Sunday, March 24, 2013

Part 1 - Overweight and On Vacation: What's It Like?

I've been home a week now from vacation.  That's how long it has taken to settle back into routines, catch up on sleep, and finish an endless supply of laundry.   Chris is posting about all the awesome things we saw and did on our cruise.  Rather than repeat that check out his blog here to find out about those things. Read on in my post if you want to know more about traveling as someone who is overweight because that is what my mind was consumed with before traveling this year.


I love packing.  I love the excitement of getting ready, choosing what I want to take, and fitting it into a suitcase.  I hate that plus-size clothing takes up more space than regular-sized clothing because I can't pack as much.  This was just amplified by my decision to pack gym clothing so I could workout everyday on the ship.  How on earth was I going to fit 2 outfits per day, plus formal clothing, and swimsuits into one suitcase and not go over the 50lb weight limit?

The Final Verdict: My gym clothing consisted of the t-shirt, underwear, and socks I wore the day before and I air dried my workout pants in the closet to wear for a second day later in the week.  At times like this I wish my workout shorts doubled as my going out shorts and my swim trunks like they do for Chris.  My suitcase weighed in at 46lbs on the way there and 49lbs on the way home.

These push together to make a king-sized bed.
Chris and I are a typical married couple that share a queen-sized bed.  We learned very early on that we are not blanket compatible though so Chris makes his side of the bed with a sheet or light comforter and I make mine with two heavy duvets (even in the summer) that I cocoon myself into (or as Chris refers to it when he tucks me in "a bean burrito").  When we stay in hotels we enjoy splurging on a king-sized bed to stretch out on together or in the case of this trip we each wound up with our own double bed.  Sometimes it is just nice to sleep diagonally on a bed. :)

The Final Verdict: I'm glad to report we survived the blanket sharing in our king-sized bed in our cruise cabin.  I think this was partially due to the warmer bedroom temperature and the crack down the middle of the bed created by pushing the two single beds together.  Either that or the gentle rocking of the ship that lulled us to sleep within minutes no matter what time of day or night we laid down.

Our seats

Airline Travel
I've flown before on Westjet, Jet Blue, Delta, and American Airlines.  This time we were flying Air Canada.  I've learned a few things from previous experiences and I must say that after reading some blogs flying terrified me for the first time in my life. I was convinced based on others' reports that it was inevitable that I would die of embarrassment on at least one occasion.  Thankfully this did not happen.

I learned early on that airline security is not kind to big-breasted ladies because my under wire bras always set off the metal detectors which results in a lengthy delay at every gate so I could be frisked down and manually scanned.  I got smart and removed the wires from an older bra and have designated this to be my travel bra.  That bra, a pair of yoga pants, a t-shirt, and a light workout jacket (packed into the carry on bag) have me smooth sailing through the gates now.

My last two cruises I weighed about the same as I do now.  I flew Delta when I weighed about 50lbs less and had one flight where I found my seat to be a little tight, but at my current weight I've always fit in the chairs.  Still, after reading some horror stories I did some research.  My airline had 17.83 inch wide seats.  I figured my butt would fit in that, but I did some measurements just to be sure.  Then I realized my widest part is my hips so I measured again just to be safe.  Now by measuring I don't mean with a measuring tape - I did that and discovered my hips are wider than 17.83 inches, but I knew I had sat in tighter spaces than that.  Instead I sat in chairs with arms and measured them and even squished myself in a sliding door and measured that distance too.  I could clear 17.5 inches!

The next concern was would I need a seatbelt extender.  I had actually never heard of a seatbelt extender until I started reading blogs this year and the whole thought of maybe needing one terrified me.  I've always been able to do up the airplane seatbelt, some a little tighter than others, so I just crossed my fingers and hoped everything would be fine.  Sure enough it was and I even had several inches of belt as wiggle room if I kept the belt fully extended.

Chris and I lucked out on both of our flights.  We scored the middle and window seats of an exit row.  On the way there we had the best seats I've ever had.  An exit row with the washroom in front of us.  That meant we not only got extra leg room, but there was about 5 feet of free space ahead of us instead of another row of seats.  We could easily come and go without climbing over anyone and we did not have to shimmy down the aisle to get to the washroom.  Not that I used the washroom.  On all the flights I've been on I've only used an airplane washroom once.  I like to avoid public washrooms and cramped spaces as much as possible.  At one point Chris even put my tray table down (from the chair arm) and it sat flat across my lap.  I've had others that don't because my thighs do not always clear the tray table space.  On the way back our exit row was behind another row of seats so Chris did have to climb over a girl to get in and out, but we were still able to stretch out more.

If you've never been to the Miami airport you are lucky.  It by far had the most disgusting washrooms I've ever seen (losing only to a downtown Toronto subway station washroom).  How is it that women forget how to use a toilet when they are out of the comfort of their own washroom?    Are they so afraid of getting someone else's germs that they would rather pee all over the floor?  And trust me when I say that was not the worst that I saw.  Other than lack of cleanliness nothing unusual to report.  Like anywhere I came across a few washrooms where door swing was not taken into consideration and I had to straddle the toilet to open and close the door, but cruise cabin washrooms are much roomier than people will have you believe.  I never once had the shower curtain stick to my behind like the comedian on the cruise ship would have you believe.
Sidenote: In Nassau, Chris and I visited one public restroom at the Fish Fry.  This bathroom had an attendant who sat at a desk outside the men's and women's washrooms.  I'm not quite sure what her purpose was.  She looked bored to death.  But then again we saw a lot of people who seemed to have important jobs doing not much of anything in Nassau (like working security at the top of a flight of stairs or in an empty parking lot).  It was almost like if you were physically capable of working and were trustworthy the government gave you a job of some sort.

Stay tuned for Part 2 - Fitness and Vacation: Two Things I Don't Normally Mix


  1. I love how I can relate with so much you write and feel. Great blog :D


  2. I had a seat like that next to the washroom/exit with about 5 ft in between on our way to Cuba.. it was awsome!

  3. Love your post here. I have a lot of travel ahead of me this year and as someone of size (I'm very tall too), it's never easy. But I always go into it as prepared as possible and with a sense of humor. Otherwise, I'd end up hurting someone. ;)

  4. Hi Amber! So interesting. I have never thought much about these concerns before. I'm mostly extremely concerned about switching planes in airports I don't know and not knowing how to get places after landing when I travel alone. I ask a LOT of questions.

    :-) Marion