Family Standing in Airport; Courtesy of Robert Kneschke/
All Ages

8 Things You Should Never Wear at the Airport

See recent posts by Cortney Fries

Getting the entire family out the door and to the airport is a task that warrants a vacation all its own. And oftentimes, some of the most important things are overlooked in the rush—including what you’re wearing. While comfort is key, there are several items to avoid wearing at the airport.

1. Shoes That Are Difficult to Take Off

Hiking Boots; Courtesy of TwilightSKY FOTOGRAFiE/

Multiple straps, buckles or ties on shoes will slow you down at airport security. Select slip-on styles to avoid the hassle. Vans and TOMS are great for travel days, and are available in a wide variety of solid colors and prints for both kids and adults.

Related: 11 Best Travel Shoes for Kids

2. Flip Flops or High Heels

Close up of person wearing black high heels while walking down the stairs

While flip-flops and high heels are easy to slip off and back on at airport security, they’re not a good idea. And while sandals might sound good—especially if you’re headed to the beach—airplanes are notoriously cold. Plus, who wants to walk through security barefoot? Heels are a no-no for obvious reasons.

Related: The 10 Most Comfortable Travel Shoes for 2023

3. Perfume

Woman Putting on Perfume; Courtesy of Africa Studio/

Passengers complain about headaches, asthma and allergies from others dousing themselves in their favorite scent. Save the perfume for your travel destination (or better yet, leave it at home to avoid the possibility of spills).

4. Jewelry

Woman wearing lots of jewelry

Baubles have to come off at security, so why risk losing or breaking them? Pack special pieces in a travel jewelry case and deck yourself out when you get to your destination.

5. Bobby Pins or Metal Hair Clips

Bobby Pins; Courtesy of P2K/

Don’t forget you have to go through a metal detector. Save the bobby pins and metal hair clips for later and wear a soft headband if you want to wear your hair back. Many come with bows and pompoms to please fashionistas tall and small.

Related: The 10 Best Travel Jeans

6. Tight Pants

Close up of button closure and zipper on jeans

You’ll be sitting in the airport and on the plane for hours—skinny jeans just aren’t practical. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style for comfort. Check out Kut from the Kloth jeans. They’re super-soft and mold to your shape for a slimming fit. A go-to for many travelers, the brand offers colorful corduroys, boyfriend jeans, and other styles.

7. Dresses

Woman Wearing Red Belted Dress; Courtesy of sirtravelalot/

While flowing dresses seem effortlessly chic and easy to wear, they’re not ideal for the airport—particularly when it comes time to step into the metal detector and raise your arms (and especially if the dress is on the shorter side). Instead, opt for a flowy tunic and leggings.

Related: The Best Women’s Cargidans for Travel

8. Sweaters

Boy's Striped Sweater; Courtesy of Michael Dechev/

Regardless of whether or not it’s cold outside, the inside of a plane can get stuffy and uncomfortable—and even make you sick. Instead of a sweater, choose a cotton shirt, which is more breathable and comfortable. And if you’re concerned about getting cold, follow the golden rule of travel: always pack layers!

Cortney Fries (pronounced “freeze”) is an award-winning Chicago-based writer and mom to two spunky elementary school-age kids. She loves nothing more than traveling with family, having adventures with friends and exploring the outdoors. Cortney believes that you should definitely do things that scare you just a little bit. Follow her on Instagram, @cortneyfries.

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