Essential Outfit and Accessories Guide: What to Wear on an International Flight

Traveling internationally? It’s not just about packing your suitcase right, but also about choosing the perfect outfit for your flight. The key is to balance comfort and style while keeping in mind the changing climates, long durations, and varied in-flight conditions.

Your outfit can make a huge difference in your travel experience. It’s vital to consider factors like the material of your clothes, the number of layers you’re wearing, and the kind of accessories you carry. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of selecting the perfect attire for your international flight.

Remember, the best travel outfit is one that keeps you cozy yet chic, and prepared for any situation. So, let’s dive in and explore the do’s and don’ts of what to wear on an international flight.

Key Takeaways

  • Prioritize comfortable and breathable fabrics for international travel. Merino wool and bamboo fabric are excellent choices thanks to their softness, temperature regulation, and moisture-wicking properties. Also, consider cotton, linen, and stretchy fabrics for added comfort.
  • Be strategic about layering. Start with a comfortable base layer, add a flexible middle layer for temperature control, and finish off with a versatile outer layer to protect against chill. Layering can significantly increase your in-flight comfort and preparedness.
  • Slip-on shoes are ideal for international flights. They offer convenience during airport security checks and allow you to comfortably stretch your feet during the flight. When choosing slip-on shoes, prioritize comfort, breathability, and versatility.
  • Scarves and shawls can work as fashionable mobile blankets, enhancing comfort during long, often chilly flights. Opt for breathable materials that are easy to pair with other clothing items.
  • Don’t forget about travel accessories. Items such as travel pillows, noise-canceling headphones, sleep masks, and compression socks can greatly enhance your in-flight comfort and safety, making your journey smoother and more enjoyable.

Choosing the right outfit and accessories for an international flight can significantly impact your comfort and travel experience. Never Without Navy outlines key elements of an international flight outfit, including comfortable shoes and a long cardigan for warmth. Condé Nast Traveler suggests brands that offer comfort akin to pajamas but are stylish enough for the airport lounge. Additionally, Stuffed Suitcase shares tips for staying comfortable when flying, emphasizing the importance of choosing the right clothes for long-haul flights.

Choose Comfortable Fabrics

Your choice in fabric can make or break your travel experience. Comfortable fabrics are a must for any form of travel, but especially so when it comes to international flights. Think lightweight, breathable, and preferably non-creasing materials for guaranteed plane comfort.

One of your best choices would be merino wool. It’s soft, breathable, and naturally regulates temperature, which means it’ll keep you warm in cold conditions and cool when it’s hot. Additionally, it neutralizes odors and wicks away moisture. It’s also lightweight and packs up small, making it a highly practical fabric choice.

Another fantastic option is bamboo. Like merino wool, bamboo fabric is soft, temperature-regulating, and moisture-wicking, but it’s also hypoallergenic – an excellent choice if you suffer from sensitive skin or allergies.

Other suitable fabrics to consider include cotton for its breathability and linen for its lightweight.

Synthetic fabrics such as polyester draw mixed reviews from travelers. While these materials are durable and can have moisture-wicking properties, they may not offer the same level of breathability as more natural fibers.

It’s also wise to consider stretchy fabrics. When you’re confined in a single seat for long hours, having clothes that can flex and move with your body adds to your overall comfort. Stretchy materials, most often found in jeggings or travel-specific clothing, allow you to move freely and feel more relaxed.

While choosing your travel outfit, you should bear in mind the listed fabrics, but avoid heavy materials or materials that crease easily like raw silk or heavy denim. Your fabric choice will not only impact your flight comfort but also affect how you feel upon arrival. Your aim should be to step off the plane feeling fresh and ready to enjoy your destination.

Fabric TypeProperties
Merino WoolSoft, Breathable, Temperature-regulating, Odor-neutralizing, Moisture-wicking
BambooSoft, Temperature-regulating, Moisture-wicking, Hypoallergenic
Polyester (Synthetics)Durable, good for moisture-wicking but lack natural fiber breathability
Stretchy FabricsFlex and move with your body, provide extra comfort

Layering is Key

As you embark on your international journey, understanding the concept of layering will be a game changer. Layering is a strategic method of dressing that ensures maximum comfort throughout your flight. It’s not about piling on all the clothes you can–it’s about strategically choosing your garments for versatility, comfort, and temperature regulation.

Begin with a comfortable, breathable base layer, like a merino wool or bamboo T-shirt. These high-performing fabrics will wick away moisture, keeping you fresh and dry. Remember, they’re also lightweight and don’t crease easily, so you’ll arrive looking as good as when you boarded.

Your middle layer could be a comfortable, flexible zip-up or cardigan. This is crucial for adjusting to temperature fluctuations in the cabin. Opt for a flexible material like a cotton-blend to ensure optimum comfort and freedom of movement.

Finally, top it all off with a versatile outer layer. A stretchy, lightweight jacket or open-front cardigan works wonders here. This will be your primary protection against the notorious airplane chill. Plus, it’s easy to slip off as the plane ascends and the interior cabin temperature rises.

Clothes that can fold down small enough to easily be stored in your carry-on bag are an added bonus. Some prefer to bring along a cozy scarf. This can double as a blanket or pillow during your flight for added warmth and comfort.

Don’t forget to pay attention to your lower body as well. Leggings or loose trousers made from stretchy materials provide ample legroom without constricting your movement. Pair this with comfortable flight socks to boost your flight experience.

Bear in mind that airlines often crank up the A/C for takeoff and landing, and during turbulence. So it’s extremely important to have layers that you can put on or remove as needed.

Choosing and layering your travel wardrobe with intent can significantly enhance your comfort during international flights. It’s an essential consideration to make when packing for your next journey.

Opt for Slip-on Shoes

Moving on to the lower half of your travel ensemble, we can’t talk about international travel wear without addressing footwear. Your choice in this fantasy can majorly impact your comfort during the long hours of an international flight.

Slip-on shoes should be your ideal pick. These types of shoes are easy to wear and remove, perfect for airport security checks, and taking them on and off during the flight. Imagine being able to send your shoes through the scanner without having to sit, unlace and then re-lace your shoes, or better yet, ease into and out of them mid-flight to stretch your feet.

You might be wondering, what parameters to consider? First and foremost, consider the comfort. Choose a shoe with plenty of cushioning and support for the loves of your feet. Don’t fall for those stylish yet cruel shoes that’ll end in your feet crying out in pain. You want to land at your destination with happy feet, remember?

Another aspect to look for when selecting your shoe is the material. Acknowledge breathable materials like mesh or canvas to keep your feet from sweating. Who likes sweaty feet, right? Furthermore, if your chosen slip-ons are fresh out of the box, do consider wearing them a few times beforehand. Breaking in your shoes at 30,000 feet isn’t fun, trust us.

Lastly, think about the color and style. Darker shades might mask any accidental spills or dirt accumulated during transit. As for style, look for something versatile that can compliment your many outfits. This can help save some precious suitcase space.

Choosing the right footwear isn’t rocket science. By remembering to opt for slip-on shoes that score high on both the comfort and convenience charts, you’re one step closer (pun intended) to acing the travel wear game.

Stay Cozy with Scarves and Shawls

Choosing the right outfit for your international flight isn’t just about the clothes you wear and the footwear you choose. Accessories matter, and scarves and shawls can significantly enhance your comfort during long, often chilly, flights.

Why Use Scarves and Shawls?

Think of them as your mobile blanket that’s as fashionable as it’s functional! When it’s time to nap, you can wrap one around you and settle into comfortable sleep. You’ll save precious cabin space that’d otherwise be taken up by bulky jackets or blankets.

Types to Consider

Your options for travel-friendly scarves and shawls are plentiful. Always go for breathable, lightweight materials like cotton or wool blends that ensure comfort without causing overheating. Make sure they’re wide and long enough to cover you adequately when you decide to take that in-flight snooze.

Avoid scarves and shawls with tassels or loose threads that might get caught in plane mechanisms. Plain or subtly patterned scarves are good choices for ease of pairing with other clothing items.

Temperature Changes

Airlines are known for changing cabin temperatures throughout flights, often resulting in cold spells. Your scarf or shawl acts as your personal thermostat, allowing you to cover up more during freezes and loosen up when temperatures rise.

Permissible in Security Checks

Remember your slip-on shoes for smooth security checks? Your scarf or shawl is just as handy! They are generally permitted through security, saving you the hassle of removing and re-wearing post-screening.

Don’t Forget the Travel Accessories

Your outfit is not quite complete without the right accessories. When planning what to wear on your international flight, it’s crucial to consider the pieces that’ll enhance your comfort and convenience. You know how important a scarf or shawl can be, both for style and function. But, what about other essentials?

Let’s dig into this a little deeper.

Travel Pillows

These are true lifesavers. Not only do they provide support for your neck during those long hours in the air, but they can also double as a cushion whenever you need one. Go for a travel pillow with memory foam for optimum comfort. It’ll mold to the contours of your body, reducing pressure points and ensuring you get those much-needed Zs.

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Frequent flyers swear by the magic of noise-canceling headphones. They’re a must if you intend to get some sleep on your flight. Drowning out the noise of the aircraft and the conversations of fellow passengers, they provide you with the peace and quiet you need. Choose wireless options for maximum convenience.

Sleep Masks

A sleep mask is a small yet critical accessory. Especially useful when you’re trying to sleep amidst the cabin lights, it can help regulate your sleep cycle by creating a dark environment. Opt for a mask made from smooth, breathable fabric to avoid any skin irritation.

Compression Socks

Last, but certainly not least, don’t overlook the importance of compression socks. These are designed to promote blood flow and can significantly reduce the risk of developing dangerous blood clots or suffering from swelling feet. They may not be the pinnacle of fashion, but they’re a game-changer when it comes to in-flight comfort and safety.

Remember, it’s the small things that can make a world of difference on a long, international flight. These accessories not only enhance your comfort but also help ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.


So, you’ve got the lowdown on what to wear on an international flight. It’s not just about looking stylish, but also ensuring maximum comfort and safety. Remember, travel pillows, noise-canceling headphones, sleep masks, and compression socks are more than just accessories. They’re your allies in combating discomfort, noise, light, and even potential health risks during long-haul flights. So, the next time you’re prepping for an international journey, keep these tips in mind. Dress smart, pack smarter, and you’re all set for a smooth, comfortable flight. Safe travels!

Frequently Asked Questions

What travel accessories are vital for international flights?

The essential travel accessories for international flights are travel pillows, noise-canceling headphones, sleep masks, and compression socks. These contribute to enhancing comfort, safety, and overall travel experience.

Why is a travel pillow important for a flight?

A travel pillow is important because it provides neck support and comfort, especially during long flights, thereby reducing the risk of cramps and pain.

How do noise-canceling headphones improve a flight experience?

Noise-canceling headphones improve the flight experience by creating a peaceful environment free from external noise, ensuring that passengers can rest well or entertain themselves without distractions.

Why should one use a sleep mask during a flight?

A sleep mask is used during a flight to facilitate better sleep. It aids in regulating sleep cycles by blocking out light, enabling a more restful and uninterrupted sleep.

How can compression socks assist in a safer travel?

Compression socks assist in safer travel by promoting efficient blood flow and reducing the risk of blood clots, particularly on long flights, where movement is limited.