Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes
When it comes to plus size travel, we experience travel differently to our slimmer peers. Our body temperature can increase quickly, we might get tired easily, sweat more and walking around all day can be harder on our feet. If you are a plus size woman, I’m sure you can relate to some of these annoyances. Experiencing these differences has led me to realise what works for me and what doesn’t and I have come up with a list of my top plus size travel essentials to help you maneuver your travels better!
1. Legging shorts
Do you also get that painful red rash-like blister in between your thighs when they rub together? Me too! I’ve never been a fan of skirts and dresses for that exact reason! You’ll always catch me in leggings, whether it’s 40 celsius or -4!
However, I’ve recently added one dress and one skirt to my wardrobe and bought some legging shorts to wear underneath to prevent my thighs rubbing together. They have saved my life and are an important plus size travel essential!
I personally don’t recommend buying “anti-chafing shorts” because they’re usually made from nylon, and if you don’t already know, nylon is not breathable! You’ll actually end up sweating more with those on!
This is where legging shorts come in! A lot of legging shorts are made from lightweight cotton and will be just what you need under your skirt or dress! I like to buy mine from ASOS but I know most clothing stores will have their own. The great thing about legging shorts is that they double as normal shorts and can be worn on their own.
2. Airy clothes for warm weather
Being plus size means you’re prone to sweat quicker or find the heat less bearable than others. When travelling, the weather will vary depending on where you are. You may be in humid climates, cold climates or generally in warmer areas than you’re used to.
Me being from London, I’m used to the cold. On top of that, I warm up really fast too! In the winter, I’m fine in a t-shirt and jacket because anything more just means extra layers of warmth that I don’t need.
I suggest packing airy and flowy clothes when travelling to warmer countries. Think wide leg culottes, airy jumpsuits, skirts, dresses, linen trousers, cotton shorts and flowy tops. Essentially, you don’t want anything that is going to cling to your body, especially in the heat!
3. Breathable layers
As a plus size traveller, I’m sure you can somewhat relate when I say I get hot ALL the time! It’s so important to pack breathable layers rather than clunky pieces of clothing.
When you’re wearing a heavier item, for example, a long-sleeve denim dress, there is no option to take a layer off when you’re feeling hot. However, if you were to wear a short sleeve cotton dress with a light jacket on top, you’d have the flexibility of taking your jacket off and staying cool, whilst still having the option to pop it back on when you’re feeling chilly.
Some of my favourite breathable pieces of clothing are:
- Hoodies and cardigans
- Denim jacket or faux leather jacket (for chilly evenings)
- Packable down coat
- Shawl which can double as a scarf
- 1 long sleeve checkered shirt to layer over a tank top
- Plain long sleeve tops
- Plain t-shirts
All of the items above can be worn separately or they can be layered with each other for added warmth.
4. Portable USB fan
The finest plus size travel essential of them all! My Portable USB Fan has been one of my best used purchases! It’s small, it folds up and it comes in so handy when I’m hot! It has 3 speeds to choose from and it can be recharged through a micro-USB cable.
I definitely think this is one of the best plus size travel essentials to always have on you. As it’s handheld, it takes up minimal space and can be just what you need when you’re baking under the sun or stuck on a clammy bus.
Fun Fact: I used this fan on the London Underground during rush hour when I worked full-time in the city. Being on a cramped train 60 metres underground was extremely unpleasant, so I used to whip this miracle worker out and I allowed the cool breeze to bless my face as everyone else gave me looks of envy.
5. Comfortable shoes
I can’t stress this enough. Packing comfortable shoes is must! Travel usually means walking more than the usual amount that you’re used to when you’re at home. The terrain may be different to what you’re used to as well and this could mean sore feet in the evenings after a long day of exploring.
As a plus size traveller, my feet can ache if I’m not wearing the right shoes. This is essentially because I carry more weight and it’s harder on my feet. My suggestion is to bring at least one pair of durable shoes. I like to bring a pair of trainers which I wear on the plane and I bring this pair of walking sandals on all of my trips.
6. Medical dressings
As a plus size traveller we are more likely to have joint pains or have mobility limitations. You may never use medical dressings, but they’re so handy to have on you! Sometimes, I have experienced ankle pain or had sore feet after walking all day. There may be days where my shoes don’t cooperate and rub against my feet. So, in addition to bringing comfortable shoes to walk in, I also bring blister pads, a blister stick and ankle support.
These 3 essentials have truly saved me when I needed them! For example, I was walking on cobbled pavements in Amsterdam a few years ago and I twisted my ankle in a funny way and fell. I was able to head back to my Airbnb apartment and put my ankle support on for the rest of the time I was there to ease the pressure off of my ankle and explore the city.
7. Small towel or handkerchief
Put your hands up if you’re a sweaty betty like me! I’m a huge fan of cloudy weather because the sun just leaves my forehead dripping like I’m ice cream. I always carry a small handkerchief with me to wipe away sweat if I need it but I’ve recently discovered this cooling towel by Dock & Bay which has dual layered cooling technology. All you need to do is wet the towel, squeeze the excess water out and snap it. It will keep you cool for at least a few hours before you need to repeat the steps!
8. Seat belt extender
All airlines should provide seat belt extenders and you can ask a flight attendant for it before you’re seated. However, I know many people find it hard to ask for one for personal reasons. I like to carry a seat belt extender with me so if I don’t particularly feel like asking for one on my flight, I can use my own! This seat belt extender that I carry has been made to exacting standards for maximum safety so you can use it on any flight!
Note: In some cases, flight attendants might ask to see if your extender fits their industry standards.
9. Packing cubes
When I first found out about packing cubes, I was shocked that I hadn’t discovered them earlier! Packing cubes are designed to make packing easier and they come in various colours and sizes to help you organise your backpack or suitcase. As plus size travellers, it’s no secret that our clothes are larger, which means they take up more space in our bag. An easy way to combat this is to use durable packing cubes for different items of clothing. I like to use 4 cubes (1 for trousers, 1 for tops, 1 for undergarments and 1 for miscellaneous).
10. Water bottle
This is more of a general item that everyone should have on them when travelling. However, I’m surprised by how many people don’t take a water bottle on their trips. I think it’s an essential item that should be with you at all times. Exploring for the day can mean a lot of walking. On top of that, you may be in a warm country so you’ll be under the sun and if your water intake isn’t great, you will become dehydrated.
As a plus size traveller, walking around in the heat will require us to quench our thirst before others. Plus, you never know where you might be able to fill up your water bottle while you’re out and about during the day.
Leave a comment down below if you found any of these particularly helpful and let me know what some of your plus size travel essentials are!
All words are my own and subject to copyright. Post contains some affiliate links. Whilst these don’t make any of the items more expensive, it does mean I make a small commission if you purchase them.