As much as we love travelling, let’s admit it—flying can sometimes feel like more of a burden than a privilege. Sitting in an enclosed space, very close to other people, and unable to move around (much) for an extended period can definitely take a toll on both your mind and body.
While it’s understandable to want to be comfortable on a long flight, that doesn’t necessarily mean rocking up in your pyjamas is the best option. If flying can make you feel a little gross and groggy, wearing something unflattering will only make you feel more frumpy. But what do you do when you want to look good and feel good while travelling? It sometimes seems like an impossible feat to accomplish.
To get some insider insight, we spoke with Anastasia Andreev, a Qantas flight attendant, to get her advice about the best secrets for dressing and packing when travelling. We don’t know about you, but we’ll definitely be adopting this advice on our next trip. After all, who would have better insight than someone who travels professionally?
Since you travel frequently, what are your go-to travel wardrobe staples?
One of the best tips that I was told when I started flying, as cliché as it sounds but ‘less is more’. When packing your suitcase, it is important not to over-pack. Key pieces such as a good pair of jeans, shorts, singlet, button up shirt, a little dress and a denim jacket are the staple items, these can all be dressed up or down and be worn in various climates, whilst still looking stylish.
What clothing essentials do you always pack in your carry on?
A change of clothes should always be packed in your carry on, especially when travelling long-haul. I include a pair of jeans, a plain or button shirt. This way you’ll always be prepared, and it will allow for a quick refreshing change before you arrive. During the flight it can get very cold, so it’s always best to pack either a warm cardigan (try merino wool) or a pashmina scarf, both stylish and practical.
What is the best thing to wear on a plane?
When dressing for a flight it is important to be comfortable and warm. I always try to wear darker colours on a plane so I’m not worried if there’s a stain on my shirt after the flight. Black dress pants or dark jeans are always my first choice paired with a collared or buttoned shirt and a pair of either black flats (with dress pants) or casual shoes (with jeans). I always wear a singlet underneath to regulate body temperature (layering is important when travelling). A buttoned shirt will make you feel more put together before, during and after a flight. For men, it’s best to find (crease free materials) such as chinos with a plain shirt and a cardigan to look smart, yet comfortable and warm. Always pack a pair of thick socks for the flight, which ensures your feet are kept warm and makes a huge difference throughout the flight.
What is something that people often overlook when dressing for a flight?
It is important to consider what climate you’re flying into. If flying into a colder climate, always pack a light jacket (ultra light down puffer jacket) which is easy to fold into your carry on bag and takes up minimum space. If you’re arriving into a warmer climate, you can strip the layering or replace your buttoned shirt with a singlet or a clean plain t-shirt.
Have you mastered the art of packing your clothes? Do you have any advice?
Being a more traditional packer, I always fold my clothes, to make sure that the iron is used as little as possible. Having three pairs of shoes should also be enough to get you from day to night; I always have my black converse, a nude strappy heel, and of course a bright sandal for a pop of colour packed and ready to go for any occasion.
Are there any secrets for looking put-together even after a long-haul flight?
A few products I like to use throughout the flight to make sure I feel refreshed when I land include a soothing or moisturising face mist (MAC Fix +) for an instant refresh throughout the flight, hand creme and an essential oil. Rub a few drops of peppermint essential oil on your wrists and temples, which has a calming and soothing effect on the body, whilst invigorating the senses. I store all this in a small - medium size toiletries bag with wipes, toothbrush, deodorant, perfume and lip balm (remember to keep everything under 100ml). Opt for a clear bag; it will be much more convenient to find the smaller items. A few makeup essentials for a quick ‘touch up, before touch down’, include a BB cream or tinted moisturiser on the skin, mascara to open up the eyes and some blush to make you look more fresh and awake.
What do you think about planning what to bring when you travel?
I always consider how long I will be travelling for. This will determine how much backup clothing I will pack in my carry on and whether or not I need a full outfit change upon arrival. It’s also very important to bring a memory foam travel pillow when travelling for more than 6+ hours. It will ensure that your head has somewhere to rest and will be the biggest savior when trying to have a nap. Many people underestimate the travel pillow, but I never travel without mine.
What is the best luggage for carry on? Which types of bags are better than others?
For carry on luggage I recommend a small wheelie suitcase, that way you’re not carrying everything on your shoulders. A small wheelie bag is easy to navigate through the terminal, it’s easy to organise your clothes and other necessities neatly and will ensure everything is kept intact. A small wheelie bag is easy to pop up in the overhead locker, allowing for extra leg room. Make sure you read your airline’s guidelines for in-cabin baggage, usually its weight restricted to 7kgs for economy passengers and 14kg for business and first class passengers.