When it comes to quick-drying towels, microfiber is the way to go. Microfiber towels not only do a better job of picking up dirt (the fibers are so thin they can clean the dirt in your pores), they dry three times as fast as your average towel. Better yet, the best microfiber towels for travel are small enough to store in any bag, yet still absorbent enough to tackle ocean water, rain, and even sweat.
But here's the thing: Not all travel towels are created equal. You'll want to double-check the material before you settle on one. If you know you'll be using your towel to deal with sweat, be sure to look for microfiber that's been treated with antimicrobial technology to keep odor at bay while you're on the road. Or if you're planning on spending most of your time at the beach, consider purchasing a fine-grain microfiber towel. Sand will slide right off of it—no aggressive shaking required.
Another thing to keep in mind is the size factor. There are plenty of bath towel-sized options out there, but there are also extra large towels perfect for picnics and microfiber washcloths that are great for freshening up during a hike or camping trip.