Travelling when Plus Size
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.
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.
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.