The whole idea of traveling to a conference is enough to make many plus size women nervous and if Vegas is the destination, it can be overwhelming if you’re not prepared. I’ve made this trip several times now and can give you some tips on what to wear and how to get there comfortably. Vegas is a blast no matter your size if you go prepared.
I’m heading to Vegas in October for my annual trip to Pubcon. It’s a marathon 4 days of learning, networking, and partying. And walking – lots and lots of walking. Did I mention the walking? Pubcon is something you should train for, like a marathon. I don’t recommend taking a pedometer, it’s more likely to be discouraging versus motivating, especially after a couple days. The days start early and nights run late; it’s really better to focus on the overall experience versus the details of how many miles you’ve put in and how few hours of sleep you’ve had. Trust me, it’s all worth it or I wouldn’t go back year after year. This year, we’ll be staying at Treasure Island and the conference is at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Let me start off by saying the dumbest thing I’ve ever done is travel by plane in shapewear. It might seem like a good idea at first, but it’s not. First off, you’ll be sitting for hours between the airport and flight itself. Most shapewear I’ve worn just isn’t very comfortable for sitting in for hour after hour on end. Next, can you imagine trying to wiggle in and out of it in an airplane restroom? This is not workable. Then there’s the whole seat belt issue. Compressing everything so you fit neatly into your seat might seem like a good idea at first, but it also makes it impossible to “squish” your body around. This can take you from easily putting your seat belt on to making it impossible without a seatbelt extender. Now, I have no issue in asking for a seat belt extender personally, but I know a lot of people who would rather die than ask for one. If this is an issue for you, definitely skip the shapewear. If you’re planning on wearing something that really needs it, stash it in your luggage and put it on when you land. The same concept applies to really tight clothes, just don’t go there!
Here are a few other tips to make your flight the best it can be:
- Wear something stylish, walk with confidence onto the plane, and avoid wearing perfume. If you look and act like this trip is business as usual, people tend to follow your lead.
- Checking your luggage and carrying on only the essentials will give you the maximum amount of time to get settled.
- Check out the kind of plane you’ll be flying on before picking your seat to optimize your leg and seat room. Not all seats are created equal even on a plane. Some exit rows have extra narrow seats and some seats have arm rests that don’t raise. Coach seats typically fall in the 16-18 inch range. Know what you’re getting into before you fly.
- Ask the flight attendant for a seat belt extender if you need one, most will be happy to get it for you and do so discretely. There’s no reason to be uncomfortable the entire trip wearing a seatbelt that is really tight even if you can get it latched. If you do run into someone rude, just shake it off, their attitude is their problem.
- If you’re prone to retaining water, be sure to pack some diuretic pills, drink plenty of water, and get up and move around at the airport to keep it at bay.
What to Wear
Shoes – Your number one priority is comfortable shoes and more than one pair. At the very least, you’ll need flats and pumps. Remember, you’re going to be doing a ton of walking, so this is not the time to break in new shoes. Also, it doesn’t matter how cute your shoes are if they are giving you blisters and you can barely stand to walk in them. It’s not a bad idea to bring an emergency pair of flip flops or other sandals as a backup. I’m a fan of gel insoles and those little no show socks for heels to keep feet happy.
Cocktail Dress – There will be several parties, but public and private, so be sure to bring your favorite cocktail dress. I ordered mine this year custom made from Eshakti.com. If you don’t mind traveling with more than a carry on, bring two! You might want to take in a show or eat at one of the fine restaurants and shorts aren’t going to cut it.
Four Business or Business Casual Outfits – You’ll see people in all levels of dress, but I always think you should look your best when networking, so keep it business casual at least. You’ll want to dress in layers since the convention center is typically freezing cold while it’s still hot outside at this time of year in Vegas. A blazer or sweater and pashmina will keep you comfortable even in the chilliest of rooms, yet are easy to take off and carry back to your room at the end of the day. Pick a color palette and go with mix and match options to minimize the number of accessories you need. Start with a black, brown, or navy base and add pops of color to keep your look stylish while minimizing the number of bags you’re going to need.
Casual Outfit – Toss in one or two casual outfits to wear in the evening so you can comfortably take in the sights and travel home.
- If you’re not planning on wearing a blazer, you might want to toss in a light jacket since it can get cool in the desert at night.
- Plan on enjoying the hotel pool? Don’t forget your swimsuit, cover up, and sandals.
- Throw in at least one set of PJs to wear – you never know if there will be a fire alarm pulled or something crazy.
- I know it seems really obvious, but make sure you bring the right under garments for each outfit. There is nothing more frustrating than finding you brought all black undies and they show through your black and white dress.
- Bring at least one pair of socks to wear at night to cover up your well-lotioned feet that need some serious pampering.
- Keep your accessories to a minimum. You don’t want to lose your favorite pieces while traveling. Try to multipurpose accessories whenever you can.
The most important thing is to remember to be flexible, have fun, and network your booty off. Get out of your comfort zone – way out! Pubcon is a great place to build new business relationships and make friendships that will last for many years to come.