Plus-Size Traveler Influencers' Best Tips For Planning The Perfect Trip

The Federal Aviation Administration has asked fliers what they think of the space available on airplanes, and the answers are not favorable, according to the Washington Post. Many find airline seats too squished together and voiced their concerns during the public comment period that ran from August to November 2022. If you have felt that the legroom on planes has been shrinking over the years, you aren't wrong. Airline seats are shrinking, even though — on average — Americans are larger.

Plus-size travelers may experience discomfort that ranges from annoying to extreme when traveling. The joys of travel may feel off-limits for plus-size individuals who have no idea how to navigate an ever-shrinking airline industry. Whether visiting a tropical destination or Niagara Falls, everyone — regardless of their body shape and size — should be able to enjoy exploring the world.

"We all deserve to be happy, to travel, to be loved, to love ourselves, to experience life to the fullest, and so much more," plus-size travel advocate Jae'lynn Chaney wrote on Instagram. Chaney shares her experiences traveling the world while plus-sized on social media, with her work seen in Allure and Buzzfeed. We've gathered tips from Chaney and other plus-sized influencers to make your vacation accessible and amazing. 

Research carefully and don't be afraid to call ahead

Journalist Carlisa Johnson recommends taking to Google to research each part of your vacation, according to USA Today. Use Google Images to Google Maps to get visuals of how accessible the spaces you want to go are. "I look at the images available to ensure there are seats available that don't have armrests," Johnson says. Jae'lynn Chaney told USA Today that she uses online reviews to get a feel for businesses away from home. "I've started to use an app called Friendly Like Me, which is dedicated to capturing reviews — from people of all sizes and abilities — on whether or not a business is fat-friendly and size-accessible," Chaney said.

In addition to online research, you can advocate for yourself before you have even arrived at your destination. If a tour listing is vague when it comes to accessibility, a call or email to the tour operator could save you a lot of future stress.

Above all, both Johnson and Chaney emphasized the importance of making your needs heard and not feeling ashamed of your body. "Take the space you need and take the time you need," Johnson told USA Today. "While requesting accommodations may make you feel like a burden, you are paying money just like everyone else and deserve the same levels of comfort. Arriving early for travel, excursions and events ensures you have time to get all you need to truly enjoy yourself and feel comfortable."