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Travelling when Plus Size

February 18, 2018

Travelling when Plus Size

February 18, 2018

Despite being a plus size travel blogger, I have rarely ever combine the two topics here on the blog. I think, given I now have the time to post more often, that’s about to change.

Being plus size has become a huge part of my blog and my life lately, so it only seems right that as I start to take my blog further, that I am open and honest about things that are important to me.

My love for travel first started when I moved to University and I realised how much I had been missing out on. You see as a child I was scared of absolutely everything – going through the country side, driving through mountains, heights – you name it, I was scared of it. It has stopped me doing a lot of different things and in turn, I missed out on a lot of amazing experiences. Moving away from home showed me that I was braver than I thought and urged me to face my fears.

With that in mind, 9 months after I had moved away from home for Uni, I went on my first ever solo trip to live in California for four months.

The trip definitely ignited a love of travel in me and the years following were tough as I was trying to keep up with London rent prices at the time as trying to get an education. This meant travel was not an option.

After my graduation I made sure I was in a comfortable job and financial position and I started travelling to all the places I had been dreaming of since California and and since then I have had to the opportunity to travel more often than I ever thought I would.

That brings me to now. 

Currently, I am a comfortable size 24 and I am the heaviest and unhealthiest I have ever been. I’d love to be able to say that my health doesn’t affect the way in which I travel but the more I think about, the more I realise being plus size has an impact on pretty much every aspect of travelling.


Okay, so there isn’t MUCH difference when it comes to packing, but the one thing I have noticed is that I can fit a lot less in my suitcase now my clothes are bigger – which obviously makes sense as of course there is much more fabric now my clothes size has doubled.

I find myself packing lighter clothing for long weekends and often avoiding the warmer things such as jumpers and jackets, as they take up so much space.

As much as I like to fill my case with the things I love, most of the space in my case is filled with emergency clothes that I know will be the most comfortable. This means I usually end up packing a lot of leggings, converse, baggy tops, and cardigans.  Recently, I have shot an outfit and then immediately run back to the hotel to put my leggings and comfortable clothes on for walking around.

No wonder I don’t have any space in my suitcase anymore.

Train Travel

This might not be the same for everyone, but I get really anxious when I am travelling by train even though I do it a lot. I have several different conditions that I have had since I was much younger, that make it difficult to stand for long periods of time. I worry so much that I won’t be able to get a seat on train where I haven’t been able to make a reservation and it makes train travel an incredibly stressful thing for me. Lately, I have had so many problems with trains being cancelled and everyone being shoved onto the next train, that I actually prefer to get a coach where I know I am guaranteed a seat.

During a Flight

For me, one of the worst parts of travelling as someone who is plus size is the flight. At size 24 the seats are very snug and if I am sharing a row with strangers I can’t help but feel embarrassed that it is a little more cosy than it normally would be, especially if I’m in the middle. I’ve joked about it a number of times and no one has ever had an issue, but it’s hard not to feel as though everyone around me is as uncomfortable as me.

It makes me feel as though I am constantly worried and hypersensitive to how much space I am taking up, which on a two hour plus flight can be pretty disheartening and soul destroying.

That brings me on to the next uncomfortable part about being plus size on a plane…

The BRIGHT YELLOW seat belt extender.

I will do ANYTHING to put off asking for a seat belt extender and on some occasions I’ve been known to make it look like my seat belt is fastened to avoid having to ask. I wouldn’t mind so much but the stewardesses have absolutely zero regards for how a person may be feeling about asking and they march down the aisle, bright yellow extender in hand, and give it to you in front of everyone. There is NOTHING discreet about it unfortunately and if I can avoid asking for one, I will.

Another thing that terrifies me about flying is the cupboard-sized toilet, and since my first plus sized experience using a plane bathroom I haven’t been again.

I imagine for someone of a smaller size they’re a pretty tight squeeze, but there is literally no way I’d fit comfortably, so I make sure I drink as little as possible during a flight – which is very hard when flying makes you so dehydrated. I haven’t actually flown long haul since I put on so much weight, but I am praying the toilets are a little bit bigger on larger planes. Right?

Finally, when it comes to flights I always hate how much of a mission it is to get on and off. The aisle is tiny (understandably) and when I have a suitcase, a handbag and a coat (depending on where I am going) it can be very hard for me to move through the aisle quickly. I can’t help but think I am holding everyone up and dread to think what they’re thinking, but the worst part is that by the time I have found my seat and put my luggage overhead, I am so warm that I feel so gross and don’t want to sit next to anyone. 

Hot Countries 

Whenever I travel to a warm country I always get that initial moment of dread where I think oh my god, what if it is too warm? Since going from a size 12 to a 24 I have definitely noticed that my ability to cope in hot weather has got a lot worse and if the trip requires a lot of walking my body definitely struggles.

I don’t feel like I miss out and I always do as much as I can, making sure I take regular breaks, but there’s no worse feeling than thinking you’re holding people back from doing what they want to do because you need to rest for 10-15 minutes.

As well as it being hard work physically, there have been a lot of times where I have received horrible looks for being in clothes that help keep me cool and comfortable. Which I should be, right?

I’m not bothered about wearing swimwear or a short sun dress, in fact I will wear whatever I am comfortable in and be happy. For some reason, it’s everyone else that seems to have a problem with what I am wearing and despite trying, it can be hard to not let it get to me. I’ve had to put up with stares, laughing and people pointing. 

As much as I want to be body positive, this can make it very difficult at times.

Hotels and Sleeping Arrangements

When I travel with friends or larger groups (not just me and my boyfriend) I always have a mini panic about what the sleeping arrangements will be.

A lot of the time we have accommodation where we get to pick which bed we sleep in (either a villa or a triple hotel room) and I feel awful when I have to ask for the strongest, biggest bed.

I always worry that if I’m sharing a bed with someone and it’s small, that I will take up so much room they will be uncomfortable, especially as sometimes I get really bad pains with my knee while travelling. I also worry that if the second bed is a smaller pop up bed, that I will be far too heavy and break it.

On top of that I then worry that I’m upsetting people by asking for the bigger bed, so it’s a nasty little circle of worry.

There’s so many different things that have changed for me now that I’m travelling while plus size, but will I let it hold me back from doing the things I want to do? Absolutely not.

Kirsty Leanne



  • Nikki February 18, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    I love how honest you are and I completely understand every single thing you’ve described. It’s kind of just a constant feeling of uncomfortableness and awkwardness for me. All the little things that the normal sized person doesn’t even consider, I overly think about and stress myself out – what if the seatbelt doesn’t fasten? What it I make the person next to me uncomfortable? What if they make a comment about my size? And to an extent I get it; because why should they be uncomfortable because of me? I’m so glad you’re not letting it hold you back though, life is far too short! Xx

    • Kirsty Leanne February 20, 2018 at 1:26 am

      Yes to all of this! I am constantly worried what they are thinking and whether or not I am making the journey unpleasant for them! xx

  • Miss Kitty Kaos February 18, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    Hey sweets

    I am totally with you with train panic in fact I just give up now and sit in the end of the carriage which is ridiculous when train tickets are so pricey!

    You can buy extenders I found when traveling a lot for work it was connecting planes that were an issue but bought an extender for peace of mind.

    Your awesome keep traveling

    • Kirsty Leanne February 20, 2018 at 1:25 am

      It’s horrible isn’t it? Even if I have a reserved seat I worry that I am going to have to kick someone out of it if they’ve ignored reservations.

      I have discovered extenders on Amazon the last few days so I am definitely going to buy one!

      Thank you – I’ll definitely keep travelling! xx

  • Georgina Grogan February 18, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    Yes! I told you this would be a great post, love it! x

    • Kirsty Leanne February 20, 2018 at 1:24 am

      So glad you enjoyed it, thank you for the support! 🙂 xx

  • Louise P February 18, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    Did you know you can actually buy your own seat belt extenders to take on the plane with you? My sister bought hers on Amazon for under a tenner. It could be worth considering getting yourself one so you don’t risk getting hurt during turbulence or something pretending to be buckled up when you’re too scared to ask for an extender. 🙂

    • Kirsty Leanne February 20, 2018 at 1:35 am

      I found out the other day and I have to say, it’s life changing! xx

  • Laura Haley February 19, 2018 at 2:21 am

    This is a refreshingly honest post, Kirsty. People don’t talk about the difficulties they face and that leads to other people thinking they’re the only ones to feel this way. I’m damn sure this post will help so many people.

    • Kirsty Leanne February 20, 2018 at 1:34 am

      Thank you Laura, I hope it makes people realise what a stressful experience it can be for plus size people! xx

  • WhatLydDid February 19, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    I didn’t know that seatbelt extenders were bright yellow, it does seem so obvious and unnecessary! I understand that you can’t ignore these issues and brush them off, but I love that you are able to see the reward of the experience and you don’t let them stop you.

    Lyd- whatlyddid.com

    • Kirsty Leanne February 20, 2018 at 1:33 am

      They are the brightest of yellows that you could imagine! It’s great being able to travel despite, you’re right! 🙂 Thank you xx

  • Erin February 20, 2018 at 12:11 am

    I love this post lovely, So honest. and I can relate with quite a lot of it at the moment. We are travelling this year and this is all the things I worry about too!

    Erin || MakeErinOver

    • Kirsty Leanne February 20, 2018 at 1:32 am

      Thank you Erin, I hope it’s not too stressful for you xx


    My mission is simple. I want to help change the way travel looks, showing both brands and society that plus size people really do travel too. In a community where plus size travellers are made to feel unwelcome, I want to inspire and advise people like me on how they can make the most out of their own incredible travel experiences.Join me as I share my own personal experiences, my best tips and tricks and all of the challenges I face along the way. It won’t always be an easy ride, but it sure as hell will be a fun one.

    Together, we can change the way that travel looks today



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