18 April, 2017

My Plus Size Travel Tips

Even before I booked my ticket to London I began researching "plus size travel tips" wanting to find things that made travelling easier. I found a few, but I wasn't finding what I was looking for, mostly I just found ideas for outfits. And if you know me, you know that fashion is one of the last things I care about.

So this whole post will be about the things that helped me during my trip to London (this post will contain affiliate links)

No. 1 - Bring more underwear than you think you'll need (you can thank me later) 😉 Living in the US means that I have the stores I shop at, at my fingertips. While it's not always easy to find clothes in my size, I have over the years finally found a select number of stores that do have the things I like, but when I'm travelling I won't have that luxury even if I'm in another first world country. And while I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find a plus size store in London, it's just not something I want to deal with in London, or on vacation. So bring more underwear than you think you'll need. Because it's the one item of clothing that I am always very very particular about. 

No. 2 - Dress for comfort not for fashion - We all want to look cute when we take the 1,000 pictures we're sure to take when we go travelling but let's be honest, comfort is far more important when you're a plus-size traveller. You do not want to be pulling your pants up the whole time, or pulling your shirt down. Real life story: I recently jumped on the bandwagon for Lularoe (hello addiction) and discovered the amazing Carly, which is by far my favourite shirt ever. It hides basically everything. Well, I went to London with two Carly's and Three Perfect T's, so Five tops. What I forgot about is that the Perfect T's have a slit up the side and while they fit and hide everything well, when the wind kicks up the front of the shirt flips up showing my entire belly 😒😒 So I ended up doing laundry four times in London so I could keep wearing the Two Carly's I had brought with me. It wasn't perfect, but it worked. So please learn from my mistake and bring clothes that cover, and not barely, but a lot. 
Also, check the weather, and find out conditions like wind, I had no idea how windy London was, but I did know about the perfect t doing that beforehand and brought it anyways. 

No. 3 - Pack comfortable shoes - They may not be fashionable but they'll save your feet in the end. After asking for recommendations on facebook, and almost across the board hearing that Birkenstock (the ones I bought are below!) were the most comfortable shoes; I bit the bullet and purchased a pair before my trip to London. At NO point in my trip did I have pain in my feet, only pain in my legs from all the walking. My comfortable shoes saved my feet!! I was so so thankful! I ended up walking 32.05 miles while in London, so let me tell you to have comfortable shoes is a MUST! 

No. 4 - Consider investing in a USB fan and solar recharger - Out of everything that I brought with me on my trip to London, I'm most thankful for these two items. These seriously kept me going when I was sweaty and just felt like sitting down and not moving. The reality is that even though London is/was my absolute dream, I still got hot and tired, I would assume that any normal person would, but especially someone my size. So when I sat down, I would pull these two out, and let myself really cool down. Mr Bear had bought both of these before the trip, long before and we used them for other things, but the whole set up, for just one solar recharger (I had two on me) was $40) so pretty reasonable for a quick way to cool down. I also used the fan at night, since I always sleep with a fan on me.

No. 5 - Bring washcloths - If you're a sweaty person (like I am) consider packing a few extra washcloths just to carry on your person when you're out and about. I carried one in my purse and washed it when I did laundry. It helped when I was sitting down to wipe the sweat off my face and neck so that I didn't feel as icky, and so people didn't see how sweaty I was because there is a bit of shame associated with looking sweaty. 

No. 6 - Sit down as often as your body needs - Please don't ignore your body if you're a plus size traveller. I only had 8 days in the country that I'd been dreaming of visiting since I was a little girl, but I also knew I wouldn't enjoy my trip if I ended up injuring myself. So take it slowly, go at your pace and listen to your body. This means sitting down sometimes and just letting yourself rest. This is when I would pull out my handy washcloth and fan and charger. I'd give myself a good long drink of water and rest. Let my body really relax, and get my barrings by looking at the map and navigating where I was going, before I got back up. While you're sitting, you do need to be mindful of what's going on around you, and as a solo female traveller, you need to be especially mindful, I'll cover some of these topics in my next blog post!! 

No. 7 - Smile back at the people who stare at you because of your size - You know the old adage, "Kill them with kindness" well it sucks, but there is no point being in a foreign country and getting upset when you don't fit into the norm. That's not to say in England there weren't plus size people, but in London, especially downtown where everyone must walk everywhere there just weren't a lot especially at my size. So when someone stares too long, laughs or even makes comments in a foreign language smile. 

No. 8 - Pay attention to your seat when you book - When I booked my seat with Aer Lingus I picked a window seat in the row with only two seats because the middle rows had four seats per row (hope that makes sense). In the weeks leading up to my travel, I kept checking and checking and checking. My plan was always to purchase the choice seating the Aer Lingus offers that sometimes gets ignored except on overbooked flights. So when I arrived at the airport I waited until I got to the gate in an hour or so before boarding, went to the gate agent, asked for a seat by myself (verifying that my seat was not by myself - it wasn't) and purchased the choice seat for only $55. To me, that price is worth it so I can have a seat empty next to me. On my return 7 hour trip, I was not as lucky because the flight was overbooked by 8 passengers, but I was fortunate to have a skinny and nice passenger next to me. 
Also as soon as I get to the gate or the gate agents show up, I ask if I can preboard, saying I need more time to get settled because of my size. Usually, they're very nice and accommodating, and I've never had a single person tell me no (but I also take a wheelchair between gates because of my narcolepsy), but it never hurts to ask. Ask for the belt extender if you need it, most flight attendants will get one right away, but sometimes they get busy, just grab another one or remind them again. They can't take off if you can't buckle up. No need to be embarrassed, as long as you fit in the seat (which I always do, it's the belt that's an issue).

The last and most important tip - Don't ever stop travelling because of your size - Yes it can be scary to travel as a plus size person, but I'm here to tell you it's also the most liberating thing you'll do. I have never felt stronger than when I looked at my mileage every day and saw 4-5 miles almost every day. When every day I carried a backpack full of things and kept track of myself and all my stuff every day. It was liberating and just one of the greatest experiences of my life. I have never felt so free in my life. Yes, I could have done more if I weighed 100 lbs less, but the fact that I went at 350lbs means that nothing can stop me. I went when it was inconvenient, and when I was sweaty, and tired, and when my legs hurt, and I only had two shirts to wear. I made the best out of not finding food, and every single day I went to bed thankful to just be there, and dreading the end of my time there. Take the trip, see the world, you'll never regret the trip you took, only the trips you didn't. 


  1. I love you! You are so amazing and beautiful. Thank you for posting this it is very inspiring!

  2. LOOOVVEEE this!! Fabulous tips. I love the solar fan idea. I have a little hand one that's been a NECESSITY in SE Asia, but I'd love a solar one... would be worth it's weight in gold some of these days!


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