Sure, a pound of feathers and a pound of bricks weigh the same. However, a suitcase with three of my outfits and a different suitcase with three of Kate Middleton’s outfits are simply not going to weigh the same. Not even if she packed solid gold accessories and a tiara sporting the Hope diamond. Them’s the facts. Therefore, packing as a fluffy person can be challenging, especially if you’re traveling for long periods of time.
With new airline rules that exclude you from bringing a suitcase to your destination unless you pay an insane fee, more people are trying to travel only with carry on luggage. If I’m going somewhere with easy access to laundry, I can maybe get away with this. But even cruise ships these days are ditching laundry rooms in favor of you having them wash everything – again, for an insane fee. Travel is getting more expensive every year and I don’t forsee it getting any better.
Recently, I had some friends over for a three night stay, and my fluff-free pal literally only brought a backpack – AND – she was moving on to another destination after she left me. She hilariously joked that thongs and pasties don’t weigh anything, and that’s when I realized how important this blog entry was going to be. She’s right. It’s just dang logic, a medium is smaller than a large etcetera, etcetera.
So, along with the packing tips I’m going to provide, I’m going to start with RULE NUMBER ONE. Quite possibly the most important thing you’ll ever read on this blog. Rule number one, is to pack anything and everything you will actually need. Duh, right? Sounds like I’m mansplaining or some shit. But no. This is literally more important than you may think. A lot of people new to travel, fluff-free travelers and sometimes the absent minded fluff ball, can leave for their destination with a dangerous thought, “Ohhh, if I’ve forgotten anything I’ll just get it there.” To some, the act of shopping for clothing and accessories while traveling is a big part of the fun of traveling. That is why you can’t enter the tourist section of a city and not find dozens, if not hundreds of shops. Here is the problem… depending on where you’re traveling, it’s always completely likely you’re not going to find your size if you need something. In some European countries that don’t have a population of fluffies – you’ll be lucky if you find an XL.
I’d say a 2x and maaayyybe a 3x can be found in most places, oftentimes however, only in mens. And while a mens shirt would do in a pinch if I were left with no other option, I always look like Dennis Nedry from Jurassic Park when I wear mens clothing. Eek, right? Lets also throw in the fact that even a mens 3X might not fit me. I’m a super fluff, as I’ve told you. I buy a 4x/5x in most of my clothes. Therefor, I must pack every single item of clothing I may need. Soup to nuts — or rather socks to pajamas.
Let me digress a wee bit and tell you a short tale about how I learned that RULE NUMBER ONE was so dang important. So a few years back, I was doing a Christmas cruise to Mexico out of San Diego for a week. I’ve mentioned a few times, I’m a Clark W. Griswold, so I packed a couple of weeks in advance and never really revisited my suitcase, except to shove in last minute toiletries. Well, when I’d originally packed I folded my underoos into a neat little pile – 8 pair – JUST in case I needed a spare. Later that day I also did laundry and folded everything on my bed before putting it away. I sure didn’t think twice when I put a nice neat stack of 8 underoos in my drawer, now did I? So, I get to the cruise ship cabin and begin to unpack on day one. A perfect drawer for my pajamas, jut enough hangers for my tops… and I love keeping my underoos in this dra…we..r… Where the living eff where my underoos?
No joke, the first thought that popped into my head was that the ship crew were checking my bag for booze and drugs and found my oversized underoos and decided to keep them for a laugh. That is where my head went first. A bunch of Holland American crewman were gonna get drunk that night wearing my underoos as hats and seeing how many men could fit inside one pair of my undergarment. Yup. The second thought that ran through my head was how my Mother was going to call everyone we knew to tell them I’d done this and I’d never live it down. And my final thought was the important one, what the hell am I going to do with literally only the underoos on my backside? UGH. Needless to say, there was a Kmart at our first port – and NOPE! Nada, zilch. So, I had to – every single night for a week – wash my underoos in a sink and then use a blow-dryer to dry them off. No fun.
Now, on a more recent trip – a big and tall guy on my trip gave all of his pants to the hotel to clean because they said the could do them over night… and well, they didn’t. Our bus left at 8am sharp, so he and his wife spent every spare moment throughout the trip trying to find a big and tall shop in freaking Switzerland of all places. Poor guy had to wear the same Khaki pants for 10 days, no kidding. So – it’s not just us ladies, men with fluff, it ain’t easy out there. So YES, pack every single thing you’re going to need.
TIP FOR PACKING AS A PLUS SIZED GLOBETROTTER
- Personally I visualize what I’ll need from my head down to my toes. For example, head = Shampoo, conditioner, hair ties, hair clips, hats, q-tips, eye drops, tissues, face soap, lotion… you get the idea. Then I work my way down by body to the toes. I’ve found this to be crazy helpful.
- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, break in your shoes before you travel. I know shopping for an upcoming adventure is half the fun of the adventure itself, but do not wait until you’re in Paris to try on those cute new shoes. Have those puppies broken in.
- Pack light layers of clothing. Even when I went to the cold snow this last Spring, instead of packing a huge heavy jacket, what I did was pack a few long sleeved shirts, that could be used any day. Then I brought a flannel top that could be used as a light jacket and a couple of sweaters. You could be almost anywhere wearing a long sleeved shirt, a flannel shirt and a sweater and be fine. I just brought along a windbreaker that was super light and easy to fold up really small as my jacket.
- This brings me to packing multi-tasking clothing items. I used that flannel I’d packed as a cute jacket over a black tank top in London, and then again as a layer in actively flowing snow and finally as a robe if the hotel rooms were chilly. A black camisole can go under almost anything and quickly be washed in a bathroom sink to be used again. You only need one dress for all of your fancy nights – literally no one is going to remember what you wore to dinner three days ago. If you’re really worried, wear a cute sweater with it one of the nights. A light cotton dress can be used as a bathing suit cover up, an afternoon outfit to go out to lunch as well as a modesty outfit to throw over pajamas to go grab some ice down the hall.
- Certain items ARE actually worth bringing two or more of. For me it’s bras (day and sleep), shape wear, jeans and in some cases pajamas. This is simply because these items are closest to your body – and you’re going to be moving a lot on vacation, and that means these items are likely to get sweaty and ripe. Having two means one can always be rinsed out and drying in the bathroom. Also, when I go on a “bathing suit vacation” as I call them, I always bring two suits. Getting into a wet and cold swimsuit is grody to the max.
- At night, air out things like jeans and sweaters. The crotches of pants can get ripe pretty quick, especially if you’ve done a lot of sitting, like on a bus. I always turn my jeans inside out at night and hang them on a chair near a window. (I told you I’d never hold back… sorraaay) This will air out and dry any sweaty areas overnight until you can actually wash the garment.
- Underoos folks. If you’re going for under 8 days pack whatever underoos you want. However, if you’re anticipating having to wash these, instead of packing double, pack smarter. Cotten underwear takes for freaking ever to dry. However, lace and microfiber underoos will definitely dry over night. Just don’t forget the laundry detergent!
- Ladies – if you’re anticipating your menstrual cycle on your vacation – pack the pad/tampon/alternative of your choice. You might not be able to find the kind you like that keep you clean and dry in the middle of Peru, you know? So pack them in. I know it takes up room – but I’ll let you mull over the alternative…. …. … yeah. Pack em.
- Hand Fans! Oh em gee. I cannot tell you how many dozens and dozens of times a cheap hand fan has saved my life. Not to mention, how many people see me with my hand fan and comment on how much they wish they had one, too. Good for planes, trains, taxis, ferries, hotel lobbies… the list is literally endless. Buy a couple, put one in your purse and one in your carry on, and if you love your travel companion bring a spare! Men, lets start a man-fan trend. Once another man sees you with your hand fan and realizes how masculinity shouldn’t be shackled by peer pressure – the world will be a better place.
- Baby wipes! They take off make up, clean up spills, save your life in a public toilet out of TP, cool you off, can be a quick mini shower if you’re stinky, and can clean airplane tray tables. Just like hand fans, their uses are practically endless! TRY THEM OUT before you go in case you’re allergic. Or simply buy sensitive ones like I do. You don’t want an itchy lady area while climbing the Eiffle Tower!!
- A selfie stick. I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW, they’re the devil and everyone hates them. That is, until they try them. No, you’re not going to be an asshole and keep it out full time… get one that easily and quickly collapses so you can get your photo in under 15 seconds. You’ll get far better pictures of your cute self than holding the camera with just your hand… not to mention more than just a close up of your face. We’re talking, you can see the Colosseum in the back ground.
- A Hydroflask!! If you haven’t already discovered the Hydroflask – it is high time you did! These things are light (when empty) and keep liquids super cold or super hot. For hours and hours, like, up to 12 hours. Every morning before work I fill a 40 ounce Hydroflask halfway with ice and then fill it to the top. Most days I get home and there is still ice inside. For traveling fluffies, don’t forget to drink your water!! You’re going to be moving a heck of a lot more on vacay than at home, so make sure you’re hydrating — and the Hydroflask is my personal favorite way to go. Fill it up before you leave for the day and you’ll stay hydrated and energized!
- Finally, bring a trash bag for a laundry bag. Ain’t no one want their stinky stuff getting your clean clothes smelly!! AND AND, if you get stinky feet/shoes bring an EXTRA bag for putting stinky shoes in.
For travel advice for planes – don’t forget to read Plus Sized on a Plane for further advice