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What to wear for plane travel can literally make the difference between a happy, comfortable flight, and one where you would rather climb out the emergency exit door at 35,000 feet than fly for another second – but finding the best travel clothes can sometimes be tricky.
I have made some huge mistakes with what I’ve dressed both myself and the kids in for plane travel (quick tip: don’t put the kids in anything white, and don’t think for a second that skinny jeans will be comfortable), and now I have our outfits down to a fine art.
Below I’ve given examples of some of the things that we as a family wear for our plane trips, why we chose the particular things that we do, and what I think are the best travel clothes for plane travel.
The best travel clothes for plane travel
Travel clothes for women; what I wear on the plane
1. A comfy sweater is a must for flights. Planes are often freezing cold, and there is almost nothing worse than being cold on a plane. I try to choose a sweater with a zip since I’m breastfeeding, and I don’t want to have to struggle with my outfit to let baby eat. I also try to choose one with a hood, so if (by some miracle!) I get to sleep, I can put my hood up and the sound is a little muffled.
2. Yoga pants are my go-to for plane travel. Jeans are so uncomfortable when you’re sat down for long periods of time, I’m always cold if I wear shorts, and leggings are often too thin and don’t offer enough warmth. Yoga pants don’t crease, they’re super comfy, and really are just a socially acceptable form of pajamas (which I would probably just wear on the plane instead if I could get away with it!)
3. I always bring a scarf on the plane, because it’s useful for so many things. It can keep you warm while that a/c is blasting, it can be used as a cover while nursing, it can be used as a light blanket for you or the kids, and you can even use it to make a little mini tent over your seat for some privacy. I carry a light cotton scarf since it takes up so little space.
4. Most airlines allow you to bring a diaper bag as well as your regular carry on and your handbag when you travel with a baby, and I always recommend bringing a cross-body or a backpack. You definitely want something that has a hands free option, that won’t be sliding off your shoulder all the time – you will have your hands full as it is! I try to bring the smallest diaper bag possible, since I want it to fit under my seat rather than having to put it in the overhead bin so I can get to it if I need it. For my complete list of what to pack in a diaper bag for plane travel take a look at my post here.
5. Going through TSA security while traveling with a baby or kids should be some sort of olympic sport; trying to unpack your laptop and your liquids and fold up the stroller all while trying to juggle a baby can be a nightmare! The last thing you want on top of this is to have to undo shoe laces, so slip-on shoes are an absolute must. I try to avoid sandals because I don’t want my feet to be cold on the plane, so ballet flats are perfect.
Travel clothes for kids
1. Layers are so important on a plane; as I said, it can be freezing cold when you first get on the plane and I want my little one to be warm enough while we wait to take off. However when you get up above the clouds, especially on a long daytime flight with the sun is streaming in, the cabin can get quite warm. I usually go with a t-shirt and a warm sweater so my son can add or take off layers as he likes.
2. For the same reason that I choose yoga pants to fly in, I always have my kids wear joggers on the plane. They’re comfy, they’ll keep them warm, and if something gets spilled on them, they’re pretty easy to clean.
3. Since he was 2, my son has carried his own carry-on. Part of this is giving me one less bag to carry, and part of it is teaching him to carry his own things! I let him pick out the toys and snacks he wants to put in the bag, and then he carries it through the airport. Of course, inevitably I end up carrying it some of the time, and we always end up throwing a few extra toys and snacks in our bag too, but I think this is a good first step in having him be responsible for his own things. Read this post for more recommendations for the best carry on for kids.
4. On my very first flight with my son when he was 5-months old, I dressed him in a white outfit. The plane hadn’t even left the gate before I managed to spill orange juice on him, and realized that white is a terrible color to travel in! At some point, your kids will spill something on themselves (or you’ll do it for them!) so a dark colored t-shirt is a much better option!
5. Again, slip on shoes are a necessity for kids on a plane. Kids under a certain age don’t have to take their shoes off while going through security, but of course my son insists on taking them off anyway, because if it’s good for mommy and daddy, it’s good for him too! He also usually takes them off while we’re on the plane so he can be a bit more comfy, and having ones he can take on and off himself is helpful here.
Travel clothes for babies
1. I find one-piece bodysuits to be the easiest thing to dress a baby in to fly. They’re comfortable, they’re not likely to become un-tucked and make baby cold or uncomfortable, and they’re small enough that you can pack a whole bunch of them in case you need a costume change halfway through – or five minutes into – the trip.
2. Another vote for joggers for baby too! Comfy pants that can be taken on or off depending on the temperature on the plane are a great option.
3. I always pack a blanket for my baby when we travel. Plane blankets are rarely comfortable, and I often worry about them being clean. Having your own blanket to cover baby if he or she sleeps (which is the ultimate goal for a plane trip!) is great, and if baby doesn’t use it, you’ll be able to find another use for it. I try to pack a lightweight one so that it doesn’t take up too much room in my bag.
4. I always bring a lightweight jacket for cold planes, and again, I go for one with a hood to block out a little of the noise from the engines. Chances are that, wherever you travel, you’ll be taking at least one sweater for your baby so this is one less thing to put in your bag. Dark colors are a must again here!
5. I always bring a few pairs of socks for my baby when we travel. I put one pair on him so his feet don’t get cold, but the chances of them staying on for the whole flight are low, and I don’t want to put socks back on that have been on an airplane floor. Baby socks take up so little room, I usually throw about three pairs in.
So this is what we wear for plane travel! I’ve linked all of the options shown below the images, but you can pick up these outfits anywhere, and there are plenty of affordable options.