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What To Wear On A Long Haul Flight Tips 2019
Long haul flights suck. No one, I repeat, no one would fly long haul unless there was some magical ending, like the delights of Croatia or the wonders of Australia (and dozens more travel destinations) awaiting us at the other end.
Living in Australia my whole life means that when I went to distant lands, I had to endure lengthy international overnight flights every single time.
The journey from Sydney to our place in Croatia is about 35 hours door-to-door, way too long to be in a restrictive outfit. I have learned a thing (or twenty) on all of my long haul travel adventures.
Here are my tips that will help you stay comfortable on those long-haul overseas flights you’ve got coming up and teach you how to travel in style. If you’re looking for the best comfortable stylish travel clothes, this is where you’ll find them. In fact, this blog post will help even on a short haul flight.
A Big Bag Or Backpack
On overnight flights, I need a few things to keep me busy, safe and I need a place to stash the snacks and my extra layer of clothing. A big bag also comes in handy to use as a pillow (okay so not a terribly comfy one, but better than nothing).
Before long haul travel with kids, a backpack was enough, but now I need a cross body bag as well. I need instant access to the crisps and Hot Wheels cars to keep the Little Donkey quiet. I own this Unisex Cross Body bag and love it! Even the hubby can carry it!
Yes, even in summer, when it’s hot as hell outside, I have a pair of compression socks – the kind that do not look like baggy old lady socks.
They serve to keep me safe from DVT and also protect my feet from nasty germs when I slip off my shoes and try to sleep. Travel tip: buy a pair that are very colorful. That way they are easy to find in your big bag.
Stretchy – Loose Pants
Please don’t wear tights on a long haul flight. They are so ugly. I know this guide is supposed to be about what to wear on a flight, but that tip about what to not wear is a good one. Trust me.
What if your bags are lost and you are stuck in them for 24 hours? For heaven’s sakes, please wear something remotely good looking.
Best options I like are:
Wide Leg Pants
Loose and elastic waisted, what more could you ask for? Bonus points for finding a pair that has pockets and has a pattern or print.
Try these on for size. Why would you want a pattern? Ever spilled something on yourself mid-flight? Yeah, I have and I can tell you that a pattern hides the stain for the next 33 hours much better. There are loads of colors and styles to choose from with these Popana Damask Palazzo Pants, which are made in the USA. They look stylish and are amazingly comfortable pants for air travel, making them among the best pants for long haul flights – and for looking stylish as you go.
Linen pants crinkle from the get-go, and so they never look perfect – making them one of the best pants for long flights.
They are light and breathable, so you’ll sweat less. If you’re going to be on a long plane ride, don’t buy white. Remember it’s a long haul trip and god knows what you’ll spill or sit on. You can now get pairs with an elastic or drawstring waist like these. Ahhh, the comfort.
Stretchy Skinny Jeggings
The best way to maintain a chic look and be comfortable on your long haul flight. Just be sure to find a really stretchy pair like these skinny jeggings. I have several pairs of jeggings – while technically leggings that I said never to wear – these don’t look like it and are comfy for those overnight flights when you need to sleep.
Although not as comfortable as genie pants they are still a satisfactory choice for that overnight flight where you want to look stylish.
Cotton is your friend. Big, baggy T-shirts are your best friend. My go-to T-Shirt of choice is the Bonds (an Australian brand), but you also can’t go wrong with an American Apparel V-neck. They are an essential part of all comfy airplane outfits. T-shirts are super cheap, comfortable and can be dressed up with a necklace and cute bracelets if you need to land at the other end and kill a few hours before you can check in at your hotel.
Travel tip: for a comfortable outfit for long flight wear a tank top underneath for extra warmth and to take off the T-shirt if you’re landing at a hot summer location.
Not the office type. But long, flowy ones that are excellent looking and could just be your ticket to that all elusive upgrade we all dream about. Just remember that the airplane can get cold on overnight flights, so bear that in mind when you choose a jacket. They really can be a great addition to your selection of flying clothes.
No self-respecting list of what to wear on long haul flights should be without this suggestion.
Okay, so it isn’t really as fashionable as the jackets above, but it comes with added bonuses. Like, when you pull the hoodie over your head, it explicitly says to the air stewardess ‘no, don’t wake me for your crappy egg breakfast’ and also acts as a free eye mask when your seat companion has the TV on when you Just. Want. To. Sleep!
Sleep is the #1 tip I can give on how to survive a long haul flight. Take as much as you can get. This really is one of the best tips I can give you with regards to what to the best things to wear on a long flight. Good travel outfits include a hoodie. It’s as simple as that.
Hoodies we love:
We both have these matching North Face Hoodie’s. They are very warm and also roll up to make a good firm pillow for your window seat. Score.
Pashmina’s look good, they keep you warm and act as a blanket (get a really big one). They can be rolled up into a great neck pillow, and they can jazz up your boring t-shirt. Get one. You won’t regret it.
On top of that, they look adorable as well, a fantastic piece to compliment your cute airplane outfit.
Activewear is high fashion when flying overnight in my book. Just don’t go in an all matching head-to-toe tracksuit. There are so many beautiful pieces now, and you really can’t beat that comfort.
Activewear is made to be comfortable and is, therefore, also among the most comfy plane clothes. I have never done it, but many of my traveling buddies wear stuff like a turtleneck and activewear from Chinti and Parker or just your regular black yoga pants. It’s true that yoga pants are a girl’s best friend. They are so damn comfortable.
Best Shoes To Wear On A Plane 2019
Always wear comfortable clothes for long haul flights, and this includes your travel shoes. Flip-flops don’t count. Not only are they totally useless should you need to run between gates, but they could also hinder you in making a safer exit should the plane need to make an unexpected landing. Shoes are essential to any attire for traveling, but when it comes to clothes for plane travel, a good pair is critical.
Ked canvas sneakers go with almost any outfit and are without a doubt comfortable and come in a bunch of colors and styles. They will add welcome comfort on long flights.
Ballet flats are a good option too so long as you pack a pair of socks with you. Your tootsies will get chilly, and you don’t want to be barefoot. No make that, you CAN NOT ever go barefoot onboard the plane. Ever.
Superga – These shoes make almost all ‘best shoes for travel’ lists, and we also recommend them for Croatia and to wear when sailing. Not only are they comfortable, they can also turn any regular plane outfit into a stylish outfit for plane travel.
Sperry Seacoast Canvas Sneakers – With a smaller sole than the Superga, these take a less sporty look. They have a breathable nylon canvas upper and even better they have removable footbeds can be swapped out for orthotics – and have lots of color options.
Toms Jutti Flats – the perforated suede upper makes them airy enough for any summer adventure.
What To Wear When Flying Long Haul
Besides knowing what to wear (or leave at home), here are a few other tips about long haul travel clothes. When you’re on an overnight flight, or even on any plane trip take note to:
Avoid long skirts and maxi dresses. That is unless you like pat downs. Airport security will pull you aside and check you over. They need to be sure you don’t have anything hidden under that comfortable flowing attire. Plus do you really want to wear a dress when you may have to sit on the ground?
Think about it, what if you should get stuck at the airport for some unexpected delay? I’ve been caught out in the pig pens they call holding bays when suddenly they make the announcement that the flight has been delayed. So glad I had on my comfy pants as I sat on the floor for two hours.
Wear layers. On long distance flights, the plane can get very chilly, but if for whatever reason you’re late for your connecting flight or on ground transport, you’ll be forced to run. Or, at least, walk at a very brisk pace to meet your connection, making you hot and sweaty. So having a top layer you can take off and throw over your arm, is best. Bonus: the top layer then becomes a pillow should you miss your connection and are stuck in transit for many unexpected hours. A valuable tip with regards to what wear when traveling on a plan, for sure!
Wear things that fold into a pillow. I have a North Face puffer down jacket that I take with me when I travel to colder destinations. It rolls up and makes my head happy. Hoodies also work wonders.
Wear something that you can keep on for the next 24 hours. It’s no joke that bags get lost. Last year in Athens I was without my bags for 24 hours. Luckily, I had on a decent outfit and had essential make-up with me. Think before you get on the plane in that tracksuit.
Wear clothes that don’t restrict you. DVT is a big deal. Life-threatening even. Nothing tight, please. The best travel clothes for long flights are never tight – after all your body swells a little at you travel long distances up in the air.
Wear natural, breathable fabrics. Cotton and wool are perfect choices.
Wear something with pockets. Stuck in the middle seat and want something? That’s easily done when you have a jacket or pants with pockets that you can keep gum, phone and your travel documents in.
Wear something long and big – almost like a blanket. I traveled from Dubai to Singapore without an airline blanket last year. Seems that the airline miscounted the number of them on a packed flight, or some greedy chat stole mine.
Either way, I would have been frozen without my super-long black pashmina. (Did I say how cold planes can get on overnight flights enough yet?)
Another good choice is to take a light batwing sleeve jumper. You can throw it in your bag: check out some here.
Wear sunglasses. Yes really, I just said sunglasses.
- One – have you seen how horrid you look after 12 or more hours of interrupted sleep or, worse, no sleep?
- Two – there is always a time when the airline hostess forces the shades up on approach to landing and you may just want 30 minutes more sleep. Sunglasses do help.
Throw a pair in your bag and you’re set.
What Not to Wear Or Do On A Long Haul Flight
While we are at it, here are some tips on what not to wear on an airplane – or what not to do:
- Never take off your shoes and socks. Barefoot is gross – for you and your fellow passengers.
- Don’t put your feet up on the seat, armrest or window. Does that need an explanation?
- Don’t pack the overpowering perfumes and body sprays, but please, for the love of god, wear deodorant.
- Bobby pins. Well, at least, avoid too many, or you’ll set off the alarms.
- Large metal bracelets and necklaces. These suckers will set off the metal detector. I have heard that the Cartier Love bracelet, which needs a screwdriver to be removed, is the worst!
- Don’t drink too much. All that alcohol goes straight to your head and makes you loopy. Stick to one or two and keep hydrated with water instead.
BONUS – What To Take On Long Haul Flights Packing List
Noise canceling headphones or earplugs. People can be loud and annoying when you want to sleep. A pair of frends headphones will get you through the chatter on board.
Small make-up bag. Take off all of your jewelry and stash it here. That way those cute bangles and that long necklace won’t bother you for the next 12 (sigh) hours.
Look how cute (and cheap) this one is.
Asprin. A headache will be unbearable for 35 hours.
Travel pillow. These are not for everyone, but if you want to take one, this one is the bomb
Baby wipes. Have you seen how grotty some people are? And don’t even get me started on all of that ‘mess you can’t see’. Small travel size packs are best.
Lip balm. Air-conditioning on the flight really dries up those babies. I am surprised that when people give tips on long flight travel essentials, this is not mentioned more often. Mine are always so cracked. Aren’t yours?
Get a cheap chap stick because, let’s be honest, you’ll probably drop it or lose it along the journey (or is that just me too?).
Entertainment. Books, magazines (you can leave them behind to lighten your load), phone, laptop, or an e-Reader are the best travel accessories for long flights.
Toiletries. Keep to the under 100ml limit in a clear TSA-approved bag. I’d suggest hand moisturizer, deodorant, BB Cream, and travel size toothpaste.
Change of clothes. Of all of the tips about what to wear on an overnight flight, I have not yet talked about the backup outfits to fly in. In the event of mid-flight spills, sick-ups or delays, pack a small bag with a T-shirt and yoga pants.
Pen. You always have some custom form that needs completing before exiting on overseas flights.
Snacks. Yes, most airlines give you food on overnight flights (if they don’t, you can always pay for it), but I always carry a few small snacks in case of being delayed or should the airline food be unbearable. (Oh, and I get hungry when bored…). Best snacks are trail mix and nuts.
At the end of the day, wear what you like. Just keep your clothing simple, tasteful and always non-controversial. Did you read the story about someone not allowed to fly cause of their t-shirt?
Do you travel on long-haul flights? What tips do you have for what to wear on a longhaul flight?
BONUS – Long Haul Flight Help: A Carry-On Packing List To Help You Travel Lighter
You can find more tips on how to be comfortable on a long flight or overnight flight like this here.
It never fails, as soon as you book a vacation, the dreaded packing thoughts set in. With more airlines doing away with their first-bag-flies-free policies, checking bags has become more and more expensive. Gone are the days of throwing everything and the kitchen sink into a huge suitcase very willy nilly and only wearing a quarter of it all during your trip.
Let’s get it straight. What you really need to focus on when it comes to packing good travel outfits is what you are trying to pack into the carry-on in the first place. Then you can watch the YouTube clips in how best to roll your clothes. Wink.
With a couple of these key tips and tricks, you can easily slim down your carry-on and be on your way to your vacation with less stress. This comprehensive packing list is all you need for your hand luggage. Be sure to tick it off as you go!
Start With Necessities
There are things you literally can not leave behind like underwear. Set aside everything that is absolutely necessary and no, that doesn’t mean your seven pairs of shoes. There are only a couple of pairs that are the best shoes for long flights. Passports, money, underwear and medication should all be packed first (remember the list above?)
Think about what to wear on your travel day. Once you have that sorted, think about what to bring with you on board and triple check you have those super-duper-important travel documents and cash.
Check The Weather
Save time, stress, and space by simply checking the weather where you’re going. If it’s freezing cold or steaming hot where you’re going, leave the clothes for the opposite conditions at home. If you’re headed to Croatia in summer, you don’t need a warm jacket. Likewise, if you’re heading to the Alps, leave the shorts behind. If the place you’re heading is rainy this time of year, then don’t leave your rain jacket at home.
Ask Locals What To Pack In Your Carry-On
So what if that the weather says sunny skies? Still ask a local about what that time of year is like because perhaps it’s known for afternoon showers, and you’ll need to save space for a light jacket. By asking a local, they’ll suggest the must-have travel items you need in your carry-on. Look for travel bloggers (like me) who’ve been there and done that, and have tips for that country.
Pick Practical Pieces
It’s easy to start throwing anything and everything that you sometimes wear into the suitcase pile, but you should whittle that down to the practical items. The best travel outfits for long flights and European vacations are those with solid colors or simple patterns that can be mixed and matched to make multiple outfits from a few pieces – saving you room in your bag to bring back a few souvenirs.
Make sure you are comfortable in the clothes you choose. If you don’t wear it at home, you’re not going to wear it on vacation. Leave things at home that can only be worn for one occasion like huge heels or big boots. The best clothing for travel is what you already wear regularly at home.
Also, pick fabrics that are easy to take care of on the road. Leave clothes that are dry clean only or that require heavy ironing. You don’t want to waste precious vacation time worrying about your wardrobe.
Do pack one or two more jazzy items to help keep the personality in your outfits, make you feel beautiful and make you look back at the pictures and not cringe.
Slim Down On The Toiletries
Leave your expensive shampoos and conditioners at home. Most hotels and cruise lines will have shampoo, soap and many other necessities in your room. And if not, you can buy it locally.
By cutting down on the liquids you bring, you will save time at the security line at the airport, stress from products that leak in your suitcase and money ultimately from not having to buy travel-size products.
For the cosmetics and toiletries that you have to pack in your carry-on, try to find concentrated or solid/powder versions of them to eliminate the leak possibility and take up less space. You could also get a toiletries pack. One like this flat design allows you to pack it right on top of your duffel bags, saving space and hassle while on the go.
Pack With Layers In Mind
For those destinations where the weather is on the edge of warm and chilly, it can be really challenging to bring the best clothes to wear. Pack layering options, and you’ll have to pack less and be prepared for more. Pick tank tops, shirts, and cardigans or light jackets that can be mixed and matched for a hot day that turns into a chilly evening.
Plus, I always find that the best clothes to travel long haul in are those with layers, and I get hot and then cold and back to hot again as I eat and sleep.
Use Packing Cubes
Packing cubes save you so much time and stress when it comes to keeping your things organized. Probably the best carry-on packing tip as they help you also stay organized! You can either pack things by outfits or by type of clothes to help you get to what you need quickly and efficiently without having to claw through everything in your bag to get to a sweater.
Cut Down On Shoes
You really don’t need seven pairs of shoes for a weeklong trip. Keep it to 2 (max 3) pairs of shoes in your carry on. Shoes take up a lot of space and add a lot of extra weight to carry on bags, which can be costly in the long run.
A pair of sneakers or walking shoes, a pair of sandals for warm weather or small boots for cold weather and maybe one more pair of stylish slip-ons or low heels for dressier occasions is really all you ever need.
BONUS TIP: Wear the heaviest pair of shoes on the plane.
Prepare To Wash
If you pack less, your carry on will be lighter and you can stuff more souvenirs inside on the way back. One way to pack lighter is to think about what can be washed while you’re on the road. Socks and underwear can be easily washed in hotel rooms, and if you pack clothes that dry fast, that’ll help too!
BONUS TIP: There are two travel products you can pack to help keep clothes clean and smelling nice:
3. It might seem odd, but this portable, 5oz washing machine is self-proclaimed as the “modern take on the old-fashioned washboard” and we love it
Swap Your Pile Of Books For An e-Reader
This may be tough because I know I, too, love flipping through a real book. However, you’ll be so glad you did.
The price of e-Readers has plummeted in the last few years, making them super-affordable.
Max Out Your ‘Personal Item’
In addition to your one carry-on bag, most airlines allow you to bring a personal item such as a backpack or purse on board.
The best thing to do is take a backpack and load as much as you can inside. Just remember only one bag can go above your head and the second under your feet. So, keep that in mind when choosing which personal item to take as carry-on.
Bonus Packing Tips
Here are some other tips that’ll help you pack your carry on like a boss
- Know your airline weight limit. Essential, even 2kgs over can cost you big!
- Roll, don’t fold. Rolling is far superior to folding. Rolled clothes take up much less space than folded ones.
- Buy a lightweight bag carry-on bag like this one. Why waste precious kilos on the bag? Buy light!
- Comfy clothes for long haul flights do not have to be expensive, buy cheap, and if you need to, leave them behind in your room for the maid if you buy things along the way.
Plus, Here Is How You Can Beat the Jet Lag Once You Arrive
Long haul flights might be fatiguing at times, even when you did your best at dressing for long-haul flights – but jet lag will still get you no matter how well dressed you were.
So, how do you avoid it?
Well, you can’t 100% because you’re crossing time zones, but you can minimize it a little.
These are a few jet-lag-busting helpful hints:
- Get plenty of rest before you go, including a full night’s sleep
- Try and arrive at your destination during the daytime
- Have a break between flights. One night stop overs are actually very useful for avoiding jet lag as much as possible
- Don’t drink!
- Avoid caffeine
- Avoid sleeping pills. They will only mess up your body clock
- Get up and move around the cabin as much as possible
- Make sure you eat three meals
- Avoid looking at the in-flight map. It will only make time go much slower!
- Set your watch to the time in the destination you’re arriving it, as this will help you adjust much quicker
- When you arrive, do not go to bed unless it is night time!
All that’s left to say now, is have a safe and comfortable flight – and enjoy your vacation.
We want you to know: Main photo credit: Nick Harris. This post contains affiliate links, which means, at no extra cost to you if you make a booking, I receive a commission. Each one helps keep this blog free.
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More Packing List Help is Here
We’ve also written packing lists about:
- What to Pack For Croatia: The Ultimate Croatia Packing List
- What to Pack For Sailing Croatia: The Ultimate Guide to Help You Pack Light
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