What it’s like to be a PLUS-size female traveller

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I’ve been a plus-size traveller for most of my adult life and there are definitely differences in the way I travel because of it that I don’t think people realise who don’t fit into the plus-size mould.

You can never find your size of clothing abroad

Need a pair of plus-size jeans? Like that cute top you see in the shop window? Well, in most countries around the world you can forget it. The UK is hard enough to find plus-size wear on the high street, but it’s actually far ahead of many countries I have visited – and that includes in western Europe! What’s even more startling though, is that in countries where women are known for their fuller figures, I’ve still found it hard to find clothing that fits. For example, in Turkey and Colombia – 2 countries known for their fuller figure women – I still found it hard to find clothes above a size 14 in most shops. Perhaps there are shops there for plus-size clothing that I just didn’t come across, but they’re certainly not in abundance, nor easy to find!

If your bra snaps – you’re screwed!

DD+ bras are an even harder thing to find abroad than general plus-sized wear! For those of us with big boobs this means that you’re always having to pack an extra couple of bras in case one snaps or becomes worn out (which happens more often when you travel and have larger breasts too). The only thing that has saved me a few times is actually knowing that in Europe I can usually find a Marks n Spencer’s, which whilst costing quite a bit more than other shops, will at least always stock my size! They may not on the other hand stock the style of bra I want, and I’d much rather shop local, but they will at least always have something in my size if my bra is done and I need another one!

You’ll get more attention in certain countries

Generally speaking, if you head to countries in Latin America or North Africa/the Middle East, fuller figures are adorned there in the way they’re just not in the West. It’s actually quite startling when you first go there as – if you’re anything like me – you’re just not used to such attention in your home country. The language barrier can also mean that people are sometimes a lot more direct about telling you they like you too, and it takes quite a bit of getting used to. Equally, the unrealistic beauty standards of the West, where thinner is always better, can see you completely ignored in their countries. It’s certainly interesting as a traveller to hop from country to country experiencing the different ideas of beauty and social norms.

You’ll fit in more as a local in countries known for their fuller figured women

One of the definite benefits of being a plus-sized traveller (particularly a dark haired plus-sized traveller), is that in countries where ladies are a bit larger, you fit in more as a local. I generally find – particularly in countries like Argentina, Spain and Turkey – as long as I’m wearing my sun glasses to hide my blue eyes, they always confuse me for a local when I’m walking around. Up until the point I start talking that is… then I give the game away! It definitely helps in some of those countries though to be fuller figured while travelling, so whilst you may not be able to find your clothes size, you may at least see a little bit more of a place like a local would.

There’s a myth that fat people are not outgoing…

And last but not least, every image I see of a traveller is usually a thin one. Yet, on the road I’ve met lots of travellers who are overweight. They’re not in the majority, but they are definitely there and they take part in almost all of the same adventure activities that everyone else does! However, there is some myth that all fat people do is sit inside watching telly. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they’re are a lot of fat people who do watch a lot of TV and aren’t particularly active, but just because I’m not one for gyms and I like to eat what I like doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy getting outdoors and experiencing life!! I may not have a healthy lifestyle at times, but I do have a life! Which is why I think we need more plus-size travel bloggers! It’s about time we were more represented in the blogging world so that plus-size people can see that we exist and be inspired. At least that’s my take on it anyway, but there are certainly both positives and negatives to being a plus-size lady traveller…

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2 Responses to “What it’s like to be a PLUS-size female traveller”

  1. Leticia Vanzela says:

    Hi, I’m happy to read a text about being fat and traveller – I remember searching about it some time ago, and didn’t find people talking openly about it, then today I come across this text on facebook.

    Last year I spend one year living in Europe (I’m from Brazil), and planned to travel extensively there but I got a bit disappointed (probably there’s other reasons to blame, and probably a lot of fault relies on my own low self-esteem) but I felt an outsider getting all this imagery of only thin travelers, which turns that it demotivated me traveling. I still did travel a bit, but considerably less than I did, and the feeling of not being welcomed persisted many times, mainly in hostels where I saw many people socializing and I felt I couldn’t take part on it.

    That’s why talking about this matters a lot. Thanks!

    • Jane Meighan says:

      Hi Leticia,

      I’m sorry that you felt that way on your trip. We definitely need more plus size imagery out there of people travelling – that is for sure! Hopefully your next trip, wherever that may be, won’t have the same problems.

      Jane

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