What to wear on a long haul flight

It’s my first time backpacking and my first long term trip away from home. Everything about it excites me right now- even things like planning what to take, looking at accommodation in Perth and yes planning what to wear on the plane! I know, I know it’s still a novelty and will wear off soon but I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts!

This does however, in all seriousness, raise the question of what to wear on a very long flight to the other side of the world.

I picture it now, arriving at Heathrow airport ready to start my journey. I am the epitome of chic. My hair and make-up is picture perfect, sunglasses delicately placed on top on my head, with my luscious locks cascading around them. I’m in my dressy black skinny jeans, which elongate my legs and make them look oh so toned. I have a smart and stylish ¾ length sleeved top on and a beautiful, colourful scarf draped around my neck. On my feet I have my trusty leather flip- flops which allow my newly pedicured toenails to peep out at the destinations ahead.

airpost fashionista
airport fashionista thanks to the blog fashion never sorry


Ok, a girl can dream! I have never been the epitome of chic and nor will I ever be but I think it’s fair to say that most girls want to look their best when starting out on an exciting trip. I know I do, but lets get back to reality…..

My flight leaves the UK at 10.30pm at the end of April. It will be dark and it will be cold. Quite frankly flip-flops and a ¾ length sleeved top just aren’t going to cut it unless I want to resemble a human ice cube. I don’t.

My skinny jeans are tight and with an approximate total time of 19 hours being stuck in a tiny seat, situated inside a tin can in the sky (transit not included), I guarantee that I will spend at least 18.5 hours of that time wanting to rip off the waistband and stretch out the fabric.

skinny jeans too tight
Photo: Flickr/onliska


What about my hair and make-up choices in my daydream? Full face of makeup = a bad idea, a very bad idea. My skin doesn’t need any extra excuses to break out and with a full face of makeup on, plus dehydration from flying and re-circulated air, I think we can say that a breakout would be imminent. My skin will never forgive me if I wear a full face of makeup including foundation, concealer, powder, blusher and highlighter. What about mascara? Now I love mascara and if I am wearing only two items of makeup to work, one of those will always be mascara. The problem I have in terms of wearing it for the flight is twofold:

  • I want to sleep
  • I wear contact lenses

Now girls, we all know that mascara and sleeping are not a match made in heaven. I have never woken up like the Hollywood actresses in the movies after a good sleep with my mascara in place, and don’t even get me started on eyeliner. Even if I wear budgeproof, waterproof, nuclearproof mascara I always wake up resembling a panda. Don’t believe the movies.

I also wear contact lenses and mascara can make my lenses feel very dry in a short space of time, not to forget flakes getting in your eye/under your lenses….owwie! I haven’t decided whether I will wear my contact lenses whilst flying yet. I think for the flight between Heathrow and Hong Kong I will stick with my ugly glasses and then maybe put my lenses in towards the end of the transit time in Hong Kong. Now you may be thinking “well surely you can wear your beloved mascara then?” Oh no my friend. If I wear mascara when I wear my glasses my lashes have this fab habit of rubbing against the lenses and leaving some beautiful black smears. Also it is so much easier to put contacts in BEFORE applying mascara, as any female contact lens wearer will tell you.

Beautifully coiffured locks?

*Sigh,*if only. My hair never does what I want it to anyway, so many times I have genuinely thought about just shaving it all off. I can be 100% certain that if I curl my hair before flying the curls will all have dropped out 2 hours after takeoff. If I straighten my hair it will become the aeroplane equivalent of bed head before I’ve even had my in flight meal. I’m thinking scragging it up is the only option for travel (as much as I’d love to wear it down) but being careful to make sure the bobble is in the right place so it won’t knock against the head rest on the plane, giving me temporary neck paralysis.

bed hair
photo: Daily Star


Sunglasses are surely ok? No. If you are flying at night you won’t look stylish, you will look daft (or confused). Not to mention them digging into your head whilst you are trying to sleep, or possibly breaking. Put them safe in your carry on luggage and whip them out at the other end. During daylight!

Scarf? I’m going to allow myself that one, it adds a very small amount of style but most importantly it’s multi-functional. It can be used during the flight as a blanket, a pillow or as a way to shut out the light when you are trying to sleep (aside from also being a bit good at keeping your neck warm).

So what will I actually wear for the flight? Short answer- comfy, baggy clothes that would take up too much room in my backpack.

I will definitely wear a jumper or a hoody, I looove hoodies! I will be arriving in Perth as it heads towards winter and although I don’t think I will get that cold (I have just survived a UK winter), I’m sure there will be moments when I’m glad to have it with me. If I’m wearing it there it’s one less bulky item to pack.

rawr i'm a dinosaur hoody
I’m obsessed with this Leah Flores hoody which is at Rad.co -one day I will own it!


Layers- it’s all about the layers. Layers are just brilliant as you can add them if you’re chilly, or peel them off if you’re too warm. You can adjust your flight outfit to suit the temperature of your destination when you arrive with ease if you’re wearing layers. Aside from this it once again means less space being taken up and less weight in your checked in bag. I plan to make sure that I have enough room in my carry on bag to store the layers if I need to peel them off. Don’t sit there sweating because you haven’t left enough space!


Ladies I’m sorry it’s time to leave the sexy lingerie at home or pack it in your checked luggage! I live in sports bras anyway and have done ever since I started teaching dance fitness. They are uber comfortable and now I can’t stand wearing an underwired bra for more than a couple of hours. I definitely recommend having a sports bra for travelling in, just be warned you may never go back to underwires!

Pants? Just wear whatever is normally comfortable for you. If you are used to thongs, wear a thong. If you want to wear big old granny pants then heck, go with the granny pants girl (also my “pulling pants” but that’s a story for another day)! It’s extremely unlikely anyone will see them anyway, unless you are unfortunate enough to have a wardrobe malfunction, or suddenly decide to join the mile high club!

granny pants
Photo: memegen


What about trousers? I’m a little stuck here at the time of writing. I do want to take jeans with me (despite having read so many things from other travel bloggers and backpackers saying not to) but they are heavy, bulky items. As you’ve previously read my skinny jeans are out of the equation for travelling in, but I do own a pair of baggy H&M boyfriend jeans that I practically live in day to day in the UK. These are a distinct possibility, along with either leggings, baggy sports trousers/jogging bottoms or a pair of harem pants. Currently I’m undecided, all I know is that they need to be cosy and warm enough for the plane journey.

What about shoes? My advice would be trainers (which are often your heaviest pair of footwear, unless you are taking hiking boots) to save on space and weight. Plus they are comfy and you have no idea how much walking you will do in the airport or to get to your accommodation. Socks are a must and I always have a thick pair of socks on during a flight because my feet just get so cold. This time however, I am taking a pair in my carry on luggage and wearing a stunning pair of compression flight socks (the others may end up over the top). It’s a long flight and although I’m young and healthy I really don’t want to risk Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) aka. a blood clot. No siree, not for me thank you.

Make-up wise I will wear moisturiser, a tinted Vaseline lip balm and possibly a BB/CC cream to add a bit of colour. I may just add some mascara etc. when I hit Australian soil.

This post is a little tongue in cheek. I’m really not a vain bimbo who only cares about her appearance but I am a woman, and a woman who wants to feel her best. My nicer clothes and makeup help me feel more confident in myself and my goodness… as a first time solo traveller I think I will need that extra bit of confidence on arrival!

So what should you wear on a long haul flight?

Clothes that you are warm and comfortable in, that let you feel like yourself and allow you to feel confident wherever you are in the world! Just maybe leave the onsie at home!

onsie plane
Photo glamaroustraveller.com


Wishing you a safe and comfortable journey,

Hannah x



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About The Author


Creative unicorn ninja; Travel vlogger/blogger. Green tea enthusiast and lover of dance and art. Currently be found back in England planning the next adventure! Southeast Asia Odyssey coming very soon!

Where I can be found: UK

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