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If you’ve ever spent more than five or six hours on an airplane, you’ll know that those kinds of trips can be very daunting. Even If you’ve only taken shorter flights, you might be looking for guidance on what to expect. Without question, we can say that the clothing you wear is very important in these situations, especially if you experience travel anxiety. Here are our travel tips for what to wear on a long-haul flight!

Check Airline Policies

Before you start planning your long trek outfit, check with your airline to make sure there are no policies about what you can and cannot wear on a flight. This might be especially important if you’re traveling in First Class, Business Class or with an unfamiliar airline. 

It sounds archaic, but the last thing you want is to get removed from a flight because you’re violating the dress code. Those types of situations are awful for travel anxiety. No one wants to have their trip derailed or delayed for a preventable reason. It’s just best to check before you board! 

Baggy Cardigans

You never know what’s going to happen on a flight, which is part of why it’s a little scary, right? You could get extra stinky, spill food all over yourself, or even have a toileting accident (I know…). On one trip the flight attendants accidentally dropped a carafe of coffee on me (thank goodness it didn’t spill!). It’s always a good idea, therefore, to pack some extra clothes in your carry-on bag.

Of course, you should also think about comfort. The temperature can change quickly on a flight, which is why I love packing a baggy cardigan.  It’s the perfect way to stay nice and cozy, but it’s easy to take off if you get too warm. Plus, you can throw it on as you land and look effortlessly stylish (but casual!) when you arrive at your destination! 

Chunky Sneakers

We’ve had some unexpected things happen on our long-haul flights, and we’ve been known to run frantically through airport terminals. That’s why we always recommend wearing sneakers on flights, even shorter domestic ones. Those cute knee-high boots and heels look great, but you won’t be able to outrun fellow passengers looking to rebook after a cancelled flight.While I really prefer to travel in Altra or New Balance running shoes, chunky sneakers can provide comfort and some style. Back in the 90s, I had a lot of these after the Spice Girls popularized them. Never thought platform sneakers would be making a comeback, but here we are!

Full Zip Hoodie

While this could be a cardigan, pullover or anything else, I personally prefer to wear a full zip hoodie on flights. They are extremely easy to put on and take off, which is great when the plane gets too hot or cool. 

The hood is also great for pulling over your head to shield from lights, sound and your seatmate, if you’re trying to avoid conversation. Of course, a zip-up hoodie comes in handy when you’re fighting travel anxiety and travel OCD. It’s like a cocoon that can shut out the world (and block coughs haha). Plus, it just feels snuggly and cozy!

Light Shirt

Layers are important when you’re traveling so that, if you have to remove your sweater or hoodie, you’ve got something on underneath. This isn’t the time to wear something heavy. Instead, choose a light shirt that fits comfortably. 

If you’re running through an airport and handling luggage, you’ll probably work up a sweat. I like to wear shirts that are moisture wicking and cool to keep body funk under control. 

Yoga Pants

When I board a long-haul flight, I’m in my stretchiest, most comfortable pair of pants. More than any other article of clothing, what you wear as a bottom will matter most on a lengthy flight. You don’t want to be stuck in anything that’s too tight or constricting, especially if you need to use the icky bathroom. 

Again, double check the airline policy, but I’ve always worn some type of yoga pants for long-haul travel, while track pants are a good option for Josh. Avoid shorts because it can get cold and you’ll be stuck freezing for hours! 

Compression Socks

Any time you fly, you’re at added risk of developing a blood clot in your legs. It’s especially important to get up and move around the cabin, if possible, to promote healthy circulation during a long haul flight. Another simple, but great, strategy is to wear compression socks!

We absolutely love the ones from Dr. Motion! They provided good support without being uncomfortable. In fact, I forgot I was wearing them at all and my legs felt great after my 12-hour flight! 

Easy-To-Remove Shoes

We have TSA PreCheck, but that isn’t necessarily going to be recognized at international airports. Regardless, you could be searched anywhere at anytime and it’s more convenient to be wearing slip-on shoes that are easy to remove. While I prefer wearing sneakers, these eliminate a layer of travel anxiety for me to be able to put my shoes back on without having to touch them. 

On our most recent flight to Japan, we were upgraded to United Premium Plus. Being able to slip off our shoes easily and slide on their plush slippers made the flight much more pleasant! 

Pack Extras

It might not seem the most space-efficient, but it’s a good idea to pack extra clothing in your carry-on back. This bit of planning really helps with my pre-travel anxiety. With such a lengthy voyage ahead, you could end up needing to change at some point. 

You could spill food on your clothes, have a toileting accident (it happens, trust me!) or face some other gross situation. The airline could even lose your checked bag! Having some spares at your fingertips can make a huge difference. Chances are you won’t need them, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Words of Caution:

  • Skip the jewelry. Not only does it put you at risk for theft, but you might be bloated after being in the air for so long. Pack your must-have jewelry in your checked luggage or leave it at home. 
  • Avoid walking into the bathroom without shoes. Really. It’s gross. 
  • Dress for your destination. Don’t land in snowy Canada wearing flip flops from Thailand! 
  • Don’t underdress. You don’t want to be freezing on an airplane for 10 hours. Trust us.

What about you? We’d love to hear the lessons you’ve learned from long-haul flights! Any tips for managing air travel anxiety? Leave us a comment and share your experiences and insight!