9 things you can wear on long flights

Everyone knows the age-old technique of pitting travel agent against travel agent in order to get the best travel deal.

Your bags are packed, taxi booked and passports are in hand. It’s time to dress for the flight but what should you wear when you’re spending hours or days in the air? These are the clothes that you’ll be living in, watching movies in, sleeping in and pacing your stop-over airport in. They have to be practical, comfortable and warm.

The following items are essential for making your travel experience as comfortable as possible and cover the necessities for what to wear on a plane.

1. Loose fitting or stretchy clothing

Long flights are the one time when comfort is more important than style. That’s not to say you can’t have both, but instead of donning your favourite firm-fitting skinny jeans, opt for a pair of stretchy jeggings. Stylish active-wear, having crossed over into the realms of leisure-wear, is also a good bet, allowing you to be comfortable in elastic-waisted pants without looking like you’ve borrowed a six-year-olds’ tracksuit.

For tops, go loose fitting and comfortable. Shirts tend to ride up against the seat so the longer the better to avoid having to constantly make adjustments.

2. Layers, layers and more layers

It can be hard to know what to wear to stay warm when facing the unpredictable temperature changes of air-travel. You may have walked in off a hot tarmac, but you need to be prepared for possible arctic conditions on the plane. Wearing several layers of light clothing means you can easily manage these temperature changes and stay comfortable for the flight. Layers are easy to take off, roll up and stuff into your bag, and can double as make-shift pillows if needed.

3. Natural, breathable fabrics

You’re going to be wearing the same clothes for hours while sharing your personal space with other people. Natural fabrics such as cotton, linen and wool allow your skin to ‘breathe’ and are more hygienic. A thin base-layer of merino wool helps to maintain an even body temperature, allows air to circulate around the skin and wicks away moisture. Synthetic fibers tend to trap body heat and make people sweat, causing unpleasant odours. Be kind to your neighbour, be they a loved one or a stranger, and stick to more natural fibers.

There are some synthetic fabrics, often found in popular adventure clothing stores, which are also breathable and moisture-wicking. If these float your boat, go for it, but nothing beats natural fibers.

4. Large scarf

A large, cotton scarf is essential for air travel. It takes up little space and can double as a wrap or a blanket if needed. It can also be rolled up and used as a cosy, familiar pillow. If you’ve opted for less fashionable travel wear, your scarf can be your statement piece.

5. Compression stockings or socks

No longer just for older people or post-surgery recovery, compression stockings are essential for comfort and health during long-haul flights. Avoid fluid pooling at your ankles and the associated swelling by rolling on a pair of compression socks. They also help to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a life-threatening condition that can be caused by long periods of sitting.

6. Comfortable slip-on shoes

Given the plane is going to be your lounge room, dining room and bedroom, you might as well feel at home and slip your shoes off during the flight. Laces and buckles can be difficult to deal with in the cramped space of an airplane seat, so slip on shoes are more practical. You may have to take your shoes off going through airport security, so slip-ons will save frustration there too.

7. Warm socks

It’s hard to feel warm when your toes are cold, so a pair of warm, woolen socks can make your travel experience much more comfortable. Wear these when you board the plane or have a pair in your bag ready to pop on over your compression stockings during the flight.

8. Ear plugs

You’re likely to need sleep while you’re flying. Usually it’s best to get onto the same timeline as your destination while in the air, and this could mean attempting several hours of shut-eye. Ear plugs are your best friend when it comes to sleeping on a plane. They soften the engine noise, crying babies and the clatter of kitchen preparations, allowing you to drift off more easily.

9. Sunglasses

Regardless of whether you manage to sleep or not, you’ll arrive at your destination with dry, puffy, tired eyes. Make sure you have sunglasses on hand for your arrival. You might also need them to deal with glare when the window shade is open.

And just a quick note about some of the things you shouldn’t wear:

1. Perfume or cologne

No matter how much you love your signature scent, others around you may not, and it might actually trigger a headache in some people.

2. High heels

If you have to run to your connecting flight, or spend hours in a queue, you’re guaranteed to regret this choice of footwear.

3. Lots of jewellery

Airport scanners are not going to like the jewelry. Avoid holding up the line and leave it at home or pack it in your check-in luggage. Avoid wearing lots of bobby pins for the same reason.

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