Tag Archives: comfortable car

plus size car shopping

4 Tips on Finding a Size-Friendly Car

Looking for a size-friendly car? Sit down! You can’t judge the roominess of a car from the outside. You need to sit in the car and drive it. That’s the only way you can see if there is enough tummy room under the steering wheel, enough (or too much!) legroom and if there is enough head room for all passengers.

Research for Best Results

There are several ways to do your research, narrow down your selections and select the best car to meet your needs. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Research internal measurements of new vehicles – It’s always a temptation to select a new car or truck based on its appearance or special features. Before you run out to take a few test drives at the dealership, spend a little time researching car measurements from reputable sources such as Consumer Reports. Another great source for internal car measurements is Jack Gillis’ annual research book, The Car Book. It’s not rocket science…trucks tend to be bigger inside than cars and bigger cars are more likely to be size-friendly cars.Here are a few vehicles to consider:
    – Nissan Quest
    – Toyota Sienna
    – Kia Sedona
    – Honda Clarity
    – Honda Accord
  • Consider a used car – Used cars can also be a great option for plus size drivers. Low mileage used cars can be a great value. Be sure and do your research on both the mechanics and the measurements of the model you are considering. For research on more recent used cars, Consumer Reports magazine is also great source for internal measurements.
  • Rent before purchasing – A test drive before purchasing a car is always a must. That is the only way you can get a feel for the power, noise level and comfort of a car. But it is difficult to really evaluate a car after a short test drive. Instead, consider renting your car of choice from a local car rental agency. After three to four days you will have an excellent idea of how the car feels during everyday activities — like loading groceries, getting in and out to run errands and sitting and waiting for long period of time – as well as during a car road trip.
  • Arrange for a seat belt extender – Currently, according to Federal law, a car’s seat belt only has to accommodate a 215 pound driver or passenger. Some car dealerships are more helpful than others in providing seat belt extenders for larger drivers. GrandStyle provides an overview of car manufacturers providing seat belt extenders. Extenders are available from car manufacturers and through online retailers such as Amazon.

More Help and Ideas on Finding a Size-Friendly Car:

Plus Size Travel: 10 Tips for Better Trips

Traveling under any circumstance can be trying; but, plus size travel can be downright disheartening.

Challenges of Plus Size Travel

Plus size travel can be difficult for several reasons:

  • Seating may be uncomfortable…or worse yet, it may not be structurally safe. (Breaking a chair in a restaurant can be really embarrassing!)
  • Activities might be restricted…either by your preferences (“I don’t think I would look good doing that”) or by weight or size restrictions (“The weight limit for this ride is 250 pounds.”).
  • Spontaneity is not possible…you need to do a lot of pre-planning to make sure that you will “fit” in your vacation.

But, don’t give up. Travel can be fun. And, it can be easy. You just need to plan ahead, do a little research, ask a lot of questions and don’t be afraid to step up and do what is necessary for you to have a good time.

Planning for Better Plus Size Travel

Planning is key to having a good time on your next travel adventure:

  • Research accommodations before you leave home. The key is to know what you are going to see before you see it.
    – Looking for a wide airline seat? Ask the airline reservation clerk for the type of plane (i.e. Boeing 747) to be used for the flight you are considering. Then, use Seat Guru to check the seat dimensions of that type of plane.
    – Want to find a centrally-located hotel so that you can avoid a lot of walking? Check the hotel’s website for info on transportation to nearby attractions. Use Google Maps to determine the distances between your prospective hotel and specific attractions you plan to visit.
    – Going to a theme park with the kids? Check out our theme park tips here on GrandStyle and call or email to the park’s customer service people to check out their special accommodations for larger visitors such as electric scooters, rides without weight restrictions or larger size clothes in gift shops.
  • Plan ahead for fashion shopping. Do a little Internet searching to find the stores that carry your size at your travel destination. Going to be in Europe or Asia and want to shop for clothes or shoes? Know what size your dress and shoe size converts to using the sizing guidelines of your travel destination.

Make Your Own Good Time

  • Try new things. Don’t avoid activities just because of your weight. If you are over the weight limit for para-sailing or zip line adventures, then try something else that you’ve never done before like jet skis or a gourmet cooking class.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. You won’t be happy and having a good time if your feet hurt.
  • Speak up. Ask for what you need. Is your assigned bathroom too small in your hotel or cruise ship room? Ask for a disability accessible stateroom. They are bigger, giving you more room to move around, and they are usually closer to the elevator (cuts down on the amount of walking you have to do!).
  • Don’t squeeze into a seat if you don’t have to. Select an airline flight with a plane that has wider seats. When being seated in a casual restaurant, ask for a table instead of a booth. Renting a car? Try it out for size BEFORE you “sign on the dotted line” of the rental agreement.
  • Use seat belt extenders to be more comfortable in a car or on a plane.

Get Involved in the Fun

  • Take snacks. Changing time zones, long flights, being in hotel rooms without a fridge can all cause you to be hungry between the local meal times. It’s hard to find nutritious snacks on the road; so, to avoid getting stuck at a fast food joint, everyone (not just kids) should have ready access to fruit, protein bars, zero calorie drink powders or other healthy snacks.
  • Don’t hesitate to show bare skin in the summer. Wear a swimsuit. Show your bare arms. The key is to enjoy your vacation and stop worrying about what other people might think.
  • Make sure you are in your travel pictures. Don’t avoid pictures because of your weight. Instead, hand the camera or cell phone to someone else and let someone else capture the fun moments of your trip – with you in the center of the fun!

Enjoy your trip!

plus size travel tips

Plus Size Travel Tips: Key Steps to Improve Travel Comfort

Larger travelers are are finding that diligently following specific plus size travel tips is often the only way to be comfortable.

Bring on the Comfort with These Plus Size Travel Tips

Overall, regardless of how you are traveling or where you are staying, the key to a comfortable trip is pre-planning. Researching and arranging for the largest accommodations and knowing what to expect can give you the opportunity to create the most comfortable experience.


Airlines are notoriously uncomfortable. They fill the coach sections with seats that are only 16 to 18 inches wide between the armrests. Only people with waists of 38 inches or less are likely to be comfortable in these narrow seats. Those with larger waists will need to raise the armrest to have enough room for their hips.

Check out the GrandStyle articles on selecting a comfortable seat and holiday travel tips for lots of ideas on selecting the most comfortable airlines and seats as well as ideas from experienced travelers.

Plus Size Travel Tips to Improve Airline Comfort

Here are a few additional tips to add to your airline travel comfort:

    Pick the Right Flight and Airline
  • Research the layout of your flight. Don’t reserve a specific flight or a specific seat on the flight without checking the seat measurements (width and leg room). SeatGuru has all the stats of the various models of airplanes. The airline’s website will give you the particular model of airplane scheduled for your flight. Just research the layout of this particular model on SeatGuru and determine which seats will probably be the most comfortable for you.
  • Research the seating rules of your airline. Check out the seating requirements of a particular airline before making your reservation. Some airlines are more size-friendly to larger passengers, allowing them to pull up the armrest and use part of the adjoining seat for extra comfort. However, most airlines require a larger passenger to fly with the armrest down or they require the passenger to purchase a second ticket regardless of whether the plane is full.
  • Fly Canadian airlines when possible. Canadian airlines have a “one-passenger-one-seat” law which allows a larger passenger to take up however much room they need without having to purchase a second airline seat. The passenger needs to provide documentation from a physician that the use of the additional seat is medically necessary such as for obesity.
  • Create a Good Seating Situation
  • Put a center seat between two people traveling together. If two people are flying together, reserve a window and an aisle seat, leaving the center seat vacant. Center seats are usually the last to be assigned; so, you increase your chances of having an empty seat between you.
  • Pre-board. Give yourself some extra time to get settled. Ask for a seat belt extender from the flight attendant. Raise the armrest after you get seated and then negotiate with the passenger who sits next to you regarding leaving the armrest up to give both of you some extra hip room.
  • Use a wheelchair. Avoid walking long distances between boarding gates and baggage claim by requesting an airport wheelchair when you make your reservation. There is no cost for the wheelchair; but, be sure to tip the sky cap who gets you where you want to go.

Airline travel is rarely comfortable unless you are traveling in first class. But, with a little planning, coach or business class travel can be bearable.


Whether your travel plans are for short or long distance car travel, be sure to rent or purchase a mid-size or larger car with size-friendly features like sufficient leg and head room.

Here are a few more tips:

  • Use a seat belt extender. If the car doesn’t have a seat belt that is long enough, ask your rental car provider or purchase one from your car dealer or a retailer like Amazon.
  • When renting a car, call the rental agency and ask them what car models they have in stock which would be comfortable for a larger passenger. For example:
  • Dollar car rental carries a wide variety of vehicles including Chevrolet and Chrysler mid and full size vehicles.
    Thrifty car rental carries standard and full-size vehicles including roomy SUVs.


Cruises are great for larger bodies because there are a lot of activities on the ship, requiring less walking than participating in the same activities on-land.

However, cabins tend to be small and bathrooms can even be smaller! So, this is another great place to do some research before you book your cruise and reserve your cabin.

Here are a few tips to get your research started:

  • Research cabin floor plans and measurements. Check cabin floor plans and shower sizes on the cruise’s website before making the reservation.
  • Reserve a handicap accessible room. Consider upgrading to a cabin designed for handicap access or a mini suite. Both will have a larger bathroom and will to increase your available cabin area.
  • Cut down your walking. Reserve a cabin close to the elevator. Most activities will be located near the elevator.

Cruising is a very competitive form of travel, each cruise line specializing in different features. Some, like Princess Cruise Lines, have lower prices and attract younger travelers and families. These tend to have smaller cabins. Other cruise lines, such as Celebrity Cruises, tend to have higher prices and slightly larger cabins.


Whether you need a hotel room for a night or a week, here are a few tips to make sure that your visit is comfortable:

  • Make your hotel reservation at least a month before you plan to check in to the hotel. This may result in a larger room for a smaller room rate. For example, you can save up to 20% the best available rate at any of the six Hilton brand hotels worldwide when you book in advance.
  • Minimize the distance you need to walk by requesting a room close to the elevator or reserving a ground floor room that is close to the lobby.
  • Avoid hotels without elevators. Hotels that only have stairs between the floors can be very inconvenient and tiring.
  • Consider staying in hotels that offer light evening meals like Embassy Suites. This will keep you from having to travel away from the hotel to go out to dinner.
  • Stay in hotels that are close to major cities since they tend to be designed for both large and small visitors. Hotels close to a small town may have more limited accommodations, and may not have floor plans or rooms designed for the comfort of larger travelers.

As with airline reservations, do your research. Check floor plans and website pictures of accommodations before you make your reservation.

Vacation Destinations

Look for family-oriented hotels and theme-parks such as Epcot or DisneyWorld. They will tend to provide more accommodations for larger or disabled visitors.

Final Plus Size Travel Tips: Join reward clubs such as Hilton HHonors, Delta Privilege, Marriott Rewards and Riu Class. Being a reward club member can give you lots of negotiation leverage if you want to upgrade your travel experience. And, don’t be afraid to ask for more comfortable accommodations.