Monday, July 16, 2018

Travel Related Things I Feel Compelled To Purchase.

YOU GUYS. Now that I have my move behind me (well, mostly. Does anyone want to buy a shitty stack washer/dryer or help me unpack 20 boxes full of books?) I can focus on the Big Exciting International Trip I have planned with my boyfriend in September. This is a first for both of us so we're basically losing our minds.

Instead of doing useful things like figuring out exchange rates and learning how to say, "A bottle of wine and all of your cheese, please" in French I'm obsessing about what to bring. I really want to be one of those people who packs light but I don't travel a lot so I am REALLY BAD at packing light. Really, really bad. I always get mad at all the stuff I pack but never wear or use. I mean, how could I have known I wouldn't need eight pairs of shoes in NYC? They're all different!

Heh. So here's what I definitely need: a pair of magical pants that are comfortable like sweatpants for the flight, but also fashionable, wrinkle-free and pack really small. I think I've found them:


These are the Athleta Soho Jogger which I just bought on sale in the olive green color. I'd intended on buying them in black but the green was on sale and this picture made them look good:


They haven't arrived yet so we'll see about the color. I did try them on in the store along with this pair which was a strong runner-up:


In the end, I thought the Soho Jogger fit me better but I'd tried on nearly ever pair in the store by then and was basically snow blind. As previously reported, I also bought the Modern Sweatshirt which is even more on sale than when I bought it (dammit) and which will be a nice airplane layer.

Now, my other concern is sneakers. I want comfortable sneakers for walking around PARIS AND LONDON (OMG OMG) but I also don't want to look like an asshole. I do love my Nike Junvenate sneakers which are showing their age:


I am maybe just going to buy another pair but then I wondered if there wasn't something better and more interesting. I originally found my Nikes via Need Supply Co which has sneakers so cool they haven't been invented yet. Like these:


Or, I could get something like these Pumas which I've tried on, like, three different times but never purchased because I hate buying sneakers:


I could also get the newer Nike version of my Juvenate sneaker which is the Roshe One:


The benefit of the Nikes is that they weigh nothing and pack completely flat. However, in the rain they kind of suck. I figured I'd bring: One pair of sneakers, one pair of chelsea boots, and my silver Birkenstocks. That should cover a week, right? 

Now, luggage. Duh, of COUSE I want a new suitcase but that will depend on if I check my luggage or attempt to downsize my shit enough to carry on. I suspect carry-on is probably the thing to do, so my existing small suitcase is probably fine. I got it at TJ Maxx and it's this one but in white. TJ Maxx also has a similar case by BRICS which I've heard good things about:



My little suitcase is fine but I can't help wondering if there's a better option out there. Suggestions? (I'm not sure I'm ready to invest in an Away case or anything crazy expensive.) PS. free shipping today at TJ Maxx and how cute is this Aimee Kestenberg suitcase which I am definitely not buying? 

Okay, that was boring. NOW, one thing I do really need is a tote bag that's lightweight and zips at the top. I could go with my old standard LeSportSac but the totes are not inexpensive. Maybe something fun like this instead:


I looooove the color and the striped handles. It comes with a shoulder strap and it's on sale! It might have to be mine. Unless you tell me not to. Seriously, if you're an experienced traveler, lay it on me. Like, packing cubes: Yay or Nay? (Marianne says NAY.)

40 comments:

  1. I have the Soho joggers and love them. Perfect for travel and they seem to work in any temperature! I also wanted to say that I bought those Kenneth Cole Gold heels and wore them with jeans and they looked great.

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    1. Yay on both counts! I love those gold sandals with jeans.

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  2. This (and the snap-on laundry hamper) changed my life: PACK gear hanging organizer. Similar to packing cubes but better.

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    1. This system looks Advanced but I will check it out, thanks!

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  3. I am pro packing cube, but only small and medium sized ones! I think where people go wrong is buying a large one and then it takes up half the suitcase. I have a small one for socks and undergarments, and a medium one that fits my shirts and dresses rolled up. Bigger things like jeans or sweaters go free in my luggage, and so I end up being able to arrange things pretty efficiently.

    On another note, when you're in Paris I highly recommend going to Du Pain et des Idées for some extremely delicious bread and pastries. The "escargot chocolat pistache" (a twisty pastry with chocolate and pistachio) is one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten.

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    1. Thanks for the advice and recommendation! I will definitely find that pastry.

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  4. Fun! When are you going? For how long, and where are you staying?

    Most of my traveling is solo and involves a lot of schlepping around on various modes of transportation, so packing light has really become a necessity. I did two weeks last month with just a carryon and a purse and it was fine.

    I always make a list of everything I want to take, see if anything on it doesn’t play well with others (one dress that needs a strapless bra, for example, or a skirt that only goes with one of the tops). Those items don’t get to come. I do 3 pairs of shoes max (including sneakers, and French people totally wear sneakers), one purse, one pair of sunglasses, paired-down beauty products (and I always buy stuff like shampoo/bodywash when I get there), etc.

    I always make a list, then lay everything on the bed, separated by essential (sneakers, my very favorite dress,) and optional (6 other dresses, a skirt that is big but that I love), then do another round of editing.

    It takes some discipline, but just keep reminding yourself you can/will buy things there and you really, really do not want to carry all that shit.

    Also, that tote looks bulky to me. I'd just use a regular purse, one that is large enough for water and stuff like that, and that you can keep relatively close to your body.

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    1. Oh, this is great advice, thank you! I really want to be minimal but it's not my nature so I appreciate your advice.

      We're going in early September for a week - three days in London and three in Paris so not a ton of schlepping but it is a relatively short trip and I DO want to buy things so that's a good reminder.

      The tote is beautiful but I think it might be too big unless I'm checking my bag and using it as a carry-on. Hmm.

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  5. The eBags weekender is AMAZING! https://www.ebags.com/product/ebags/mother-lode-tls-weekender-convertible/143101?productid=10492749

    I got one for my 7-day trip to Costa Rica and that plus a backpack held everything I needed. It has a ton of pockets and it holds WAY more than you think it will! Also, packing cubes are the best thing ever. I usually do one for tops, one for bottoms, one for pj's, socks, & undies, and one for workout gear.

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    1. Thanks for the rec! I will check it out.

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  6. I am also traveling in September! I'm going to Ireland - first time leaving N America so I am very excited. I intend to fit everything into a carryon and a purse. For the purse I found an old MBMJ bag at my local consignment shop that was DIRT cheap due to being in fair condition. I figure then I won't care if it sits on a dirty floor, or gets caught in the rain. It's roomy (it's the totally turnlock sasha) and the strap is long enough I can carry it crossbody.

    I bought that sweatshirt from Athleta on your suggestion, for the flights. I think it will be perfect for the entire trip. I'm planning to also wear my Zella leggings on the flights so I can be all black, all comfortable. I have a travel size Avene face mist for the flights too.

    I have a light pair of New Balance sneakers for the flights and walking. I was also thinking about bringing chelsea boots, but mine are Docs so they take up a lot of room, so I haven't decided on that. Maybe just some good flats?

    I also bought the Cabeau travel pillow on another blogger's recommendation. It smooshes down super small for when you need to pack it. Obvs haven't used it on a flight yet, but it seems good.

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    1. I am so into that Athleta sweatshirt - isn't it good? And Avene face mist is a great idea.

      Have a great trip! I'm dying to see Ireland.

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  7. I LOVE my packing cubes. I like the small ones so I can organize underwear, bathing suits, ect. It's not the most stylish but I love my Lug Puddle Jumper Backpack for a carry-on as well, it leaves one hand free for my rolling suitcase and another for my boarding pass or whatever else I need access easily.

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    1. Another vote for packing cubes! This is heating up. And thanks for the backpack rec!

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  8. I just got back from a trip to London + Paris. I am PRO packing cubes. It depends on your packing style, but I like to plan full outfits in advance, and then use little packing cubes to keep them together - like pants + top + necklace all rolled up together in the cube. People who like to mix and match might not like that approach. I think smaller packing cubes are clutch for fitting more stuff into a small suitcase, and also keeping dirty clothes separate from clean, etc. In Paris particularly, sneakers were EVERYWHERE. I know sneakers are hot in the US too but it was like, sneakers with everything in Paris, no exceptions. So it's a great time to be a tourist there and want comfy feet! Some of my other travel faves are Barefoot dreams sweaters, which feel like a soft puppy hugging you to sleep, and Cabeau brand neck pillows for the flight.

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    1. Thank you so much! Great advice.

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  9. Hi! This is so cool and you're going to have SO much fun! I say no to packing cubes, too. Instead I jam my clothes (by category) into Target bags. They slide around nicely and don't wrinkle stuff too terribly. You're going to fit right in with the Nikes and joggers. (Voting No on the Pumas though; I think they're ugly and look heavy and hot.)
    What about a jacket? I think it's a myth that London is rainy, but September nights (and airplanes) in N Europe are gonna be chilly.
    I'm in a distance relationship that makes me (ha! "makes me") travel and honestly, you can just jam stuff in a bag and go. You'll be fine. You have your phone, some money, the one you love... you're all set! GO!

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    1. I think I'm going to bring my olive Madewell jacket - it has a hood and big pockets and is pretty lightweight. And thanks for the advice! I keep waffling about the red duffle. Ugh, so cute.

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  10. (hahaha... I meant: I jam stuff in Target bags in my suitcase! No, I don't use them as luggage.)

    Also: those Adidas sneakers are cute and light. I have a different version but love them for travel. Sounds like you're all set on shoes.

    The red duffel is CUTE and I want one now, too.

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    1. PS. I think I'm going with another pair of Nikes. The adidas are ridiculous but too expensive and I have an important shopping date with Liberty of London.

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  11. I insist that you buy the adidas and the duffel bag immediately.

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    1. Those adidas are CRAZY expensive but aren't they good?

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  12. I haven't been to Paris, but I was in London last summer, and I will say bring layers that go with everything, because you will need them. We were there in July and I ended up having to nip into a M&S to get leggings for me and my girls and pants for my boys, we were all so underdressed. I lived in a single cardigan for the whole time and wished I had another layer besides.

    I second the carryon bags. If you are in London, you will be on the Tube and moving around a lot; it is way easier to tote a smaller bag, especially if you are coming in from Heathrow and taking the Tube into central London. Ditto the Metro in Paris, which I understand is labyrinth.

    I am a light packer (our family of six travelled to England for two weeks with carry on bags only last summer). I recommend about five outfits (I was wearing a lot of dresses last year, so I just took five dresses and a cardigan and pjs and a spare pair of shoes and that was enough. Well, except I would have liked another layer and needed to get leggings).

    As for how to pack, I tend to fold some things in thirds, and roll others, just however it fits best and will come out least wrinkled on the other end.

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    1. I agree with layers in London, it's frequently chilly and windy. Birkenstocks might not get much play also, unless it will be unseasonably warm.

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    2. Thank you! I think the Birkenstocks have been voted out of the suitcase.

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    3. And Juliana, this is exactly the kind of thing I need to know. I am so used to September being part of summer! I will definitely bring layers.

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  13. I travel a lot (I'm from England and visit family several times a year) and I always check a bag. It's usually free trans-Altantic (not sure if it is for you) and then I don't have to limit liquids and can obviously pack more outfit choices and leave room to bring back chocolate, biscuits and tea bags. I am a convert to packing cubes but as someone else said, the small and medium ones only. I also have a hanging toiletry kit that I love, I just unzip, hang in the bathroom and then zip up and throw in my suitcase. Sneakers are totally acceptable in London and Paris, anything sleek and minimal. I bought the Athleta Midtown pants in black before a trip to Africa and I've worn them a ton since then. They're lightweight and stretchy so they're super comfy but since they don't have the jogger cuff at the ankle I could dress them up and wear them at night, I tucked in the drawstring and wore them with a cold shoulder Madewell back silk/lace top and some nice sandals when we were in Europe last summer and it looked pretty elegant. I'd suggest a black blazer, you can throw it over a t shirt and look put together and be warm. I've been bringing a small cross-body and larger tote as my carry-ons lately and that's worked well for me. One thing that I bought before a 2 week trip last year that was a total hero was a collapsable water bottle and carabiner. I hate constantly buying bottles of water so this was a great solution. I pack it and then when it's full I carabiner to whatever bag I'm carrying.

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    1. Wanted to add that I don't find checking a bag too annoying when I'm traveling internationally because you have to go through immigration so it's not like you just hop off the plan and can immediately leave the airport anyway. Unless you're very unlucky your bags should be coming out - or close to it - by the time you're done.

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    2. This has been super helpful, thank you! I am 100% overthinking this trip like I do with everything and I really appreciate your advice. Love the collapsable water bottle idea!

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  14. Check luggage. Go on, check your luggage! I never have to worry about shoving my stuff above me (or getting it out when people just want to get off the plane) or check it at the gate and wait for it there and it never takes more than 10 minutes to get it and it's free when it's overseas. I am a crank and like to check my luggage. PS, I always pack a fold down duffel (like from REI) because I want to make sure I can buy what I want in Europe and not worry about packing it back home. Have fun!

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    1. I think I probably will! I just can't handle the tiny clear bag of tiny toiletries restrictions and I want to be able to shop.

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  15. No to packing cubes, Pumas and Birks - all bulk you don't need. Yes to checking luggage and layers - London can be chilly. Make sure you visit Boots!

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    1. I think I'm settled on getting another pair of Nikes. And thanks! Very good advice.

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  16. Why not get a Longchamp bag in Paris for your tote? The perfect travel bag and it folds up to nothing!

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    1. Heh, that is a good suggestion but I might be making a tote purchase at Liberty of London! (We shall see.)

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  17. I second the collapsible water bottle. I have one & use it for domestic flights too. They are great!

    I would also recommend taking taxis/Uber when you first arrive in each city. Trying to navigate the tube/metro with your bags & you don't know where you're going & you're super tired from the flight?? It's the worst & makes me super cranky. When we arrived in Paris we took a taxi & it was the easiest thing. Use the public transportation on the way to the airport/train to your next destination. You'll have an easier time & save a bit of money.

    London is Misty, rather than rainy. Having a jacket with a hood makes life better. Small packing cubes are great!

    If you have time for a day trip from London I recommend Windsor over Bath. Buy tickets to tour the castle online (and before 9am day of, they cut off day of tickets after 9am. It's weird), it will save a ton of time.

    The Paris metro - buy clarets (it's a pack of 10 tickets) you'll get the most bang for your buck. The Louvre is open late (like 10pm) on Wednesdays & you can go twice in one day. We went super late & it was still busy but not crazy. Get the Paris pass if you'll be there 3 days. You'll be able to get into almost all the museum's. The marmottan monet museum was my fav in Paris. In London my fav is Sir John Soane's Museum. Go earlier & sign up for the private tour (they only allow 9 people at a time) to tour the upper rooms.

    I'm so excited for you!

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    1. I love the Sir John Soanes Museum too!

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  18. I am pro packing cubes, especially if you will be going more than one place on a trip. I keep a bag for dirty laundry, put shoes in shoe bags, and then keep almost everything else sorted in packing cubes. You can always find everything, repacking mid-trip is much faster, and it gives some structure to organizing your suitcase.

    Bring an umbrella and some layers for both places. Paris can be really hot in September, but usually takes a while to warm up. The warmest part of the day is more like late afternoon and the mornings are much cooler sometimes.

    Some general thoughts on Paris - the metro is often the fastest way to get somewhere and pretty user friendly if you have public transit experience in general. Wine and cheese picnics along the Seine or the Canal Saint-Martin are always fun. Citypharma near the Saint-Germain-des-Près metro stop has great prices on French pharmacy skin & hair stuff, but is often just jammed with people so it's best to go with a game plan. If you go to the Louvre and there is a massive security line at the glass pyramid entrance, try walking out (away from the river) to the Rue de Rivoli and enter through the Carrousel du Louvre shopping mall. There is an underground entrance in the mall that usually has shorter lines to get through security.

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  19. So much good information! I check a bag. I don't consider myself high maintenance, but I cannot downsize my toiletry kit. I take all my normal serums, lotions, haircare items and am not sorry. Plus, if you check a bag, you have space to bring a carryon for the things you buy on vacation.
    I love Athleta for travel clothes - I have the Brooklyn ankle pant in multiple colors and love them (and have even worked them into officewear occasionally).
    I prefer backpacks over totes for travel because i like to be handsfree, but would bring/buy a tote 1. to use for extra purchases on the way home and 2. something fun to use that reminds you of the trip.
    I don't have packing cubes, but could see the pros of having maybe a couple of small ones.
    Definitely agree with layers for travel. I've been on the hunt for a cute, lightly insulated water-repellant coat mainly for travel reasons. I prefer hoods over umbrellas.
    Hope you have a fantastic time!

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  20. Something to remember, no one will see you twice, so plan on wearing outfits on repeat. I did Ireland in 10 days in 3 outfits. Choose a few outfits that make you feel great and wear all the time. No one knows or cares if you wear the same thing 3 days in a row!

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