Oh, airplane travel. The nasty little things standing between you and your vacation.
Every flight is different. Different lengths of time, destinations, occasions. And if you’re like me, when you fly, you also often get travel anxiety.
So you’re at the airport. You’ve got so many things to look forward to… after you land. But in the meantime, between the fear of forgetting your passport, having long periods of time where you’re forced to stay seated, and eating crappy airplane food, you’ve got some rough hours ahead.
Let’s simplify at least one thing: travel wear. Here are some tips to help you figure out what to wear- so you can check that off of your travel to-do list.
1. Comfort is key!
You’re going to be on an airplane, most likely in a tiny seat that doesn’t recline, and chances are good that you’ll get stuck next to someone who hogs the arm rest. And good luck if you get a middle seat.
So please, think of your poor body and all of the things it’ll have to endure over the next few hours. Don’t cram it in your tightest pants or wear a top that requires a strapless bra that may or may not dig into your skin or keep falling down.
Wear something comfortable that is easy to move in and won’t cut off your circulation.
2. That’s not an excuse to look like a slob
There’s a line between comfortable clothes and slob clothes.
Let me explain.
My freshman year of college I brought a ton of T-shirts from home with me. And when I say a ton, I mean basically a large suitcase worth of tees. Flying across the country from Maryland to California, I thought they would remind me of home.
When my then roommate and soon-to-be best friend, Lainy, saw the crazy amount of T-shirts I’d brought with me to college, she was appalled, to say the least. She is probably the classiest girl I know- always flawless and put together, so this didn’t come as a surprise, but her reasoning really got to me. She stressed the importance of looking great wherever, whenever, because “you never know who you’ll meet! You’ll never know when you’re going to meet your future husband for the first time.”
Freshman Jasmine was single, and was definitely open to finding prospects. So over winter break I went home with a suitcase full of T-shirts, and there they have stayed, to become rags or sleeping shirts for family members. Lainy’s quote has stuck with me ever since! (And I did marry my college boyfriend, so hey- maybe it worked!)
Back to airplane travel wear.
Think about it this way… you could meet your future husband at the airport (or if you’re not out to get a husband, imagine running into your boss at the airport) so have some decency and leave the baggy t-shirts at home.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t wear sweats or leggings. There are so many cute sweats out there that can be chic when paired with just the right thing. Athleisure is your friend when it comes to airports!
3. Dress for yourself
Looking good builds confidence. Dressing to be the best you can really brighten your mood, making things as tedious as airplane travel become exciting and fun! Too much enthusiasm for you there? Well, at least it’ll make traveling tolerable 🙂
4. Dress for the flight time
Is your flight an hour long? Lucky you! Is it 8 hours? 24 hours? Pretty much, the longer the flight, the more comfortable your clothes should be.
Also- if you’re flying on a red eye flight, feel free to get really comfortable.
5. Dress for the arrival location
I have made the mistake of leaving one location that is sweltering hot, and arriving at my destination that is entirely and unfathomably too cold, and forgetting a coat. Don’t be like me. Check the weather beforehand (which I do), and realize just how cold or hot that temperature is (which I don’t do), and dress accordingly.
Say you leave Texas at a sweltering 98 degrees with full humidity, and land in San Francisco, where the water breeze makes 65 degrees feel like 50 degrees. Either wear clothes that could work in both places with an added jacket for San Francisco, or make sure a change of clothes is handy.
You won’t want to rummage in your suitcase once you land, so keep it in your carry on if you’re not planning on wearing it!
6. Dress for the occasion
When I was in college, over the summers I would visit my then boyfriend (and now husband), Harrison, in Dallas. It would always be the first time seeing him in months, and I would prep like crazy. I’d plan out my outfits for every day in Dallas months in advance, and all summer I would imagine that first moment of seeing each other again over and over.
So I’d always want to look amazing- with my manicure/pedicure done and in a cute but comfortable dress.
Then there’s the other side of the spectrum.
Last summer, Harrison and I went on a mission trip with our church to Guatemala. We were going to be doing construction work, so nice clothes were completely unnecessary. So I ditched my normal attire for practical attire and even wore my construction boots.
I realize this contradicts Tip #2, but there are exceptions to every rule!
7. Pack smart- wear your heaviest/bulkiest items on the plane
On that trip to Guatemala, our goal was to pack light, so I wore my jacket and construction boots on the plane. These were definitely my bulkiest items, and by wearing them, I significantly downsized my suitcase.
This doesn’t only apply to big items like hiking boots. Are heels your bulkiest item? Wear them! And, no, that doesn’t contradict my “be comfortable” tip, because if you think about it, most of your time in airport travel is spent sitting down. So shed a few pounds off the luggage scale and wear those chunky wedges! Keep your heavy coat with you instead of packing it!
8. Dress warm
Not only will keeping your coat with you save room in your suitcase… but it is also completely necessary for comfort’s sake. I almost always freeze on airplanes (I blame my poor blood circulation), so if you’re like me, bringing a jacket is key!
9. Be practical
Don’t forget some airplane necessities: a book, headphones, a neck pillow if you’re going a long distance. Read this article for the ultimate travel checklist of 15 things you won’t want to forget!
If you’re a contact lens wearer like I used to be (prior to getting Lasik), and you’re planning on sleeping on your early morning or late night flight, take them out and opt for your glasses.
Definitely keep your passport/ID in a safe but convenient place! And as soon as you’re done using it, PUT IT RIGHT BACK WHERE IT BELONGS.
The main reason I’m stressing this is because I recently lost my driver’s license on my flight back from LA. Important things seem to love to disappear, so make sure you know where they are at all times!
10. My airplane favorites:
Believe it or not, maxi dresses are my all time favorite for airplane travel. Not only are they super cute, but they keep you warm since your legs are covered, and are the most comfortable thing to wear.
Also, comfortable dresses that are cute but don’t cinch at the waist are great for long flights since they allow for plenty of blood circulation.
There are also plenty of ways to make leggings cute, and there are a ton of great athleisure outfits out there.
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