What is a Travel Iron?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

A travel iron may be a terrific thing to pack to deal with wrinkled clothing. Although some hotels and motels may have irons available in their rooms, they aren’t always in the best shape. It isn't a guarantee that there will always be a courtesy iron available should it be needed.

Travel irons can be used to keep packed shirts and other clothing free of wrinkles and creases.
Travel irons can be used to keep packed shirts and other clothing free of wrinkles and creases.

There are several things that make a travel iron different from a standard iron used at home. First, these irons are typically smaller, usually about one-third to one-half the size of home irons. Second, the handle on these irons usually folds down, making it easier to pack them in a small space. Size usually means a travel iron is significantly lighter, weighing no more than a few pounds. Most also have convenient travel bags so you can cleanly store the travel iron when it is not in use.

Many travel irons can convert from 120 to 240 watts without problem. However if taking the travel iron outside of the country, it may not fit in the outlets available in other countries. Check your travel itinerary to determine if a plug adapter is necessary.

Quite a few travel irons have steam capacity, which can help get out stubborn wrinkles. They may not have as many settings as home irons, and some people find the smaller base of the iron difficult to use on large pieces of clothing like suits or coats. However, even at home, you can use a travel iron. It may be an excellent tool for ironing around buttons or other things on clothing that shouldn’t be exposed to heat.

There are numerous travel iron styles on the market and they can vary in price depending upon extra features. Very simple ones may cost around $20-30 US Dollars (USD). Prices can well exceed this when the iron has either a better brand name or more “bells and whistles.”

One thing to remember if the iron uses steam is to make sure to empty water compartments before packing the iron away. This will prevent water from accidentally leaking onto clothing packed with the travel iron. It’s also a good idea to empty any water out of the iron before putting the iron away after traveling. Another important tip is to pay attention to the fabric bag used to cover the iron. Some of these are made of nylon and will melt if you don’t allow the iron to cool before packing it away.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


@bythewell - Well, the weight can make a difference even if you are flying. After all, you are only allowed to take on so much weight and the extra charges are really expensive.

And it's possible to steam garments in a hotel shower in a pinch.

I guess it would really depend on what kind of trip I was planning as to whether I would bring a travel iron. From what I can see you can get mini travel irons quite small now, or even just buy a travel steamer, which can be used to do other things as well as ironing your clothes.


@umbra21 - It sounds like you do a particular kind of traveling which doesn't require dressy clothes very often, though. There aren't very many dressy kinds of clothes which don't require ironing at some point.

There are lots of different sorts of travelers and some of them want to wear silk dresses every day and look pretty without having to pay for the laundry service at a hotel (which, let's face it, is often prohibitively expensive).

And if you are traveling around in a road trip, or even by plane to stay with friends, you might want to consider bringing a travel iron with you. After all, it doesn't really make much difference how much weight you are carrying around.

I have several friends who never wear clothes that need ironing, and simply don't have an iron. You can't rely on being able to borrow one.


Personally, I would never take a travel iron with me on vacation. I just bring clothes which aren't going to need ironing.

You might think that you'll be stuck with synthetics, but there are natural fibers which don't need ironing either. Merino, for example, is perfect for traveling.

It's really comfortable, it wicks away sweat and it's becoming more and more fashionable in everyday clothes.

But there are also kinds of cotton blends and bamboo fabrics which don't need ironing.

It just seems like a a very heavy object to add to your bags for no reason.

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