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!