black and green luggage bag on brown carpet
Babcia and Yia Yia!, Notes on Planning and Packing, Study Hall: Essays On Travel

Plus Size Travel 2.0

It’s us! We’re back! Yep! We are back for another look at how the plus size traveler can conquer any challenge that comes her way. Whether it’s trying to find the best spot to sit on a plane or the challenge of streamlining your suitcase, we are here to make plus size travel just a bit easier for anyone who carries just a little more with them than the clothes in their suitcase.

person in white pants lying on bed
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

Plus Size Travel Writers That Are Keeping It Real!

Mary Fran is a plus sized woman who keeps the humor in day to day life as well as travel. She’s become so popular on TicTok that Good Morning America featured her in one of their human interest segments. Meet Mary Fran by clicking here to the original GMA article.

In A Letter To My Thin Friend by Lacie-Jade Christie, the author takes some time to give her friend her perspective on how a plus sized traveler feels dealing with big moments like hiking and little moments like sitting in an airplane seat. Read A Letter To My Thin Friend and link to more stories in this series by clicking here.

woman with cup sitting on couch while working on laptop
Photo by Sarah Chai on Pexels.com

Looking at our clothes

What are you self conscious about when you travel? For us, we are constantly striving to fit in and not impose on others. For us, embracing our size not only means caring for ourselves but also blending into the group we are with or the place that we are spending time. This balance may start with our mindset but always, always, finds its way to our wardrobe.

modern male clothes on hangers in closet
Photo by Erik Mclean on Pexels.com

Taking our clothes on a test drive.

Recently, we’ve been working really hard to make sure every single thing we put into our bags has a good reason for being there. To test out our ideas, we’ve been giving our travel wardrobe a test drive. Here are some of the results! Note that some of the links below are affiliate links. I only recommend products & brands I love and that I think you would love, too!

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  • The jumpsuit solution: jumpsuits are in style right now and plus size women can seize upon this great wardrobe choice to make going out comfortable whether its day or night! Jumpsuits can look sporty or give just the right glam vibe no matter where you travel.
  • Raincoat regrets: There’s always one item that makes its way to the top of the should or shouldn’t I list and that’s our raincoat. It can be a waste of space or the best thing in our bag. I went to Victoria Falls and never pulled it out even though it was recommended and was in the sunniest part of Germany wishing I had one! Take it or leave it, it’s awfully hard to find one in a plus size when you are out and about.
  • Leggings: Whether you use them to work out or to keep warm or comfy, leggings pack small and find so many ways to be part of any capsule wardrobe. We confess! We fell into the rabbit hole of LuLaRoe and we apologize for even thinking this was a good idea. These days, you can find leggings in our wardrobe that don’t include tacos or palm trees. Some of our favorite leggings include great finds from LuLuLemon and Lane Bryant.     

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The classic V-neck: Plus size tops can be so very difficult. They stretch across our boobs, hang too low or act like an unsightly crop top or simply make us look far larger than we are! We are always on the search for V-necks that compliments our neck line so we don’t look like we are strangling ourselves and are just the right length to cover without shortening our legs so we look like oompaloompas. Call us when you find them.   

Bra Basics: The girls always need a lot of attention when you are plus size. Traveling brings a whole new set of challenges to lift, separate, and flatter. Bras need to be super supportive as well as washing and drying easily. It’s not an easy task! We love these super cheap strapless bras (with no clasp to break) as well as our Third Love bras. TL does a great job of fitting you correctly. Not always something that is done well.  We are hoping that plus size bras become more readily available but we don’t expect this to be something that  to be any time soon.    

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  • Scarves or pashminas: One way that we can save room in our luggage is to forego a jacket during fair weather travels. I mean, in the end, we barely use it especially when we’re ducking in and out of shops and museums. And when we do commit to the whole jacket thing we wind up in a sweat juggling a jacket with packages while my mother looks on in disdain. Can we say overheated?! Lately, our jacket alternative is a pashmina and a light scarf that both have a multitude of uses. It’s a blanket on the plane and a jacket that easily wraps around the handle of our handbag. A lighter scarf is a great accessory and a great way to add a little variety to a capsule wardrobe. Both pack small and both do a better job than a jacket.
  • Plus size swimsuits: Ugh. Can we just say this is one of our least favorite topics? We have, however, over the years picked up a few ideas that help. First, no matter what size you are, there is a two piece swimsuit for you. Two piece swimsuits offer plenty of coverage while being far easier to get on and get off whether you are dry or wet. Trust us! We’ve both been dealing with the swimsuit wriggle for far too long, we know what we’re talking about! The next thing that we highly suggest is to have a dedicated packing cube just for your suit. It will always be ready to go and it will take up hardly any space at all! Our cube is small enough to even fit in our bag.
  • Compression socks: This may be our favorite trip saver! Compression socks are known to help with swelling but did you know it also helps with fatigue which could aid in jet lag!? We’ll take it! Unfortunately, not all socks fit plus sized legs! Check out some of our picks below.

How Do You Streamline Your Luggage?

Pop quiz! If you raise your hand if your suitcase is always bigger than everyone else’s even though you have the same amount of stuff. We’ve come up with a few ways to help streamline the amount of stuff we pack up and here are just a few of those thoughts.

  • Staying Make up free is a great choice we’ve made to keep our skin fresh and our bags just a little lighter. Between both of us, we carry one gloss, a brow pencil and mascara. We are done.
  • Compression cubes shrink things down and can be a life saver when trying to stay organized. We use them for everything especially the “just in case” items like swim suits and rain jackets.  
  • Laundry options including where the laundromats are where you are going and Tide sticks is a huge piece of the puzzle for the “my boobs catch a little of everything I eat” crowd. A few dryer sheets in our shoes are not such a bad idea either.
a woman looking at a map
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

What technology do you truly use when you travel?

Let’s face it: travelers need their technology to do double duty. We need items that earn their keep in our bags. In fact, even though we podcast and we have definitely committed to leaving the big camera and computer at home. Instead we focus on making our iPhone earn its keep!           

Stay Inspired

Amazing Race Couple Challenges Eliminated

black and gray desk globe
Study Hall: Essays On Travel, Travel U for Kids

Travel U: The World and All It’s Wonder!

There is something magical about taking the globe off of a classroom shelf. The kids always lean in for the best vantage point. They never want the teacher to stop talking about places on the map. They simply love it. There is no other item in my classroom that evokes more questions than a globe. Last year, as I walked around our school, I noticed most of the globes we had were stamped with the U.S.S.R. A country that simply doesn’t exist. Hmmmm….. I do believe our kids deserved better. Our kids needed to know that there is a balance in understanding the world. I wanted them to know that in order to be truly proud of where you come from, you need to know about where others come from and value that knowledge. Thus, I developed a program at our school called World Wonders Day.

There's nothing like traveling the world via globe!

I wanted a day where kids could become globally literate and explore the world, pour over maps, appreciate their citizenship, feel the good that comes from being diverse. Kids were mesmerized by Paris and Japan. They built Acropolis’ out of paper rolls and Eiffel Towers out of spaghetti and marshmallows. Moreover, they listened to tall tales from Down Under and folklore from Erin’s green shores. As predicted, the kids ate it up! Additionally, they programmed Beebots to scoot across the continents and calculated how long it would take to fly from Peru to Poland. The idea was not to simply be a culture day.

Instead, to start seeing how the world works as one entity. I’m trying. I’m trying to be the teacher that lets kids see the potential around them, that walk away a bit more patriotic, a bit more impressed with another culture, a bit more understanding of something unfamiliar. After all, isn’t that the best kind of teachable moment there is? What does your school or community do to promote global citizenship? How do you instill those great lessons in your household?

Which world globe could work for you?

Check out these age appropriate globes that are perfect for exploring! Note that some of the links below are affiliate links. I only recommend products & brands I love and that I think you would love, too!

low angle photo of notre dame
Study Hall: Essays On Travel, Travel With Alex: Europe 101

Saving A Treasure, Notre Dame

Thinking Back…

A cross shines through the cinders at Notre Dame

I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around those 48 hours. How tragic they were! Our Lady or Notre Dame has been watching the world change since 1163. It has been witness to celebration and tragedy in equal measure. It has seen war and revolution, religious demand and secularism. As the news unfolded, I think we all slowly realized that this was going to be more than just an isolated fire. The true scope of the fire was evident as the beloved spire of 1852 toppled into the flames. Questions of protecting priceless papers, relics and art were now on everyone’s mind. So, how did the world react?

The wooden ceiling in ashes on the floor of Notre Dame

Well, quite decently it seems. Experts along with world leaders each came forward with condolences and messages of hope for Notre Dame’s future. As president Duda spoke to the mourning public and particularly Parisians, the embers were still glowing as money and donations started to come in. Fellow French billionaires came together and have already donated €700 million. Further, the public has the opportunity to donate to rebuild. While money, especially in this day and age is needed, what about the artisans who will be invaluable to a project that can perhaps take 20 years or more?

Time will tell

You may think that 20 years is a long time but considering that Notre Dame took 200 years to put together the first time around, 20 years seems more like a drop in the bucket. Some have come forward with donations of a different kind. Orchestra superstar, Andre Rieu, has pledged the scaffolding from one of his previous concerts to get things going. It may seem like nothing but check out the 700 tons he is offering.

Further, the Polish prime minister has stated that his country is ready to help. That might seem odd at first glance but if you think about it, who else in Europe knows how to rise from the ashes better than the poles? Not very many. And if structures like the UNESCO world heritage site, The Church of Peace, is any example, the Polish might be just the partner the French will need. So impressive!

Rebuilding Notre Dame…

As the early plans for rebuilding start taking shape, others came forward with words to put balm on the fresh wounds. From the travel world, Rick Steves surfaced on CNN from Rome and did an eloquent job of framing Notre Dame’s place in European History. While His Eminance, Timothy Cardinal Dolan represented the Church with grace. Click on the pictures to hear their hopeful words.

Probably the most inspirational story to come out of the whole tragedy is that of Father Jean-Marc Fournier. This fire brigade chaplain led the rescue of relics and artwork inside the sanctuary. He, along with others, created a human chain to save as much as they could. This came after news that, just 5 days ago, all of the statues on the central spire had been removed for restoration.

The Fire Department chaplain

The Future…

However, the future of Notre Dame plays out in the upcoming months and years, one thing is for sure. While it’s timbers may be reduced to ashes, the love for this icon of history and culture will get it through this next chapter. In fact, when you think of the so many other icons of the past like The Hanging Gardens of Babylon or the great colossus of Rome that didn’t make it through the march of time and history, Notre Dame may just wind up becoming quite the Phoenix. Check out the Grand Lady’s Progress…

So, let’s plan on meeting up in central Paris in a couple of years. I’ll be there and so will Our Lady, you can count on that. Resurget ex favilla et phoenix!

Envisioning Notre Dame

For more travel inspiration in France, check out the Parisian neighbor, Normandy. Looking for great resources for your kids? Check out our great list of books for young travelers! As always, you can continue your global journey on our home page by clicking here!