Plus Size Travel Tips…
New year, new adventures, which may mean plus size travel.
As a plus-size person, travel can be daunting but it’s possible. Search the hashtag #plussizetravel on Instagram and you’ll see tons of images of plus-size people traveling and seeing the world.
Your size should never stop you from traveling and getting out there in the world.
So we reached out to the following plus-size travel bloggers to share their travel tips, along with some tips from myself, who at a size 26/28 with 66” hips, has traveled the world too!
- Adrienne from Traveling Adrienne & co-host of the Plus Size Traveler Podcast
- Jeff from Chubby Diaries
- Seth from The Model Father
- Raphael from Big, Tall & Abroad
- Annette from Fat Girls Traveling and From Annette With Love
- Fabiane from The Curvy Girl Traveler
- Sarah from Travel Beyond Size
- Kenisha from Curvy Girl Travels
We hope these plus size travel tips will inspire you to book that ticket and just go!
#1: Research your trip before you go.
“Everyone can travel regardless of size. The key is to research your method of travel, destination and activities you want to do. Visit SeatGuru if you’re wanting to find the width and pitch of an airplane seat and The Man In Seat 61 for train seat configurations. For destination and activity information, TripAdvisor and YouTube are great starting points in planning your trip.” – Adrienne
“My #1 tip for plus size travelers is research, research, research!!! When you do the research, you can learn about weight restrictions, accommodations, and also first-hand accounts of other plus-size people to whatever destination that you visit. I believe that if you know what you are getting yourself into then you can manage your expectations. I personally visit Nomadic Matt, Travel Noire and check airline policies.” – Jeff
“There are many plus-size travel bloggers that share their travel experiences in-depth, which can be a huge help. You can also listen to the Plus Size Traveler Podcast, the first podcast dedicated to curvy travel. Each episode, the Plus Size Traveler Podcast invites a fellow curvy travel blogger or body positive influencer to be their guest go-host to talk about a domestic or international travel destination and an essential travel item or topic.” – Adrienne
#2: Look into seating prior to traveling.
“My favorite plus size travel tip is to research the type of seats your plane offers. Most every plane I’ve ever flown on has an armrest in the aisle seat that has a special release button that allows it to fold all the way back. They have to be down during take-off and landing, and you need to watch for carts, but on a five-hour flight, it can give you the extra space you need to be comfortable without encroaching on the person next to you. – Seth
“If you’re worried about the width of your seat on an airplane, if you will have in-flight entertainment during your international flight, or if your window seat actually has a window, SeatGuru can help you. SeatGuru is an online resource that details the layout of most planes. It’s easy to search by airline and flight number.
You’ll be able to find the dimensions of your seat and legroom. You’ll know where to find the nearest restroom and if it makes sense to upgrade for more space. The gold is actually in the Guest Reviews. This is where you’ll learn if your tray is stored in the armrest or on the seat in front of you. You’ll also be able to find out if your entertainment monitor is having issues or if you’re the one window seat without a window to peer out of.” – Annette
“When you select a seat during your ticket purchase, purchase an aisle seat. For me personally, I love the window seat because I can look outside. However, if the flight is going to be crowded, I take comfort over the scenery any day! You’ll have more arm space when you’re sitting in the aisle. Not only that but the armrest at times is movable in the aisle seat. Which gives you more space! Just watch out for the food carts.” – Raphael
“It’s also important to make sure that you ask about stationary plates between seats. I’ve made the mistake a couple of times by picking a front row or exit row seat, however, Frontier has metal plates that don’t move in between each seat and dug into my hips for 5 hours.” – Seth
“Did you know that Southwest’s Customer of Size Policy allows plus-size travelers to request additional seats so that they are comfortable while flying the friendly skies? The thing that makes it even friendlier is that they offer additional seats for FREE!
There are two ways to go about it. You can call before your flight and ask to use the Customer of Size Policy. They will charge you for the additional seat/s but will reimburse you when you contact them after your flight. The other option is to request to use the Customer of Size policy once you arrive at your gate on the day of your flight. However, with this option, there is the risk that the flight is sold out and there are no additional seats. In that case, you can wait for the next flight with ample space so that you can fly comfortably.” – Annette
#3: Dress comfortably.
“Wear shoes that slip on and off easily but you can run in if you need to.” – Seth
“Wear clothing that’s comfortable and soft, with stretch. Also, make sure you bring a sweater or light jacket for those times when it gets chilly on the plane. That sweater can also double as a blanket, pillow (rolled up) or even as a mock tray folded on top of your purse/bag on your lap, leaning toward the back of the seat in front of you. I also make sure I am wearing pull-on pants so if I need to use the restroom on the plane, I can be able to pull my pants down and up easily in a very small space.” – Marcy
#4: Wear compression socks.
“A must for me is to wear good compression socks. Especially on long flights, you don’t move much so compression socks help your blood to circulate, which is going to reduce the amount of swelling and achiness in your legs, as well as protect you from clots. It’s just a good idea all the way around!” – Seth
“It’s not good for us to travel and sit for a long time. Compression socks will help reduce leg swelling, discomfort, and blood clots from forming near the skin’s surface.” – Raphael
#5: Do not be afraid to ask for a seat belt extender!
“For the most part, all airlines have seat belt extenders, which allows the plus-size traveler to safely wear their seatbelt by extending the one that’s on the chair. All you have to do is ask the flight attendant. But if you’re like me and try to be prepared for anything, you can easily purchase a seatbelt extender online on Amazon.” – Raphael
#6: Pack the essentials.
“Pack an empty water bottle and your own snacks, and keep things that you need to access easily (like aspirin, gum, chapstick, headphones) in a small bag under your seat.” – Seth
“Always pack your chafing cream! A good chafing cream can save you thighs from that horrible thigh rubbing on a hot humid site-seeing day. No need to feel confined to always wearing long pants, free yourself, rock dresses and shorts anytime you want. My go-to cream is the Monistat Chafing Powder Gel. Perfect carry-on size! Pro tip: it can also double as a makeup primer.” – Kenisha
“As a curvy traveler, it’s so important to me to be comfortable while traveling. Nothing ruins my mood more than being in a situation where I am far from home and I am not fully comfortable! There are three things I need in order to have an amazing time while traveling. First, comfortable walking shoes. I will choose comfort over style any day! Especially when I am traveling and plan on doing a lot of walking.
Second, I always pack my Mega Babe Thigh Rescue, which has been a total game-changer for me. I have tried so many products out there and old wives’ tales; I’ve even tried deodorant and nothing has worked as well as this product! Third, I always pack a great camera! Now that I am feeling confident, I want to be able to snap pictures and enjoy the experience. Traveling already takes you out of your comfort zone, the last thing anyone needs is to feel uncomfortable physically as well! That’s why it is so important to be prepared with things that will make your trip so much more enjoyable.” – Fabiane
“Comfortable shoes are key! I personally love Vionic, Vivobarefoot, Teva and Merrell for walking long distances and sightseeing. When I travel to an event for work, I always figure out a way to incorporate my sneakers into my look. I usually go for Adidas, PUMA or Steve Madden, which always has fun colors and prints to choose from, while being very comfy as I stand for hours.
I also pack an outfit in my carry-on along with with some underwear, an extra bra and an extra pair of shoes, in case my checked-in luggage gets lost. It’s tough to find plus size clothing in a foreign country but if you have an extra outfit, you can always wash your clothes in your hotel room and create a few outfits from 2 looks (the one you wore on the plane and the one you packed). I always carry some makeup, lotion, my allergy medication and my tech stuff with me in my carry-on as well.” – Marcy
#7: Call the airline prior to booking your ticket.
“As a plus-size traveler, I am very honest and will call the airline directly before purchasing a flight. I’ll let the airline know that I am a plus-size traveler and I’ll ask if they have any services that will ease and make my travel experience comfortable. Certain airlines do cater to the plus-size traveler, such as Southwest with their Customer of Size policy.” – Raphael
#8: Don’t be afraid to ask! Look into weight/size restrictions before your trip, when it comes to activity/hotel stays.
“Before booking day trips and excursions, double-check for weight and size restrictions. Some activities like zip-lining, parasailing and even kayaking, can have weight restrictions. There’s nothing more humiliating than arriving at an activity excited and ready, only to be told you’re over the weight or size restrictions and unable to be accommodated. So do the work and reach out to the tour operator to get all of the information you need before you book.” – Annette
“Need a bigger size in the hotel robe? Just ask. Unsure if the exciting travel activity has a weight limit? Just ask. Feel like you might not be able to handle the group hike? – ask how many steps it is. For years, I was often scared and embarrassed to ask for what I needed and would make decisions about travel based on fear or not wanting to leave my comfort zone.
Sometimes we limit ourselves for fear of asking a simple question that may alleviate anxiety or solve an issue. Sometimes it’s because of embarrassment, fear of revealing yourself, or perceived weakness. But information is power and that’s why seeing plus-size ladies in the travel industry asking these questions, researching these possibilities and showing how exciting and limitless this world of travel is for people of all shapes sizes and abilities is so important. Instead of limiting yourself by convincing yourself that something isn’t for you or you won’t be able to do it, just ask! You may be pleasantly surprised more often than not.” – Sarah
#9: Arrive early at the airport.
“If you give yourself time at the airport, you’re not rushed and can use the bathroom before you board — especially if you don’t want to use the smallish airplane bathrooms. I also bring an empty water bottle with me that I can refill near the bathrooms, where most airports have a filtered water fountain.
You can also take advantage of pre-boarding, meant for passengers with young children and anyone who needs extra assistance or time getting onto the flight. This will give you time to get comfortable/settled and ask for a seat extender as you board.” – Marcy
#10: Don’t worry about what others are saying or thinking of you. Enjoy your trip!
“I’ve been to countries where people immediately stare at me or mock me because of my size. Don’t let them bother you during your trip. Enjoy the sights. I mean, I’m not going to see these people ever in my life again so why would I let their ignorance bother me?” – Raphael
Now that you are armed with all these amazing plus size travel tips and information, what are you waiting for? Travel and see the world in 2020!
Where would you like to travel to in 2020? Follow us on social media and let us know: @plusmodelmag: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
Featured image: Michael Poley of Poley Creative for AllGo, publisher of free stock photos featuring plus-size people