasites, and funky tastes and odors (Photo: Christine Sarkis)

If you’re traveling somewhere where the water tastes different than what you’re used–even if it’s still safe to drink–you might find it hard to stay hydrated. Enter water bottles with built-in filtration systems, bottles that remove odors, flavors, and even bacteria. 

The gold standard option in this category is Lifestraw’s Go Series, which comes in both double-wall insulated stainless steel and BPA-free plastic. The built-in two-stage filter (it filters as you drink) filters bacteria, parasites, microplastics, sand, dirt, and cloudiness with its membrane microfilter and then gets rid of chlorine and odors with its carbon filter. It also comes in a range of great colors.

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Brita also makes a water bottle that comes in both stainless steel and BPA-free plastic. Like its larger pitchers, Brita’s water bottles have a single filter that reduce chlorine taste and odor.

Best Water Bottles for Tossing in a Purse or Day Pack

person with a collapsible water bottle attached to their backpack
Collapsible water bottles take up less space but can be a bit wobbly (Photo: Envato/allasimacheva)

There are so many travel scenarios in which it’s nice to have some water on hand but you don’t need to be lugging a survival amount of liquids on sightseeing days out. The key here is to avoid leaks at all costs. 

If what you want is an insulated stainless steel bottle that’s small enough to toss into a day bag or purse, the 12-ounce Nicemer is a good choice. It’s a leakproof water bottle designed for kids, but it’s also a great option for adults who want to streamline their water bottle. 

There’s also a whole world of bottles made of materials that can be folded or compressed when not in use. Among our favorites in this category are the Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle, which rolls up and doesn’t leak. There are also silicone bottles that accordion out to expand–brands like Nefeeko and Onta are good examples of these. The downside of these types of bottles is that they lack structural integrity, which can make them tricky to hold and difficult to fit into a water bottle pocket on a backpack. But if you’re aiming for a lightweight bottle that doesn’t take up space when it’s empty, the benefits might well outweigh these minor challenges. 

Best Water Bottles for Hot Places

Insulation is everything when it comes to keeping water cool, as is sticking with steel so you don’t get the funky plastic taste that happens when you leave a plastic water bottle in the sun (not to mention the health concerns). 

Hydroflask’s standard mouth bottle comes in more than a dozen colors, and is an insulated water bottle that keeps colds cold for up to 24 hours and hots hot for 12 hours. Its stainless steel interior doesn’t transfer flavors to water and its screw-on flexcap is leakproof. The bottle comes in 18-, 21-, and 24-ounce sizes.

The Thermoflask double wall vacuum insulated stainless steel water bottle is serious about keeping liquid temperatures steady for a long period of time. It also keeps water cold for up to 24 hours, and hot liquids hot for 12 hours. It comes with a leak proof chug lid (a wide-mouth spout that lets you drink a lot at once) as well as a straw lid. 

Best Water Bottle for Traveling Kids

kid on a playground holding a water bottle
Keeping kids hydrated on vacation is easier if everyone has their own water bottle (Photo: Envato/Fotoring)

Having watched my kids use water bottles for nearly a decade, I can, with confidence, say the following: first, kids drop water bottles. A lot. Second, kids do not store water bottles upright. Third, if the water in the bottle tastes weird or is the wrong temperature, kids are not going to drink enough water. So it follows that the best water bottles for kids are nearly indestructible, close easily and seal well, and don’t impart odors or flavors into the water.  

Water bottle tops with drinking straws make drinking water so easy, but they also make water bottles prone to leakage. To get some of the same sipping ease with no leaks, look for water bottles with a tapered top. 

The Mira Cascade, a tapered insulated steel bottle available in 12-, 17-, and 25-ounce sizes, has all the functionality and style of S’well bottles, but at a price point that’s kid-friendly (and by that, I mean, if and when they lose the bottle, it’s not going to be as big of a deal). S’well bottles are also great, but they’re about twice as expensive as Mira bottles. 

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Christine Sarkis
A traveling parent and longtime travel writer and editor, Christine Sarkis is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of FamilyVacationist. She is the former Executive Editor for TripAdvisor travel magazine SmarterTravel.com, she has spent nearly two decades finding and sharing the best places to go with an audience of enthusiastic travelers. Her stories have appeared on USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. Her expert advice has been quoted in dozens of print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also shared travel tips on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, Here & Now, Life Kit, and California Now. Her stories have been published in the anthologies Spain from a Backpack and The Best Women's Travel Writing 2008, and she is working on a travel memoir. Christine and her husband first met in Paris, and travel remains a big part of their shared experience. With their two kids in tow, they have piloted a barge down canals in France, befriended llamas in Peru, tended olive trees in Italy, and gone snorkeling with sea turtles in Hawaii. The family lives in California and loves traveling around the state. Their California favorites include Yosemite National Park, Point Reyes National Seashore, and the West Shore of Lake Tahoe.