A watch is a timeless travel essential. From checking the time to wearing your boarding pass on your wrist, watches and smartwatches keep your trip on track.
Best Watches for Travel
These eight watches for travelers have just the sort of dual-functionality—think tide charts and GPS tracking logs—you’ll want on your next adventure.
Garmin fenix Chronos
If you’re an adventure traveler, this is one of the best travel watches for you. Whether you’re paddleboarding, on the golf course, or hitting the slopes, Garmin’s fenix Chronos will measure very specific physical activities, like stroke rate; yardage to the front, back, and middle of the green; and an autonomic run counter for skiers/boarders. And if you’re an avid hiker, this travel watch helps you navigate beyond the beaten path with GPS and ABC (altimeter, barometer, and compass) sensor capabilities, along with elevation and weather changes. Plus, there’s a TracBack feature that helps you find your starting point the same way you came, and a GPS track log that allows you to pinpoint along your trail.
On top of it all, the fenix Chronos connects to your smartphone for email, text, alerts, and other notifications—all with an eight-day battery life (when in the smartwatch mode, depending on settings).
Cluse makes some of the best watches for travel with interchangeable straps. Geared specifically to style-conscious (but still light-packing) travelers, Cluse watches are totally customizable: you get to pick the watch face, size, and color, as well as straps. From mesh rose gold to full black, you can travel with two (or three, or four) watch styles in one.
Fitbit Versa 2
The Fitbit Versa 2 is an affordable all-in-one fitness tracker and travel watch. Track your steps around your favorite destination; get call, text, and calendar alerts; and keep track of time. This travel watch has a long battery life and uses auto sleep tracking so you can stay on top of your jet lag or time zone change.
Nixon Base Tide
The Nixon Base Tide is one of the coolest watches for travel, especially for anyone heading to a beachy destination. The simply designed watch is affordable and boasts unique features like a tide chart and countdown timer. It’s water resistant to 100 meters, so you can even wear it swimming and snorkeling.
Apple Watch Series 5
The Series 5 Apple Watch is one of the best watches for travelers because it pairs with your useful smartphone apps, like Apple Wallet (for your boarding pass), Apple Pay, Apple Music, and Siri. It’s also a fitness tracker, sleep tracker, GPS, and more. You can turn the watch to “Do Not Disturb” mode so you don’t get phone, text, or calendar alerts while you’re on vacation—you’re welcome.
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier
Samsung has its own smartwatch that’s compatible with both Android and iOS—the Gear S3 Frontier. The Samsung version looks more like an actual watch than the Apple Watch does, but other than that the features are pretty similar.
The Gear S3 uses Samsung Pay, GPS, is water resistant, and uses Bluetooth to connect to your phone. On the fitness front, the Gear S3 uses Under Armour Connected Fitness apps and the S Health app to help you stay on track on the road. Plus, it connects to all your normal smartphone apps like Uber, Spotify, etc., and sends you notifications from your phone—all you have to do is rotate the steel bezel to access updates.
Tissot Swiss Quartz
GMT +, the function that lets you tell dual time, is a defining feature of old-school travel watches. Tissot’s version of the GMT + watch is a timeless classic with modern design elements. And while many watches with GMT + retail in the thousands, this version is one of the more affordable travel watches with this feature.
Fossil Hybrid Smartwatch
Fossil’s hybrid smartwatch series is great for business travelers because the watches are both stylish and functional. The primary role is a built-in fitness tracker, but these travel watches also connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth and send notifications for text, emails, app alerts, and calendar alerts, and can read multiple time zones. With the watch, you can control your music, track your sleep, and take a photo. I also love the variety of style options available.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 9 Over-the-Counter Medicines You Should Pack for Every Trip
- The One Thing You Need to Add into Your Phone Before Traveling Abroad
- 5 Smartphone Essentials You Should Never Travel Without
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Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2018. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.