chubby struggles

Plus Size Packing – Carry Ons, Lost Luggage, and Rompers, Oh My!

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I hate packing.

Traveling continentally is something I’ve done a fair amount of, but usually I’m with my family or friends, and it’s not a big deal if my suitcase is the size of a small human.

In an attempt of Daring Greatly, as per Brene Brown, I decided to spend my birthday this year gallivanting through Europe by myself. There are so many things I should and could be nervous about for this trip.

But what is really making me nervous is the packing.

Packing always freaks me out because I am the queen of not knowing what to wear. What if the weather changes and I need those four sweater options? What if I pack while I’m in the mood for rainbow hues and I’m in a gothic mood when I get there?

But every adorable millennial travel Instagrammer says the NUMBER ONE rule of a successful, laid-back, beautiful adventurer is packing everything in a carry on.

Everyone I stalk on the internet or talk to in person goes ON about how you don’t want to carry your luggage around because it’ll ruin your trip, everyone loses their luggage internationally, and the best carefree travelers don’t need that much stuff to carry around.

Naturally, when I read this, I started googling carry-ons. God, they are ADORABLE. But when I tried to figure out how to Tetris three weeks of clothing into 21” of space, the panic attacks began. See, it’s one thing to pack a little capsule wardrobe as a straight size fashion blogger.

But when you’re a 3X, it’s not as easy.

One pair of jeans? The case is a quarter full. A sweater? Halfway there. Don’t even get me started on shoes. Even my sandals take up too much space at a size eleven. Don’t get me wrong, I even placated my fashion blogger urges and tried to figure out how to get away with a week of clothes for my three week trip. But every time I tried, I ended up sitting in tears with underwear in my hands.

Packing is stressful enough, and I just want to have fun and be an adorable millennial Instagram travel blogger like everyone else. But it’s not that simple.

I just don’t fit.

When you’re plus sized, it doesn’t have to be a blatant comment about being too fat to travel. It’s the ignorance that eats away at you. The fact that when I say I’m going to check a bag, I’m told I’ll lose my luggage, I’m going to be miserable, I obviously haven’t traveled much or researched anything. Or when I say I can’t pack that small, I’m told I’m being lazy or haven’t tried.

But when I blatantly say, “I’m too fat for a carry on,” they either ignore me or still tell me it’s an excuse, because they can do it with their size four clothes.

I’m not hating on anyone smaller than me. Honestly, I’m jealous. I would love to pack all my shit in a cute pink carry on spinner set. It fulfills all my travel dreams.

But I can’t.

So I’m going to check a bag.
Because if I’m going to be dragging along a big ass suitcase, I might as well be able to look fabulous in all the size 24 clothing I want.


  1. theraelynx

    May 29, 2017 at 11:15 am

    You will and always will be my favorite. I bet all those judgemental people don’t sweat either. Can we come up for a term for when skinny people try to explain something that’s not valid for plus sized beauties? How about skinnysplaining?

    • This Curvy Life

      May 29, 2017 at 11:22 am

      So I have had this issue for years. The only thing that has worked for me is using the “burrito” method for packing. I had to be going to a warm climate for the carry on. Cool weather only let me get 3 sweaters and jeans and pjs that thing was bursting at the seams. lol

  2. Cathy

    May 29, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    I resently had to take a business trip to Idaho. I knew right away I was not messing around with just a carry on bag, like everyone else. But I did however have one. In it was one awesome outfit and my medicine, plus a few snacks. If my one checked bag went missing I would at least have some essentials. Like clean underwear!

    • AS

      May 29, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      Brilliant! I was totally planning on doing that as well!

  3. Karen N.

    May 29, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    To make it easier to navigate with a checked and a carry on bag, make sure the carry on handles can go over the pull out handle of the checked one. Then stack them and roll on down the sidewalk…

    • AS

      May 29, 2017 at 10:28 pm

      Ooooh perfect!

  4. Vicky

    June 13, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    I’ve learned the glory of “vacuum sealed bags.” They have these travel bags in the travel bag sections of like Wal-Mart. They’re the kind where you roll them up and smash them to let the air out and they stay that condensed size. I swear by them because I also need to travel with a million travel options. I bring some febreeze or fabric relaxer type product just in case they end up too wrinkly , they usually don’t if you fold them right. Or I would suggest putting things that don’t wrinkle easily this way. I get the struggle though. When I went to Iceland with my best friends, they could fit all their tiny clothes in their back packs and here I came with all my luggage filled to the brim! hahahaha

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