I love people watching at airports, not only do you see some of the best of humanity at the departure and arrival gates (think Love Actually), but it’s also great fun seeing how differently people dress to travel. There are the business suits, the ladies in super fashionable, super impractical outfits – complete with six-inch heels, the surfer dudes who look like they’ve just walked off the beach, and I’ve even seen one person walking around Heathrow in their pyjamas! I, however, travel with comfort in mind, especially when I’m flying long-distance. So I thought I’d share my personal recommendations for what to wear on a long-haul flight if you want to be comfortable and cosy…
It doesn’t matter what time of year you’re travelling, I recommend taking a scarf. Depending on where you’re seated on the plane you might find yourself blasted by aircon – refreshing for the first 10 minutes when you’ve been somewhere tropical, but a couple of hours into a long-haul flight you’ll have a chill in your bones.
They’re also multipurpose – you can squish them up to use as a nice pillow if you want to have a snooze, or even use them as an eye mask if you need to block out some light and noise to help you get some rest.
I love H&M for scarves – they do a lovely basic black one that is perfect to keep a draught off your neck, but for those who, like me, live in a perpetually semi-frozen state, you cannot beat their large thick scarves. They’re super soft and warm and I wouldn’t be without mine in winter.
T-shirts, cardis and jumpers
For longhaul travel comfort, the answer lies in layers. You want to be prepared for the climate at your final destination, but need to potentially deal with a cold starting base and heavy aircon in the airport and onboard your plane.
My answer is to layer up – I start with a vest top (H&M Basics are great for these), followed by a really thin light t-shirt for when I arrive (usually SE Asia you see), then I finish off with an oversized hoodie to snuggle up in.
I have a go to jumper for my flights, as I adore my Superdry hoodie. I bought a men’s medium, so it’s oversized and super comfy and is one of the warmest tops I own. I might not look my most stylish, but I’m comfortable, cosy and when you’re stuck in a chilly flying tin can for 10+ hours, that’s all that’s on my mind!
Jogging bottoms or yoga pants
I’ll admit that when I’m travelling in comfort I don’t look particularly glamorous, but damn, I look a lot happier than that women in the row in-front of me with super tight trousers, pointy shoes and a pretty little tank top!
Depending on how much you feel the cold, in my opinion, the most comfortable options for bottoms are thick joggers or cotton yoga pants. Again I usually go with loose fitting men’s joggers – don’t get legs with elasticated cuffs as they’re not good for circulation – from Superdry but I also love my H&M loose fitting yoga pants. They’re light and loose fitting, perfect for comfortable travelling!
Yup, sorry but I’m gonna be practical and health conscious now! As someone who’s had a blood clot (something I wouldn’t wish on anyone) I never fly without compression tights. You might have have picked up ‘flight socks’ from the airport, but these don’t do half as good a job as tights, plus they’re a might more uncomfortable.
Compression tights will support your entire lower body, helping your blood flow, which in turn will lower your risk of a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and also stop your legs from swelling. Seriously, they make a massive difference to how your legs feel after a long flight so they’re something I recommend to everyone!
Most compression tights are thick, unflattering affairs, but there are a growing number of companies offering more stylish modern compression tights that look like ‘normal’ tights! Schol Light Legs is one of the latest I’ve come across, and also probably the best priced at between £10-20. However, if you’re looking for ones recommended by the medical profession, then the best I’ve found are Sigvaris Diaphane Compression Tights. They’re a lot more money (between £50-75 a pair) but they provide medically approved levels of compression. If you have legs problems of any kind, these are what I recommend (and always wear) but if you’re young, fit and healthy, a lower level of compression should do you fine.
If you’d like more advice about keeping down your risk of getting a blood clot when you fly, you might want to also read my post Air Travel Tips From A Blood Clot Survivor.
What you want when you travel are loose fitting, lightweight shoes. Feet swell when you fly long haul, so you want to make sure you’ve got room to wiggle your toes and not find your shoes too constrictive.
When I went to Cambodia I discovered my ultimate travel shoes – Nike Tanjun Trainers that are so light that they feel like I’m walking on air. They’re now my go to shoes for flying, so basically find yourself shoes that are loose and super comfortable and you’ll be good to go!
And finally…Fluffy socks!
Yep, I’m a total fashion icon when I’m flying longhaul! Comfort comes first though, and once I’m getting ready to settle down for a movie, read or a snooze, I slip off my trainers and put on a pair of cosy warm socks like these bad boys. Bring the comfort of home with you when you fly, that’s what I say!
What are your recommendations?
So there you have it – that’s how I do comfort when I fly. What about you? I’d love to know if you have your own go-to items for long-haul travel, if you wear similar things to me or put more of an effort into dressing up when you fly! Share your thoughts with me via the comments below!
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