What to Wear (and Not to Wear) on Your Next Flight

Best clothes for travel

With the countdown to Spring Break edging closer everyday, hopefully there are visions of sunny beaches and fruity umbrella drinks dancing in your head.  Before you head to the airport for travel to a far-flung destination, here’s a quick and easy guide of what to wear and what not to wear on your next flight.  With these tips, you can make a hectic day at the airport a little more relaxing.

1.  Wear shoes that are easy to get on and off.

Leave the cumbersome boots and strappy shoes in your packed luggage.  If you’ve flown in the States in the last several years, you know that shoes have to be taken off at security and run through the X-ray belt.  There’s usually nowhere to sit to remove cumbersome shoes, and so you’ll want to wear ones that are easy to get on and off from a standing position.  Nobody wants to be the person who has people piling up behind her while she undoes endless buckles from tall boots.

Then after you’ve passed through the detector, it’s much less stressful to slip shoes on again and grab your pricey laptop instead of gathering your belongings in a wad and heading for a bench area that’s already packed with other overburdened passengers.

Plus, when you’re racing to your gate, it’s much easier in slip-ons than in heels!

2.  Wear shoes that can be worn with socks.

Save the flip-flops for the beach.  After you’ve removed your shoes and you’re walking through the busy metal detector area, a pair of socks as a barrier between your feet and that well-treaded area will make it so you’re not already thinking about a shower before your trip has even begun.

 3.  When it comes to accessories, think cloth instead of metal.

Large chunky metal jewelry is a hassle in the security area.  It has to be removed before going through the metal detector, and if you forget, you’ll be waiting for TSA to use a wand over your favorite necklace or bracelet.

Put metal jewelry in your carry-on and wear a flowy scarf.  The scarf can later be bunched up into a makeshift pillow on the plane or even used as a small blanket depending on the thickness of the material if things get chilly in flight.

4.  Wear pants or a skirt that don’t require a belt.

Since belts also have to be removed at security, when you’re already unpacking that laptop from its case, removing your shoes, and taking off your jacket, there’s enough to do without adding a belt into the mix.  By choosing a pair of pants or skirt that doesn’t require one, you’ll be through the line that much quicker and with a little less hassle.

What to Wear - Airplane Travel

5.  Nix the perfume and cologne.

Standing in cramped lines, sitting elbow to elbow with strangers, and climbing over a sleeping seatmate mean sharing close-quarters airspace with lots of people.  Be conscious of others, especially those who are sensitive to smells, and after your morning shower, give the perfume or cologne a day off.

6.  Think layers.

Planes have a way of going from oppressively hot to mind-numbingly cold in a matter of 20 minutes.  It makes for a much more comfortable flight if you have a layer for every occasion.  A tank top and cardigan, short sleeved shirt and sweater, or thin blouse and jacket give you options.

7.  Dress comfortably but stylishly.

While it can be tempting to roll out of bed for that 5 am flight and head to the airport in sweats, your chances of getting an upgrade are much better in something more appropriate for first class.  It’s not something that happens all the time, of course, but you can increase your odds by wearing something that looks well put together with a bit of polish.

8.  Look at your layover destination(s) ahead of time and consider keeping a coat in your carry-on.

If your beach vacation first has you stopping in a snowy mountain town for a layover, think about bringing your coat with you.  Even though you won’t need it in the land of margaritas and sunhats, if an overbooked flight or weather snafu get in your way, it’s terrible to be stuck with only swimsuits and shorts.  If your checked luggage goes on without you while the airline puts you up in a hotel overnight in a snow laden layover city, you’ll be much happier with a coat at your disposal.


What are your preferred outfits for travel days?


Image Credit: Photos by Cadry Nelson

Written by Cadry Nelson

Hello!  I’m Cadry Nelson, a vegan food & lifestyle writer.  My aim is to help others live their most compassionate lives and dispel misconceptions about what it means to be vegan.  When I’m not in the kitchen, you’ll find me in the pottery studio making hand-built ceramics or out on the hiking trail.  Visit me at, on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, and find me at .

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