5 Clothing Items You Should Never Wear on a Flight, Experts Say
Consider these essential tips before getting dressed on travel days.
When a vacation is imminent, it's time to start thinking about what to pack. There's a thrill to throwing your favorite swimsuit or ski gear into your suitcase, and if you're really organized, you have your carry-on packed ahead of time. One thing that's probably not on your mind? What you're going to wear on your flight. Before you grab whatever's on top of the clean laundry pile, however, there are a few things that you should consider when getting dressed on travel day. Read on to find out which clothing items travel experts says you should never wear on a flight.
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Jeans were by far the most common item identified by travel experts as a flying no-no. It might be tempting to throw on some denim, especially if your suitcase is already jam-packed and you need to save some space. But jeans aren't recommended for a few key reasons.
"Whatever you do, don't wear jeans on a flight!" Tory Jon, travel writer and founder of Camper FAQs, tells Best Life. "Especially if the flight is over three hours long or you tend to wear styles that are tight on the legs or waist. You can cut off circulation to your legs causing numbness, and even risk clotting. Plus, jeans aren't typically the most breathable garment, so you could be pretty sweaty and gross by the end of a long flight."
Instead, opt for something a bit lighter. Abby Price, CEO and co-founder of couples travel and adventure blog Trekking Price's, suggests "a pair of leisure joggers, stylish sweatpants, or any other loose fitting bottom that will keep you feeling comfortable for multiple hours and allow you to feel less restricted."
Rompers and jumpsuits
One-piece outfits are all the rage—and you can't deny how cute a well-styled romper can look. However, even if you want to look like a trendy jet-setter, travel experts say one-piece getups aren't ideal selections.
"I'd recommend that women avoid wearing jumpsuits, overalls, or rompers," Jessica Schmit, of the travel blog Uprooted Traveler, says. "You need to pull the top portion of these articles down while you're going to the bathroom—not only is it not fun to be topless in a public restroom, but you run the risk of the top portion dragging on the bathroom floor!"
The same thing goes for athletic dresses, which are also one-piece ensembles. Reneze Lopez, of the travel and lifestyle blog Sincerely Reneze, explains that this is mainly due to your comfort levels. "Last year was the year when everyone and their crew bought a workout/athletic dress, but they are very uncomfortable when flying," she says. "They are often too tight and too short to be in such close proximity with strangers for long periods of time."
If you still want to wear athleisure, Lopez says you can't go wrong when putting on leggings or other workout clothes. "These are super comfortable and [make it] easy to maneuver around when in small spaces," she notes, adding that you'll be happy you went with a comfy choice is you have a long trip or if you're delayed.
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Odds are you've been in line at security and seen someone set off the metal detector. It's also likely that you've then seen someone realize it's because of their belt—and maybe you've been in that situation yourself.
Travel experts say that it's best to avoid the hassle entirely. "When flying, dress for comfort and convenience rather than fashion. One of the most common items I avoid are tight pants and belts," Rax Suen, founder of travel website NomadsUnveiled, says. "You don't want a tight belt on you, which adds to the inconvenience when passing through the security check."
Suen recommends going with bottoms that fit comfortably without a belt. Consider investing in a pair of joggers or hiking pants, which have stretchy waistbands.
Sandals and open-toed shoes
You also have to consider footwear when you're traveling. It's tempting to just slide on your sandals when heading somewhere warm, but travel experts advise against this.
"I would say avoid open-toed shoes—you don't want to get stepped on or have a bag roll over your feet, but even more than that, [think about] how dirty planes are, especially the bathrooms," says Sarah Simon, owner of the travel blog Mukikapup's Travels.
On top of sanitary issues, Simon notes that you want want durable options. "For safety reasons, you always want clothing that covers your body on flights, and if it's durable that's best," she explains. "Plus, the temperature on flights can vary and your feet and head are the main places that make you cold if they're uncovered."
In the same vein, ditch shoes that are tough to get on and off. "I recommend travelers avoid wearing shoes with lots of straps, buckles, or laces to undo. U.S. airports require most passengers to take off their shoes while going through security, and complicated shoes can slow down the line," Michelle Joy, travel writer for Harbors and Havens, says. "There's also not always a convenient spot to sit down and put your shoes back on in busy security zones."
Joy suggests slip-on shoes or sneakers that you can wear with socks. That way, you don't have to walk barefoot during the security screening either.
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Anything made from polyester.
While many travel experts recommend dressing in layers (there's nothing worse than being too cold or warm while stuck in a middle seat) and avoiding anything too heavy, they also emphasize that you need to be selective about fabric.
"Polyester is a popular choice amongst many people since it is lightweight and wrinkle-resistant," Wesley Cunningham, the blogger behind travel site WorldWideyedWes, says. "However, while this may be great for convenience and packing, there are serious considerations that should be taken when choosing to wear polyester."
As Cunningham explains, polyester traps odors more so than natural fibers. "This means that if you sweat or encounter any sort of odor on your travels, these will be more likely to linger around you than with alternative fabrics. No one wants to be 'that' person," he says.
On top of that, polyester doesn't breathe easily, leaving you uncomfortably warm. Cunningham recommends going with classic, breathable cotton, wool, or modal instead.
"Modal is a great alternative if you're looking for something lightweight yet durable enough to handle all of your travels," he says. "It's softer than cotton and twice as absorbent making it the perfect fabric to bring along on those hot summer days. Plus, it doesn't wrinkle as easily, which makes it a great go-to for traveling."