Now that Covid has “officially” been deemed over, and because the past two years and change have seen a decline in travel, it’s that season again. Travel Season!
Actually, I still carry masks in my car and on my person–just in case!
Once more people are taking vacations as opposed to staycations. They long to leave the comfort of their centrally air-conditioned homes and backyard pools. The local beach is being substituted for a tropical one.
But of course. Bring on the Pina Coladas and make that dermatologist appointment for September!
And rightfully so. We work hard so we want to play hard—or not play at all and just relax!
Airfare prices have gone sky-high, so to speak. TBH, a trip that used to cost just about $200 for me to fly to Cincinnati to visit my daughter, son-in-law and grandsons, is now almost $800. It is disgusting and horrific that the airlines can get away with this white-collar, corporate crime. While I realize the fuel costs are high, they do come down but the airfares do not.
Therefore, it is wise and pragmatic to book airline tickets, especially if flying overseas, early. And look for the airlines to offer lower prices at various airports. We discovered that Philadelphia to Paris is more expensive than flying from JFK. And JFK is more expensive than Newark airport. Philadelphia doesn’t offer flights to Nice direct. We opt for United out of Newark. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still expensive but less so than the other two airports.
And since it’s the “peak season” of travel really begins at the end of June, The Frenchman makes sure we squeeze our start of vacation the second week of that month through the very beginning of July. It’s all a matter of planning and research.
Do you remember the great comedian, Alan King? He was constantly complaining about airlines in the funniest but most honest way—and this is going back to the 1960’s through 1980’s. I’m sure he is now rolling around in his grave.
Paying for extra luggage. Being nickeled and dimed for everything such as an alcoholic beverage (for the nervous flyer) and then, having to listen to a sales pitch from the flight attendants to sign up for an airlines Visa/Mastercard all the while vying to squeeze your carryon into the overhead.
Airlines are charging more money for less flights whilst piling travelers into the cabins like cattle going to slaughter. Quite frankly, I don’t know how my husband, who barely gets by with a good night’s sleep at home due to his back, can sleep for seven hours on a flight from the States to France—but he does. I, on the other hand, can sleep like a 1,000-pound log that cannot budge when I’m in the comfort of, not only our bed but any bed I slumber in. I cannot sleep on a flight.
Instead, I rely on reading trashy magazines, one of the many novels I travel with or opt to watch a few movies—the time “flies” (yeah, another intentional pun) by.
And most of the year, when I’m flying, it’s a quick jaunt less than three hours. As such, I really don’t need to pack much. However, that annual visit to the Côte d’Azur, requires some thought. Some thought on my behalf because every year, I try to fit two to three- weeks’ worth of clothing, hair and footwear into a carry-on. I fail miserably. And at the 11th hour, randomly through stuff into my husband’s big suitcase—which leads to overpacking.
Me, trying in vain to fit three weeks’ worth of clothing into a carryon!
My yearly intentions are well-meant and this year, I’ll try again. However, I’ll try to be more pragmatic so here goes:
Having three carry-on sized bags, I need to decide which one will be the best choice. I will come back to that later.
Can I add an “overthink” to my indecisiveness too?
In addition, the apartment we’ve been renting forever has a washing machine/dryer. That means I can dirty up whatever I’m wearing only to throw it in the wash and allow it to airdry because there is nothing better than air-dried clothing. I can also iron any wrinkles out.
Besides my husband and me dining on the terrace, this is where my laundry dries!
Now it’s time to decide what clothing I’ll bring. I love me a good dress. One that isn’t cumbersome and one that is lightweight and not fussy. My absolute favorite travel dress is this olive-green number purchased at Old Navy seven years ago for $10 –or was it $5.00? Regardless, it’s been with me for years and it’ll be packed for next month.
This is either from 2015 or 2016–but it’s now drying in my bathroom because it’s the dress I always bring to France during the summer!
I also love this cute number by Lilly Pulitzer. It was purchased early spring 2022 and I wore it practically every other day when in France and quite often to work as last summer was really hot.
This was worn a lot last year. It’s still going strong and going into my packing pile!
The decision to pack this navy dress purchased from Amazon, is weighing heavily on my mind. I love it so much but I don’t want to overpack—I’ll probably bring it anyway.
I’m bringing this. Well, at least as of TODAY I’m bringing it. Maybe tomorrow I won’t. I like the way it looks with sandals and sneakers.
Multi-tasking clothing is a favorite of mine. I can pack these two maxi dresses and wear them from day, with Converse sneakers while out and about then switch to a more polished look with a change into sandals and a bit of jewelry.
This black maxi from Old Navy is a great length because I won’t trip over it. It looks great with my Rondini sandals in a dressier mode for dinner.
And the same maxi in gray. For a more casual look, take off the sandals and replace with sneakers!
Another maxi–again, from Old Navy. This one is great for those hottest days! No bra needed and slits on the side.
Bathing Suits. Last year, I felt too heavy to go for a two-piece and packed only one-piece bathing suits. I was so freaking uncomfortable. Due to my longer torso, any and all one-piece bathing suits eventually give me a permanent wedgie and the constant fidgeting and pulling down of the suit has only one redeeming quality: My arms get a work out.
I’ll be clocking a lot (weather permitting) of pool and beach time and this year I’m back to two pieces. The top row is showcasing a blue two-piece I purchased from Cupshe. Multitasked with half of a two piece purchased last year at Nordstrom. I like the mix and match aspect. Bottom row more separates but the brown suit is also by Cupshe. I purchased off the Cupshe site and should have purchased from Amazon instead. Amazon had no delivery charge.
So, this year, I figured screw it. I’ll go back to two-piece swimwear. I lost over ten pounds—am still not where I want to be but comfort is more important to me these days. And, in a very odd way, I think the two-piece can be flattering. STOP THE BLOG PRESSES. I FOUND A GREAT ONE-PIECE!
Found a great one-piece on Amazon. Olive green–which I love and ruffles!
I love the ruffles on this. Not twee or prim, just really nice!
Shorts: This is going to take a bit of extra thought. I love my denim shorts but if it’s super-hot out, they are heavy. I could go with a lightweight shirt and I’ll probably pack a pair.
I can’t help it–I love the aesthetic of blue denim shorts with an oversized, crisp, white shirt. The button-fly shorts from Old Navy run so small that I had to go up two sizes to a 12. There is absolutely NO stretch in these at all. The shirt, from Amazon is so nice I ordered it twice. I just love it–it’s so incredibly lightweight. Yeah. I’ve made up my mind. This is going with me.
I’m a fan of Lilly Pulitzer shorts. Funny how the denim shorts are a size 12 and these are a size 8 with a perfect fit. The top is also from quite a few years ago also by Lilly Pulitzer.
Another pair of Lilly Pulitzer shorts. No brand screams “summer” the way LP does! These can be worn when we take day trips to Marseilles or Monaco or Eze.
Shirts: Only needed if I’m bringing shorts, which I know I will. I have a nice gauze button down which is great for the heat and a few tee shirts. All solid. All white.
My personal favorite tee shirts are from J. Crew Factory. The V-neck slub tees are the best. I have about two dozen in white and a few navy and a few in other colors. Definitely being packed!
Underwear. Yeah. Two bras, a racer-back and one regular bra. Panties for every day. And even though I’m not a socks person, I will bring those sock peds for the sneakers—especially if walking around all day to see sights.
I ordered these very sticky bras from eAmazon to wear under clothes that don’t call for a regular bra. I cannot stand bra straps hanging out and these do a very decent job!
My hair: Still undecided as to which wigs I’ll bring but they always go in my carryon. I’m not chancing losing more hair than I already have lost.
This little blonde bob by Estetica is going with me. I can’t remember if it is Petite Sullivan or Jamison. Either way–it goes to France!
Toiletries/Makeup: Traveling with full-sized toiletries is a PITA as far as I’m concerned. In the first place, they have to go in checked-in luggage and I don’t trust the airlines. My fear is exploding bottles or jars that’ll, no matter how securely packed, ruin all the clothing that has been packed with care. I ordered this fantastic travel toiletry kit from Amazon (Yes. I’m shilling) that I cannot wait to fill with cleanser for my face, my Albolene makeup remover, eau de toilette, setting spray. The kit not only comes with spatulas, a funnel and a brush to clean the bottles etc. with, but the aerosol / pump bottles have tubes that reach all the way to the bottom of the bottles.
I cannot wait to fill all the bottles, tubes and jars with my stuff. This is a great travel essentials kit. Let me see how much I can funnel in before I mess it up.
Look! The beauty of this is that the tube goes ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM! That means no wasted product!
Because I do manage to get a tan from sitting at the pool or the beach every morning (weather permitting), I don’t, thankfully, need to bring a lot of makeup. My Subtl Beauty stack, mascara, brow crayon, eyeliner and lip gloss. That’s it. I can bring my own sunscreen that has been funneled into one of the squeezable bottles and body lotion.
The face tint, the Fleur d’Oranger, the e.l.f. setting spray and the Tray Joe’s handcream will all be transferred into the appropriate bottles/tubes of the travel kit pictured above. The only makeup I’ll bring is the Subtl Beauty stack, the e.l.f. brow pencil, the Trestique liner (which, by the way is an HG eyeliner) and random lip glosses–oh..and mascara
Footwear. No closed-toed shoes. Okay. I’m not being truthful. I’ll wear a pair of shoes on the flights to and from. I can’t stand looking at anyone’s feet. From flip flops to Birkenstock sandals. For the sake and respect of other travelers, keep your filthy feet from my sight. During the trip I will, however, be wearing my new Converse low tops. Despite whatever “experts” may say, sneakers have been accepted as proper footwear. Personally, I’m very particular about this subject. I love the aesthetic of the Converse sneaker. I prefer white as it goes with everything. And as we will be walking on some rough terrain in Cabris and Eze, the sneakers will suffice.
Although not a sneaker person, I AM a Converse person. I love the look and they will do quite well over rocky and sandy terrain!
And, as always, my Rondini sandals. I don’t know yet which ones other than my Tropeziennes I’ll take but most likely a dressy pair. And lastly a pair of flip flops to wear to the beach and pool.
I need to narrow this down to two choices because I’ll be buying another pair!
Deciding on which carryon is also something to ponder. As much as I love my Longchamp weekender, I find with no shoulder strap it can be a heavy pain in the neck (and shoulder, and back) to lug around Aéroport de Nice. But..it squishes nicely in the overhead.
I have a carryon that I ordered from Amazon and I love it. It’s a very strong contender but I need to measure it at full pack to make sure it will be allowed as a carryon. It is definitely soft enough to squish in the overhead and it has a very comfortable shoulder strap—long enough to wear it as a cross-body.
Then there’s another duffel from Amazon. This is sturdy and I’ve used it for over a year on trips to Cincinnati and other visits. I love the way it looks; it has a very comfortable shoulder strap but the weight is slightly heavy. It definitely fits in the overhead. I just need to see if all my stuff can fit into it.
The brown duffle bag is the strongest, the quilted one is the roomiest and lightest, the Longchamp has been with me for years but lacks a shoulder strap. Decisions. Decisions.
And that’s a key element. A good carryon. My personal take on this is the duffle-bag type of luggage is better than the hard suitcases that so many people take as carryon luggage but to each their own. If you don’t want to check your luggage, then you know how important carryon is. And I wish the airlines would put a rule in place. One carryon per seat. I’m sick and tired of seeing families with four kids each lugging carry-ons AND backpacks AND games AND laptops to watch movies. I take one carryon and one purse. And yes—my purse is always oversized but it always fits under the seat in front of me.
I have nothing against babies on planes. But they don’t each need their own carry on. They can’t even hold a bottle yet!
And speaking of purses/bags my vintage LV Randonee PM will be accompanying me. I don’t like to bring new bags and the Randonee is literally a black hole. It holds everything! My journals and pens will fit beautifully into this behemoth of a bag.
From 1997. 26 years old. Complete with oil stains and wear. This is the kind of purse I prefer to travel with. Old and worn–just like me!
And just what will I wear en route? These lightweight pants from J. Crew are perfect. Elasticized drawstring waist, elasticized hem at the ankle, and pockets make these a great buy—especially since they were bought on sale and with my rewards discount! Comfort is important when sitting cramped on a long flight and planes get cold—it’s just the way it is. Opting for loose pants, a tee shirt (that I’ll most likely spill something on because I’m a natural slob), and a lightweight scarf will give the needed comfort.
These pants are kicking my Pixie pants out of first place for travel comfort!
I don’t bring one of those neck rests because it’s just another item to lug around. Instead, I just use the pillow and blanket provided and manipulate it into a bespoke resting item for my neck. I also don’t bring a newspaper to read (my husband does) because I don’t want newsprint all over my hands.
I also won’t bring a heavy sweater or jacket. It gets hot in the south of France. Very hot. Even when it’s cool, it still doesn’t warrant outerwear. An umbrella will be packed though. Just in case.
Nope. No heavy outwear for me. Even in winter I don’t wear heavy outerwear!
And, I travel only with inexpensive and downright cheap jewelry. If they are lost or left behind, I won’t freak out!
Cheap hoops, inexpensive necklaces and inexpensive bracelets are already packed. Now I need to sleuth down the $7.00 watch I bought at Walmart last summer!
Washed, air drying and ready to pack!
Before I close this post, I just want to reiterate something—especially if you are traveling to a cosmopolitan area, large city or Europe. Wear what you would wear under normal circumstances. I’m not talking about a tee-shirt and pajama bottoms. I’m simply saying wear normal clothing. You don’t need to believe you are in a fashion show. You are not Emily in Paris nor Audrey Hepburn in Rome or New York City. Throw out those lists of “experts” tell you what to wear. You be you. I honestly wish you could watch some of the documentaries on various subject matter on any French TV channel. You would see that the average French citizen is not walking around in designer duds. So, use your judgement and take plenty of clean underwear!
Trust me, you do NOT want to dress like this–especially if you are going to Paris. You will be given the side-eye and will be laughed at. Sadly, people actually believe that Emily in Paris personifies real-life.
Last of all—I’m shilling. You know that I do receive a small commission from Amazon as an Amazon Influencer (I take that term lightly) so I compiled a list of items that I’ve ordered and will be using on my trip. Every. Single. Item. Is. Used! PS. The Converse sneakers on the Amazon list are less expensive than what I paid at DSW. The Cupshe bathing suits were cheaper on Amazon than on the Cupshe website and there was no delivery charge either! MY AMAZON PACKING FOR FRANCE LIST!
If you have time, you might want to take your Longchamp bag to a shoe repair shop and see if they can add a tab on each end for hooking on a shoulder strap. Have fun!
Hi Gretchen. And thank you for that suggestion, I would have never thought of that in a million years!
My hat is off to you for being able to pack all the in a carryon. It would be an impossible task for me. I watch a Southwest pilot’s wife on YouTube and I love her idea of compression packing cubes. I bought them on Amazon and let me tell you it is incredible what you can put in those cubes. You may want to look into them. Enjoy your trip.
Hi Toni, I’ve been mulling about purchasing packing cubes for so long now that I do believe it is time to cave in. I just am so lazy. I’m headed to Amazon now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love the brunette wig on you in the picture with the olive green dress! Also, I feel the same about two pieces- but have a cute one piece from Amazon that I love as well! They’ve come a long way with the one pieces. Enjoy your trip, what a paradise vacation!
Thanks Liz! Yeah. That brunette wig was one of the cheapest wigs I ever owned. Less than $25 and it is now discontinued. My wig life has evolved to lighter shades but I do love that one! I’m just hoping the weather is sunny and sizzling!
Catherine, definitely take the navy dress from Amazon, it is gorgeous on you! I envy your pragmatism when packing, I’m always indecisive and pack way too much. Bonnes vacances 🇫🇷
Thank you Mary. I ended up wearing the dress to work today..and I ordered the same dress in black. I love it!!
Your clothing choices look great! We were in Nice and Paris for 5 weeks this past March/April. This was our first trip back to France since COVID and the clothing choices of everyone I saw were the most casual ever! Everyone in Nice wore the same outfit: jeans or yoga pants, puffy jacket and sneakers. Same thing in Paris except for a handful of Emilys who were posing for their Insta accounts. Quite a contrast to my first trip to Paris in 1967 when no women wore pants and every women wore heels!
I normally bring 3 pairs of pants, 9 tops and 3 pairs of shoes and always have enough to wear (Full disclosure: I do laundry every 10 days).
Hi Sandra and it’s so funny you mentioned that. I just finished watching a YouTube video about dressing “like a tourist” The woman who has the channel is French and she went on and on and on about no yoga pants, no shorts, being chic. The clothing she showcased were just too darn hot to wear during summer on the Riviera. Heavy denim Pants? OMG no, I would have to literally peel them off me at the end of the day. I want comfort and I think the casual vibe is great. I dress in Paris. I dress down in the South!
With all due respect, I’m finding that many of your posts of late are just one giant bitch session against perceived injustices or slights. I find it disturbing that you refer to the fees charged by the airlines as “white collar corporate crime”. It is this type of rhetoric that is causing so much of the anger and hatred directed towards the perceived causes or roots of your anger. I respect that you are entitled to your opinion but having the platform that you do I would hope that you use it for more positive input.
With all due respect Deborah, and whether you like it or not, this is MY blog. I bitch/complain/voice my opinion/joke around/have fun/write about my travels in any way that I want. If I have a gripe, for me it is valid. I strongly suggest that you unfollow or don’t read my blog. I won’t stop my bitch sessions. In fact, I have more bitch sessions coming up. So rather than upset you, I do feel you would be far better off reading blogs that stick to fluff. Best and a good evening to you.
It’s my blog and I’ll bitch if I want to,🎶
Rant if I want to,
complain if I want to 🎶
If you don’t like it…
Then please scroll on..🎶
( sorry Leslie Gore but I couldn’t resist!)
Just gotta say, I’m here for the bitch sessions – they make me snort with recognition/laughter. Never read an unjustified rant from you yet and they are just so bang on the nail. Keep bitchin’ sister
Oh Floo, you’re gonna love my next blog post regarding the Martha Stewart /SI thing. XOXOXOXO
Hilarious – your bitching is a bonus, never read one that didn’t make me howl with laughter/recognition. I come here for the snark and just can’t leave – you are too funny and too on the button.
Bien dit !!!😊👍
really like the green one piece swimsuit. any chance you could add it to your Amazon list?
Hi Denise, Here you go: https://amzn.to/3WjLx3D
I loved your views on European dressing. I think I’ve seen perhaps the same You Tuber talking about how European women “NEVER” wear certain items of clothing. I haven’t been to Europe for probably 10 yr (and I was in Italy, not France) but after seeing her video, I wondered why I was allowed on the plane. I wasn’t dressed like a “Walmart’ photo person but I wasn’t wearing heels and chic little dresses everywhere (I was going to cooking school and it was damn hot). I’d love to tell her how Canadian women “NEVER” wear certain things but we just would never do that. Anyway, I LOVE your blog and don’t find it overly negative at all. And if I did? Well, it’s not ‘required reading’ eh? I can choose whether to read it or not. I’m stressed now as I’m Canadian, flying WJ to Halifax next week for a long awaited much planned vacation with my younger daughter and now the WJ pilots are probably going to be on strike. I can’t rebook – I booked last November and got a great deal on flight, accomodation, car, etc. Those deals aren’t happening now. So on to plan B but we won’t know til probably 48 hr before our flights what’s happening. My daughter lives out in the Vancouver area – so I’ll do the 12 hr drive thru the mountains to see her and we’ll go to Seattle, I think. Have I complained about this? You bet. I’m sure my friends are tired of hearing me whine about this and yes, it’s a first world problem but it’s my problem. Anyway, I really am happy to read your blog. And yes – to packing cubes!
Love your entire wardrobe, everything looks so chic but easygoing at the same time. Well done, and have a great trip!
Love your common sense approach especially towards travel and stuff to take. Honestly I think that there is an inverse relationship to size/age and what gets carried with them (babies – ENORMOUS amounts of crap and why don’t they get everyone else to pre-board whilst small children run off steam and their parents then don’t commandeer enormous amounts of overhead locker, any extra junk they are hauling can either go in the luggage or the bin – I’m so tired of the in and out of lockers and disruption of people getting up and sitting down every 5 minutes, sort yourselves and stop faffing, yep I’m ranting but often the babies get fussy as they don’t get any peace – I’m sure adults would be cranky too), older people – minimal stuff…. There are shops pretty much wherever people go, and often those shops have more appropriate clothing/toiletries etc etc for wherever people have pitched up, apart from medications there are few if any emergencies.
I sometimes watch you-tubers and what to pack, but lots of it is so unrealistic (and kind of funny in how unrealistic they are), go minimal and go respectful is my mantra (not bare stinky feet when travelling or stuff like that and don’t draw attention to yourself, go comfortable but not slobby). I do like some you-tubers though – Shopping on Champagne (love Nancy – very sorted, you could almost be related as I think she is pretty chill and cuts right through it), Une femme d’certain age, and of course the sublime Marianne le Coeur.
Hi Juliet, You’re so true about the stuff. And I follow Susan of Une Femme and Marianne le Coeur but I’ve never heard of Shopping on Champagne, I’m going to have to check her out! XOXOXO