Today's the day! We leave for France this afternoon where we'll be staying in Paris for four nights then to Provence for a week in a house with our friends and their kids (the same ones with whom we've gone to Italy). This trip snuck up on me - it seemed impossibly far away just weeks ago and now we're leaving for the airport and I feel like I should have done way more research on new spots to visit and places to eat. We have a boat tour on the Seine booked, which two friends insisted we do, and I can't wait to introduce Sloan to one of my favorite cities, eat our weight in buttery pastries, and spend time with my family and friends.
I also heard from countless people that we should carry-on, given how chaotic travel is as of late, but I'm far too disorganized to manage that (though we have packed all our most important items in our plane bags). Here's a sneak peek at what I'm bringing and some of the take-aways from previous trips.
1. Less shoes. Last year I brought ten pairs of shoes to Italy. Ten! Though I would never call myself a packing minimalist, I nearly halved the number this year and have two pairs of flat sandals, two heeled sandals, a pair of mules, and my running shoes. More importantly, I tried to make sure I wasn't bringing duplicates (aka multiple pairs of flat, black sandals) and that every outfit would go with one of the shoes I packed.
2. Neutral separates. I'll be wearing mainly dresses, which are easy and light since it will be hot, especially in Provence. But I did also bring more on neutral separates that can be interchangeable and be worn in a variety of ways.
3. Light sweaters. I have a tendency to forget any sort of cozy layers when traveling in the heat, which is a mistake anytime you step foot on a cold plane, train, or spot where they're cranking the AC. I remembered to a pack a couple of light sweaters this time around that I can keep in a straw bag and pull out anytime the temperatures dip.
4. Linen and cotton. It goes without saying that in the heat, you should be mindful of the fabrics you bring along, since it can make such a difference in your comfort level. In years past, I've packed outfits that were made of synthetic fabrics or were heavy simply because I liked how they looked, but I ended up miserable every time I put them on. Now almost everything I brought is made of cotton or linen. Side note: no dark-ish solid colors either if you have a tendency to sweat a lot like me since it shows everything.
5. Accessories are everything. Anytime I looked at what I was packing and felt like things were too simple, I remembered what a difference a good accessory can make. I'm bringing along a fair amount of our semi-fine jewelry, hats, a scarf, and hair accessories so I can dress up any outfit that needs a little extra something.