Here at Heels First, we encourage feeling your best when traveling. If you feel great traveling in a dress and heels, go right ahead! (We certainly wear our heels.). However, there are some general rules to follow to make sure your fashionable travel is actually fashionable.
1. Wear shoes you can travel in.
My favorite pair of shoes (this second) are Beverly Feldman stilettos. They make me about five inches taller and are gorgeous. But I would never travel in them. Stiletto heels aren’t automatically out, but the higher they are, the less support the heels give you.
I was just online for security behind a woman who struggled getting her 5 or 6 inch stiletto pumps off through security. She gave up for a minute and went to lift her luggage onto the conveyer belt. This is where I found myself prepare to brace for impact… Which brings me to my next point.
2. Do not pack more than you can lift.
Yes, I fall into the packing-more-clothes-than-I-can-possibly-wear trap. But if I can’t lift that bag into an overhead compartment, I start unpacking.
Yes, sometimes a kind passenger will help with luggage. But if that passenger does not exist, you should not expect the flight attendant to help you lift your bags. Did you know that flight attendants are frequently injured by lifting your bags and anecdotes suggest that workers compensation may not even cover these types of injuries? (and see page 200 in Cruising Attitude). When a flight attendant assists you, it is usually out of his or her own kindness, not job responsibility, and at a risk to their health (and career if they eventually injure themselves too much over time.)
And this leads back into my story. When the stiletto heeled woman in front of me lifted her bag onto the conveyer belt, she struggled. When she leaned back to support the bag, her heels bent slightly… enough to concern me! My arms were full and I was torn between diving out of the way or try to find some way of catching her. Luckily, this wasn’t necessary, but she was a few seconds from a snapped heel and a spill.
3. Cute luggage isn’t always the best luggage
Tote bags are really in right now and they’ve evolved into having multiple pockets, and even spaces for holding your laptop. But be careful. Tote bags don’t usually seal all the way so if you have to stow your bag above, the contents may spill out.
I will call myself out on this one. I am only traveling overnight today, so I grabbed an iPad, a few odds and ends, a change of clothes, and tossed them in. I made sure I didn’t get a bulkhead seat and safely stowed my bag under my seat. But, as for my trip back… I just tried checking in online, and the iPad does not support seat selection. I asked Keri to check me in and thought about how silly it was that I have to worry about whether or not my bag will spill overhead.
Also, tote bags don’t offer that much support for your shoulder. Sure, they look much cuter than a briefcase, but a brief case does not put severe pressure on a small portion of your body. It is really easy to toss a laptop into a tote, but that tote will slowly put more and more pressure on your shoulder as you carry it around causing injury. Briefcases and backpacks are designed to spread out the weight of its contents over more space. They do not have the thin straps that tote bags have and tend to have more padding. (Still make sure you are carrying them properly though!)
For some great ideas on alternatives, check out Keri’s post on Travel Essentials.