Travel-Friendly Water Bottles That Don't Spill, Leak or Get Moldy & Gross

From lightweight plastic to insulating stainless steel, from easy to gulp wide mouths to convenient sipping straws, these are the best water bottles to withstand your next trip.

By Megan Gray May 22, 2024 2:00 AMTags
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TL;DR: The Best Travel-Friendly Water Bottles:


When I was a kid, I never remember drinking water. I swear that I survived on SunnyD and Kool-Aid (it was the 90s). But now that I'm older and wiser, and have finally figured out what pants look good on me, I know how important it is to stay hydrated (especially when you're traveling). And one of the easiest ways to get that hydration is with a reusable water bottle that easily fits in your bag, purse, or carry-on luggage. The best water bottles for traveling are made of plastic or stainless steel and feature the lid, spout, or straw that you prefer. Plus, it should have a leakproof design so you can throw it in your bag without worry (all of the bottles below promise to be leakproof). Lastly, keep an eye out for bottles with filtration options, which are essential when you're camping or in a place where you don't trust the water. Scroll down for features and some tips for water bottle cleanliness.

What Features Should You Consider in a Water Bottle When You're Traveling?

There are a few different features you can look for in a travel-friendly water bottle. Essentially, it all comes down to your personal preference, but here's what you should keep in mind:

  • Material & Insulation: What your water bottle is made of will affect its durability, how it maintains temperature, and how much it weighs. Stainless steel, although durable, is prone to dents and scratches over time, but they can have insulation that keeps water cold for up to 6 hours, typically. Plastic water bottles won't keep drinks as cold, but they're lightweight, which is super important if you're traveling. There's even plastic bottles that are collapsible or fold into themselves for increased portability. Glass bottles are another option, but due to their weight and ability to break, I kept them off this list. 


  • Lids & Spouts: Water bottle lids vary, but you'll typically see straws, screw tops, chug caps, and sports caps. What you choose depends on your personal preference. Straw lids include an external spout that flips up on the cap and connects to an internal straw that must be cleaned separately. A screw top usually comes with a handle for convenient carrying and is ideal for quick gulps, but may be hard to sip from in a moving car. And sports caps have a plastic, rubber, or silicone piece that releases water when you squeeze the bottle.

 Whether you're getting on a plane, train, or automobile, these are the best travel-friendly water bottles to keep you hydrated and refreshed every step of the way.

The Best Overall

Owala FreeSip Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, 24 oz.

With a sleek design and several cute color combinations, the Owala stainless steel water bottle looks stylish and has some great features. It's got a built-in straw for sipping, but the spout can also be used for swigging, and a leakproof lid that protects the spout (a plus when you're on the go). Beverages inside can stay cold for up to 24 hours, it's dishwasher-safe, comes in four size options, and it's backed by a near-perfect 4.8-star rating from over 31,000 reviews.

The Most Budget-Friendly Plastic Water Bottle

Pogo Plastic Water Bottle, 32 oz.

Priced under $10, the Pogo plastic bottle is a great budget-friendly pick. The chug spout is protected by a flip cap and there's a convenient carry loop for taking it on the go. It's dishwasher safe and comes in 18-ounce, 32-ounce, and 40-ounce sizing.

The Most Budget-Friendly Stainless Steel Water Bottle

MIRA Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle, 17 oz.

Available in a 17-ounce and 25-ounce option, plus several color options, this stainless steel water bottle is sleek and priced under $16. It can keep hot liquids hot for up to 12 hours and cold liquids cold for up to 24 hours. The sleek, leakproof design and chug spout is easy to slip into any bag on any trip.

The Water Bottle That Folds Up

Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle, 25 oz.

With easy folding capabilities, the Nomader is a solid pick for the way it takes up zero space in your bag. It's made of a silicone body and features a leakproof cap, a carry strap, and a wide mouth, which makes cleaning easy. Heat-resistant and freezer-safe, it can also hold up to a lot of wear and tear. 

The Best Water Bottle with a Spout Lid

Takeya Actives Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, 22 Oz.

The Takeya stainless steel water bottle features a protect spout lid, leakproof design, and a convenient carry loop that's perfect for on the go hydration. It comes in five size options and can keep cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours.

Never Scrub a Water Bottle Again: These $8 Cleaning Tablets Have 25,100+ 5-Star Reviews

The Best Wide Mouth Water Bottle

Nalgene Wide Mouth Water Bottle, 32 oz.

I've had my Nalgene for years and love its durability and how easy it is to clean. Made of plastic, it's lightweight, leakproof, and comes in a few colors. There's a wide mouth for chugging and a carrying loop for convenient portability.

The Most Lightweight Water Bottle

CamelBak Podium Bike Water Bottle, 21oz.

Weighing just 2.57 ounces, this CamelBak plastic water bottle feels like nothing in your bag. It's designed for biking, so it features a squeezable design for instant hydration. The spout is also protected by a cap, which is great for keeping out dirt and impurities.

The Best Water Bottle with a Straw

Hydracy Water Bottle, 32 Oz.

If you like to sip your water, the Hydracy stainless steel water bottle is a solid pick. It has a built-in straw that flips up, and is protected by a leakproof cap, plus a carrying loop. There are four size options, lots of colors available, and it even comes with time markers for drinking.

The Best No-Frills Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Hydro Flask Stainless Steel Standard Mouth Water Bottle, 24 Oz.

For a reliable stainless steel water bottle with a simple design, the Hydo Flask is a great option. It has a leakproof, screw top lid, carry loop, and you can get it in four sizes and 18 colors. You can put it in the dishwasher for cleaning and it's backed by a near-perfect 4.8-star rating from 23,000 Amazon reviewers. One shopper raved that it's a "superior drinking experience."

The Water Bottle That Comes with Three Lids

FineDine Insulated Water Bottle, 25 Oz.

If you like the option to sip or chug, this stainless steel water bottle is for you. It includes three lids, a built-in straw top, screw top, and flip top, and can keep cold drinks chill for up to 24 hours. You can toss it in the dishwasher for cleaning, and it's available in four sizes and 18 color options.

The Best Water Bottle with a Built-In Filter

Brita Insulated Filtered Water Bottle, 20 oz.

Bring your Brita filter everywhere with this Brita stainless steel water bottle. With a leakproof design and a built-in straw with a filter, it can improve the taste and odor of your water. There's a carry loop, it keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours, and one user raved, "I work in a fast moving job and need a lot of water, but don't want to drink from the tap as our water is funky. This has worked really well so I don't have to buy bottled water all the time to stay hydrated. Easy to use and clean."

The Best Water Bottle For Sketchy Water

GRAYL UltraPress Purifier, 16.9 oz.

If you're traveling outdoors or in a place where you're not sure about the drinking water, you must get a GRAYL. I used it for drinking the tap water in India and the streams in Iceland, with no problem. It's so easy to use, just fill it up, press down, and sip, while the activated carbon filters purify your water. It's worth the price, I promise you.

How Can You Keep Your Water Bottle Clean & Prevent Mold?

If you leave water sitting in your bottle for a few days it can start to attract mold spores and every time you take a sip, you may transfer bacteria from your mouth to the lip, straw, spout, or lid of your bottle. In order to avoid that gross buildup, make sure to wash your bottle out daily, or at least once a week. A quick scrub with soap and water will usually suffice, or you could do a deeper clean by soaking the bottle in equal parts water and white vinegar for 30 minutes. Or just run in the dishwasher (if it's dishwasher-safe). If you have a bottle with a straw or places where mold can settle, a bottle brush set is a great investment to get into those nooks and crannies.

OXO Good Grips Water Bottle Cleaning Set

Featuring a brush for your water bottle, plus a straw brush and detail brush, this cleaning set is a must-have accessory for any water bottle. They're even connected via ring so you'll always have them all together. It also comes with over 8,000 5-star Amazon reviews, with one fan reporting, "You can't beat the sturdiness, the benefits, or the quality of this set. It's easily worth twice the price."

Traveling solo? Then check out these essentials that can make that trip relaxing and fun.

—Originally published Feb. 4, 2024 at 3 AM PT.