Lifestyle

Welcome to Saint Tropez

We woke up in Cannes, after an exquisite stay at the Majestic Barrière Hotel. To say we were sad to leave is an understatement. It was the best hotel experience we’ve ever had. But, that’s ok. We were well rested, all packed up and our Sixt car was ready and waiting out front.

Saint Tropez isn’t the easiest to get to from any particular place, mostly because it’s one of the farthest coastlines in the French Riviera. Of course, if you’re one of the uber rich, you can definitely just sail your yacht there or fly your private jet into the small airport! But for the rest of us, the Nice international airport is the best bet. From there, you can opt to fly in a helicopter over the Mediterranean Sea for about 20 minutes, or take a ferry boat for about 45-60 minutes on the sea, or lastly, take a car around the Sea for about 2 1/2 hours.  We chose the middle option! Fortunately for us, the boat’s port was about a 5 minute drive away from our hotel in Cannes. Even better, we already had our tickets and were in the front of the line to board (super crucial when you’re traveling with 6 bags).

The weather on the sea couldn’t have been any better. Smooth seas and blue skies for days. We able to get seats next to our bags so we had not a worry in the world. Once we got to the port we had a car set up through the hotel waiting for us, which is a MUST. Many of Saint Tropez’s hotels are a good ways from the port, or even the main area of town. If you’re interested in mostly shopping, you’ll want to be as close to the port as possible, but keep in mind that it’s busy and noisier in this area of town. The opposite side of Saint Tropez is where most of the beach clubs are and it just so happened that our hotel was right in the middle of both. We had an itinerary booked with equal parts shopping and beach lounging.

We pulled into the Sezz hotel, and were pleasantly surprised with the quaint upscale vibe of the place. It was very contemporary and quiet, with the exception of the waterfalls in the pool where we sat as we were checked in. We lucked out with room right at the front of the large, single story layout, which meant we were steps away from the pool, the lobby, the outdoor bar and the restaurant. That modern contemporary feel certainly carried into our room, as the décor was chic and simple. The bed may have been not quite as desirable as the Majestic hotel, but after the hotel provided an extra mattress pad, we were solid! The best part of this room, was by far the outside shower. Completely private, it’s pretty refreshing to shower in the nice outdoor French air. There was even a little backyard!

Pro Tip** Find a hotel that offers a shuttle to town AND the beach clubs

 

Day 1

Dior Cafe- We were on a mission to find the Dior café which is also one of its boutiques offering a very personal experience. We wandered through for a bit, but the food and the custom Dior latte was really what we came for! Rosé paired with a caprese salad or ahi tuna is my recommendation! Make a reservation, it’ll ensure you get a seat for lunch.

Shopping in town-  we found our way into Gucci, Chanel, Kiwi swimwear, and of course all the other local jewelry and fashion stores. After all, this is one spot you must always look your best at! Chris found himself a few new bathing suits and wristwear while I finally got my Gucci belt, Chanel perfume and jewelry as well. 

Le Tigr– we couldn’t wait to get to dinner because we had reservations at a restaurant called Le Tigrr (at Hotel Ermitage) and is touted as having the best sunset view in town. They weren’t wrong. The restaurant has a thai-vibe. Make reservations! We overindulged as per the usual with a bottle of wine, 3 appetizers and 2 full entrees.

 

Day 2

Nikki Beach- we were hesitant to try the infamous Nikki Beach because we were feeling a relaxed vibe, and Nikki Beach is anything but! However, it turned out to be THE BEST time. We splurged for a day bed that was right over the pool. We had to purchase a bottle of champs with the bed, but “c’est la vie”. The DJ was epic, the food was excellent, you can order massages and cigars, and there are cute little shops around the perimeter. 

Kimono on sale and linked HERE

     

L’Opera- you can’t miss this! It’s a dinner, a dance performance, a club, a unique experience. Make a reservation well ahead of time. We chose the later seating (at 1030pm) and it was PACKED. The food was actually good, and the dancing on our table while we ate, even better. The show is quite abstract, the waiters dance too, and they even pass out sparklers. The place turns into a club and if you order a nice bottle, you get to choose the songs that they play when they bring it out. I WILL be doing this next time. #goals

Day 3

We kept this day chill because we had a pretty crazy day at Nikki Beach the day before. Our hotel had an epic pool, so we lounged there the whole day before dinner. 

Colette– a Michelin star restaurant at our hotel. We had a chicken caesar and truffle fries for lunch. Can we say trés bien?! 

L’Italien Cucina Autentico– we were able to walk in at this restaurant. It’s right in the main area of the port and has the cutest Italian vibes with amazing beach decor. We ordered the arancini for an app, and split a truffle pizza and risotto for dinner. I’m still dreaming of this meal. 

La Tarte Tropézienne– a MUST if you’re in Saint Tropez. There are multiple locations where you can get this famous pastry, but this is the OG spot. This pastry was named by Brigitte Bardot (the queen of St Tropez) when she was filming And God Created Woman. 

Day 4

Le Club 55– guys… don’t miss this iconic (almost hidden) location in St Tropez. It is THE OG of this place. You wanna talk VIBES, this place has them. You NEED a reservation weeks in advance. Most people stay out late in St Tropez so when we got there at opening time (1030ish) there were still front row beds open. Totally worth it. Celebs and yacht owners park their luxurious boats within view and take a little dingy ride in for lunch, wearing the typical St Tropez attire (of course) white and/or linen. The beach club is a little old school (which we loved), the chairs aren’t really chairs, they are cushions laid right on the sand. They have a little beach bar with food and drinks but you gotta get the total experience by dining for lunch at their restaurant. We really didn’t understand the menu and the servers are so busy tending to their rich and famous that we didn’t ask and just took a stab at our orders. We didn’t really get what we thought we were getting, but the rosé was flowing and it was delicious regardless. I had the jambon and cantaloupe while Chris had an artichoke. We shared a cheese plate and raspberry cheesecake for dessert. I almost ordered the crudite plate and thank goodness I didn’t because it was basically a garden that took up the entire table with raw vegetables. I did learn a few new ways to eat said raw vegetables by observing the fancy people around me! We stayed until close. Next time I am bringing home a champagne bucket. 

      

     

 

La Petite Plage- another random find in the port, Mediterranean style french food, so good! The flooring of the restaurant is beach sand, and they serve the best chicken dish (St Tropez is also famous for their rotisserie chicken). Chris and I hung out here into the evening and it somewhat turns into a bar scene, with great music (and people watching… of course). Best part is that the yacht owners just step off their boats, right into the restaurant, and you can catch a glimpse of their on-point fashion and accessories! 

One of the fun parts about Saint Tropez… you get to dress the part. Bring all the fashion you are unsure about wearing on a regular basis, and rock it! Some of my outfits linked below. 

Can’t forget about Chris’ outfits too!

If there’s one thing I took away from our trip to Saint Tropez, it’s that I could really get used to the beach and yacht life! For real, this place gives the word ‘vibe’ a whole new meaning. I loved that we didn’t meet anyone else from America, and the French culture here was so rich. 

I mean… there’s a reason Kim K and Leonardo are vacationing here every summer. Add it to your list! 

 

 

Lifestyle

J’aime Paris

Cue the Parisian cafe music now. I’ll wait here while you set up your Spotify playlist to get in the mood for this blog post. 

D’accord. 

The truth is, Paris has my heart. My mom was born there, I still have family in the city, and part of me feels like I NEED to live there someday. Thankfully, Chris was equally enamored by it’s beauty and we’re already planning our #RetiredLife in Paris. 

You all have asked for the itinerary, so here’s a breakdown in detail! 

Day 1

We arrived into Paris mid evening, around 730pm, and were pretty tired. We stayed at the Westin Paris-Vendôme. While it wasn’t as grandiose as some other Paris hotels, the staff was friendly, our room was upgraded to an Eiffel Tower view, the bed was comfortable, and the location was ON POINT. It stays light outside until 10pm in the summer though, so we ventured out to an area close to our hotel for some food and beverages. 

Bar Hemingway – an old school bar in the Ritz hotel, guys must wear pants. The drinks are so special (and come with a fresh flower I might add). They have a small food menu, but may want to go elsewhere if you’re starving. We ordered the mini franks (super gourmet hot dogs) and ate the bar snacks. Such a cool vibe, MUST SEE in my opinion. 

Day 2

We had a bit of a rough morning due to the heat and jet lag, but had a full day planned (thanks to me). We wanted to walk and take in the city anyways, so we stopped for breakfast in a little cafe on our way to the Catacombs. 

Catacombs- buy skip-the-line tickets, trust me. You have to schedule a time to be there, and get there on time, but it’s worth not waiting in a line. We purchased the audio guide also. It’s cool down there (which we loved because it was SO hot outside) so dress accordingly. 

     

Jardin du Luxembourg- we walked through the beautiful gardens on our way to see some other things. We took a minute to sit down and take it in. This is a must see!

Notre Dame- you can still get a great view of this beauty, but of course you can’t go inside and the structure is blocked off. 

St. Chappell- we bought skip-the-line tickets to this church also (they are super affordable). It doesn’t take long to get through this one, just take in the beauty and history of the stained glass

 

Chanel- I had to see the OG Chanel store (31 Rue Cambon), where Coco herself lived above it all. Definitely made some splurges here, worth every penny for the memories. If you’re in the market to buy, make sure you ask to take a picture on the stairs to Coco’s apartment!

      

Pierre Marcolini- fabulous chocolates and sorbet, perfect midday snack 

Girafe- BEST experience in Paris. Some locals may see this as a trendy or tourist spot, but it truly is worth the visit. It has the best view of the Eiffel Tower with amazing food and service. The lobster linguini did not disappoint. Ask your hotel concierge to make you a reservation weeks in advance. Sometimes this place doesn’t even answer their phone, which was the case for us. TBH, we just showed up early (for European time 630pm) and begged because it was our honeymoon. They gave us a great table but told us we had to be out by 10pm. DONE and DONE. 

 

Day 3

We spent an entire day museum hopping, which kept us moving through at a reasonable pace (and that happens to be my museum style). Wear something comfortable! We did not buy a Paris Museum Pass, because we only planned on going to 2 museums and just purchased individual tickets, but this could be a good option if you plan on seeing a lot of museums over multiple days. 

Louvre- again we purchased skip-the-line passes. The lines here are LONG.  So much to see in this place. We stuck to one wing, and the Mona Lisa of course. They have a separate line to see Mona Lisa now, which took us about 45 minutes to go through. Have your cameras ready, they push you through there like cattle!

Musee d’Orsay- we did skip-the-line here too. Takes less time to go through. Gorgeous museum with Van Gogh and Monet pieces (my faves). Don’t miss out on the top floor! There is a beautiful view of the city. 

Angelina- if you’re going to Paris, you have to stop here! There are multiple locations but I like the original on Rue de Rivoli. I love a good Croque Madame (paired with rosé of course). 

Ferdi- reportedly Kanye West’s favorite spot in Paris. It’s small, so a reservation is a good idea. The menu is different than your typical French food. A combo of American, Mexican, and French options. 

Day 4

Despite our crazy jet lag, we got up SUPER early to do something I knew we would be thankful for, later. You’re not a blogger unless you take photos in front of the Eiffel Tower, right? 

It was actually a gorgeous sunrise and a nice little break from the scorching temperatures (it was 6am after all). 

Our photos are still being edited, so the one shown in this blog post is just a preview, but I can’t wait to share them all with you! We shot with Vio, from The Paris Photographer, and had a fabulous time. However it wasn’t long before we were sweating through our dress clothes and I forgot to bring sandals so my Louboutin stilettos almost killed me on the cobblestone streets a few times. 

We knew we had something luxurious to look forward to after the photos, as we had booked breakfast and massages at the Four Seasons Hotel George V. The spa is VERY luxurious. Probably the best massage I’ve had, ever. The amenities and facilities are fancy, to the point where I felt a little confused with how to use things. Everything is different in France! One thing to note, is that you aren’t allowed access into the pool area if you’re not a guest at the hotel. Womp Womp. It looked epic, and was part of the reason I booked the massages, but oh well. 

Eiffel Tower- we just so happened to go on the hottest record day IN HISTORY in Paris. I had purchased skip-the-line passes for this too, and I highly recommend it! You can purchase a lift ticket and take the lift the entire way up, OR you can do what we did and climb the first two portions, then take a lift to the very top (there are no stairs up to that point). We had a great time, despite sweating through our clothes. There is champagne at the very top!

       

Costes- trendy, good music, great people watching. Dress up for this one! Be sure to make a reservation. Service isn’t as good as the food and people watching, but still a must see in my book. 

Day 5

Versailles- a 45ish minute train ride outside of Paris, definitely worth seeing once. The gardens are my favorite part, although the palace is pretty epic too. You could spend an entire day here and I recommend going early to mid morning. I’ll say it again… skip-the-line pass is a MUST. The line for ticket holders (without a timed entry) can still be VERY long in the summer. 

**Pro Tip: If you walk straight through the gardens and exit the grounds (you can come back in) you will find a little canal and boat rental that is very affordable. This was the highlight of our day actually, to get a break from tourist stuff. It’s like recreation from a scene in the Notebook. If you plan beforehand, bring lunch and some wine and eat lunch on the canal. Uber romantic.          

We had dinner with my cousin this evening, at a local spot (honestly can’t remember the name). It was really cool to see family in a city so far away from home, and having a French translator to teach you what you should actually be saying when you order, was a plus!

Laduree- if you don’t know what this place is, and you’re traveling to Paris, just add it to your list ASAP. Try all the macaron flavors. No shame. Chris and I ate 15 in one night! 

 

We could’ve used a few more days (more like weeks) in Paris for sure. We had a lot of other places on our list that we either didn’t have time for, or were too tired to get to. It was honestly so hot that it was tough to sit outside and dine at the cafes, which is pretty much the best part of being in Paris! I spent hours online reading blogs to find the most recommended locations, so here’s a list of locations that still remain on my list for our next trip!

 -Le bon marche

 -Berthilon (gelato)

 -Du Pain et des Idées

 -Piere Lachaise Cemetery

 -Sacre Coeur in Montmarte

 -Chez Julien

 -Maison Kayser (baguettes)

 -Musee d’lorangerie

 -L’avenue (make a res)

 -Holybelly Cafe

 -Pierre Herme (macarons)

 -La Droguerie du Marais (crepes)

 -Luluwhite 

Paris Outfit Log 

Look… we were totally unprepared for how hot it was going to be. Apparently everyone was taken by surprise (record breaking temps). We did our best and surely sweat through most things, but still felt like our fashion guesses helped us fit in. I will say that Paris can be unpredictable with rain, cooler temperatures, and apparently warmer temps in our case. Pack pieces that you can wear in different ways, layer, etc. And comfortable shoes are A MUST. 

 

 

 

Truly, Paris is so magical and if you haven’t been, just take a leap and go ASAP! If you have been to Paris, leave your favorite memory or location in the comments!

 

Lifestyle

Planning an International trip? Here’s how we planned ours!

This has been a common question in my message inbox, for weeks now. Chris and I planned our Europe trip together, a la carte! No travel agents, no services, just us researching our little hearts out. Because Chris had never been to Europe, Paris was a no brainer. I HAD to go back to the French Riviera because it is literally my favorite place in the world. Cannes was a natural choice because I promised myself I would stay at the Majestic Hotel someday. Saint Tropez was always alluring and a total dream so we had to stop there, and Positano just looked so beautiful in photos (plus close to France) that we added that to the list too. 

 

Airlines

I started planning our trip about 4-5 months in advance. I researched airlines for hours and found that in the summer the prices are NUTS. It is what it is. I initially wanted to fly into Paris and out of another city, but the one way flights were so much more expensive. 

We chose Norwegian Air because they had premium economy seats for a (semi) reasonable price AND their seat comfort had better reviews than many other airlines’ premium or business class seats. Our experience boarding out of LAX was not great, but I don’t really think it was related to the airline itself, because on the way home it was easy. 

Pro Tip** Something to keep in mind- the Premium Economy seats DO NOT include lounge access. You have to buy a Premium Flex ticket to have access into the lounge (which we did on the way home). 

We knew taking the train was an option within Europe, but still chose to fly between areas that we were traveling. Chris and I’s traveling style doesn’t ever include us being too busy. We like multiple days in a single location, to get to know the area and do all the things we desire PLUS relax. 

Flight Schedule

LAX —> Paris (Norwegian)

Paris —> Nice (Air France)

Nice —> Cannes (car service)

Cannes —> Saint Tropez (Trans Côte d’Azur ferry) 

Saint Tropez —> Nice (car service)

Nice —> Naples (Easy Jet)

Naples —> Positano (car service)

Positano —> Naples (car service) 

Naples —> Paris (Air France) 

Paris —> LAX (Norwegian)

All of the car services we used were booked through the concierge of each hotel, and it served us well. It may have been more expensive than an Uber, but the cars were nice, the drivers spoke English, and we had a reliable pick up. 

I also liked using the Sixt app, although that may require you to have cell service so the drivers can communicate with you. We used this for certain day trips (like Cannes to Monaco). 

Back to flights… obviously traveling by plane requires a bit of planning with luggage. This was a challenge, but we are seasoned pros now! Check each airline’s restrictions at least 48 hours before your flight. If you need to purchase extra baggage it’s cheaper to do it online, then at the airport. There are weight restrictions on Norwegian for carry on too. They make you weigh everything. The more expensive the ticket, the more allowance you get. 

You probably saw in my last blog post, that we had a lot of luggage. It was a learning experience. We were maxed out by the end of the trip and had to pay 12 euros per kg that we were over in one of the checked bags. I’m still trying to let it go! 

 

Hotels 

We chose to skip the Air bnbs, and stay in hotels only. I have stayed in Air bnb locations in Europe in the past, and it has been hit or miss. We chose hotels based on how much time we’d be spending there, because of course we didn’t want to pay a ton of money for a place where we’d just be sleeping. I would say Paris (especially if you’re doing tons of tourist activities) is a location where you can save on a hotel. The Westin was very affordable and in a fabulous location, but we were hardly there so were very thankful we spent the least on this hotel. 

When we traveled to Cannes, we knew we wanted luxury and would be tired from the heat and tours in Paris. Hotel Barrière Majestic was just on another level, probably the nicest hotel I have ever seen. We spent a lot of time at the hotel here because they had so much to offer. In St. Tropez we wanted something quiet and away from the bustle of town, but that also offered transportation to town and the beaches. Hotel Sezz was uber modern but also quiet and comfortable. 

Pro Tip** If you feel a bed is too firm or uncomfortable, ask the front desk for a mattress pad. I encountered this twice in Europe and the mattress pad really helped. 

In Nice we chose a hotel close to the airport, Radisson Blu, and it happened to have a great view of the sea. In Positano, we wanted something comfortable (I mean… you’re huffing and puffing up and down aggressive hills all day), and close to the beach (because again, hills). We chose Palazzo Murat and the bed was SO comfortable. The breakfast was included and always offered prosecco, and the concierge was helpful with booking dinner and beach club reservations. Because we had a last minute change in plans and decided to stay in Positano instead of head to Barcelona, we had to find another hotel (Palazzo Murat was sold out) in a pinch. Luckily, we secured a room at Hotel Poseidon, which was pleasant, but to be honest not as nice as the other hotel and much more of a walk down to the beach. 

Pro Tip** Double check that your hotels or rentals have air conditioning in the summer. There is NO way I could’ve stayed somewhere without it. 

Bottom line, plan ahead, especially in the summer. Consider how tired you might be with flights and cars (especially with how they drive in Europe), and plan your dates accordingly so you don’t end up changing your mind last minute and sacrificing money and comfort. 

Making an itinerary 

This takes work ya’ll. It took me months of blog reading and researching online to figure out what we wanted to do. Europe (especially Paris) is NOT the time to “wing it”. You can be spontaneous with some things, but the tourist attractions should be planned ahead of time and (IMO) tickets should be purchased before you leave. 

I used a simple Word document to map out our plans for each day in each location. I added additional restaurants or places I wanted to see at the bottom, so I could easily look them up while we were there if we had time. If you’re not using your phone service, just have it in an email to yourself and you can pull it up easily when you arrive!

I’ll share mine after my round up of blog posts are all live!

 

Tax Refunds

If you’re going to Europe and you don’t shop for something you’ve always dreamed of, what are you even doing?! Kidding… but remember that you are able to get a tax refund on goods that you purchase (over $150). You have to ask for this paperwork in the store, as you purchase. It can be up to 20% back on the price!

Pro Tip** You must have your passport or a photo of your passport. 

My personal preference is to ask for the refund back on my credit card, instead of dealing with cash at the exchange at the airport. This refund will magically pop back onto your credit card statement after you do the paperwork at the airport. 

Make sure you know the time limit for refunds for each store. If you’re staying in Europe longer than a month, especially. You have to find a PABLO machine at the airport when traveling home, and scan your VAT forms. It was SUPER easy for us. If it doesn’t go smoothly you may need to deal with a customs’ agent directly, but the process is pretty streamlined these days. 

Also keep your eyes peeled for details on the receipts (typically from smaller shops) where it may tell you the refund is only valid in their country. Therefore, if you’re traveling from Naples to Paris and then try to do the refund (from the shop in Italy) in France, they may not allow that. 

We chose to do our refunds in the middle of our trip at the Nice airport, because we purchased most of our goods in Paris, and we didn’t want to deal with it at the end of our trip. It gave us peace of mind and was so easy. 

My biggest piece of advice when planning a Europe trip is… to just HAVE FUN. It can be super overwhelming. In the grand scheme of things- flights, hotels, and some tourist attractions are very important to book ahead of time, but the rest of the planning can (and should be) totally relaxed. 

Even if you don’t get the reservations you wish you had, there is plenty to choose from, and you’ll want your planning process to come with good memories, not stressed out ones. 

Chris and I planned nights in, where we made a charcuterie board and drank French rosé while planning our activities for the trip. Keep it fun and lighthearted and it will be a lot easier! 

Let me know if you guys have questions about specifics or comments on how you planned your trip!

Lifestyle

Going International

 

It’s OFFICIAL! Chris and I finally took a BIG European vacation. It wasn’t my first time to Europe but it was for Chris which is why this was so special and also why I wanted everything to go as smoothly as possible.

If you ask me, one of the best parts about vacation is getting ready for vacation. Anyone else start packing a week before? No? Just me? Okay then! Chris and I chose to incorporate our planning into date nights! We would stay in for the night, make a charcuterie board and drink French wine while planning all the fun we’ll be having in Paris. 

Preparation for an International Trip

There’s a lot of work that needs to be done before you put your seat and table in the upright position and await take off. Making sure you have all your affairs in order and ducks in a row is key. Some ways you can do that are: 

Register with Your Embassy

This is a super important FREE service that the U.S. Government provides us. When we’re travelling to a foreign country, we can feel assured that the Department of State will be able to assist us in case there’s an emergency of some sort.

Give Your Bank a Call

Things are changing and so is technology, but it’s always important to call the 1-800 number on your credit card and let them know that you’ll be gone. Yes, it can take a little while to get through, but it’s key so that they know why you’re suddenly getting foreign charges to your credit card. Otherwise, they might flag and block your card and trust me, that’s the last thing that you want to happen. 

Also, while you’re on the call, make sure you look into foreign transaction fees. It’s always good to be mindful of what those fees are so that you’re not in shock when your credit card statement comes.  

For most banks, this can be done online these days. However I’m so neurotic that I did it online AND made the phone call to confirm. 

Shopping for the Trip

It’s important that you financially prepare for the pre-vacay shopping. One of my favorite things to do is to find different looks on Pinterest. Capsule wardrobes give ideas of 7 different outfits from the same 20 pieces of clothing and accessories which is a HUGE time and space saver. If you find that you want to use this route, make sure that you keep your eyes peeled for sales and deals so that you can complete these looks without breaking the bank before all the shopping that you’ll be doing in Paris. 

Make a List of Essentials

What do you absolutely need for this trip? Moreover, what items can be found in your hotel room or easily purchased once you’re there? Obviously, you don’t want to be wasteful, but little hacks like this are nice to have in your back pocket. Depending on how critical your hair routine is, it might be worthwhile to depend on hotel shampoos to save on space – but I’ll leave that up to you! Some essentials I bring are:

Medications

Anything you might need either in a checked bag or in your carry-on. A huge tip is probiotics of some sort to help with your digestion during travel.

Weather appropriate items

It might rain for three days straight where you’re going or there might be a heatwave! Sometimes you won’t be able to predict this… like us in Paris. Hottest day in HISTORY anyone?? Make sure that you’re packing accordingly. 

Travel Documents and Backups

DO YOU HAVE YOUR PASSPORT?? Don’t forget it and don’t let it leave your side. Also make sure you have any other documents, credit cards or forms of I.D. that you might need. It can be helpful to email yourself or a family member a photo of these documents as well. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend keeping them in your camera roll in case your phone gets stolen. You should also photocopy your passport/I.D. together and tuck the piece of paper in with any other travel documents you may have in another location (not directly on you). 

Cell Phone Service

You have a few options here. Some phone plans have a roam like home plan which can get pricey but is great for peace of mind. You know that once you get to wherever you’re going, you can turn on your phone and have all the same plans and data that you do at home. This is what we used when needed. Verizon and AT&T charge $10 daily for this, but it’s your home plan, so for us it was unlimited data, text, and calls. This gets expensive on two phones so we used it very strategically. There are other plans offered by your provider that set a number of texts, minutes, and data, and are cheaper, but we found the data for these options to be too low. 

Another option worth looking into is getting a SIM card. Make sure you go to your local phone provider and check that your phone is unlocked. Then, make sure to keep your phone on airplane mode until you can go to a phone provider in Europe and get a SIM card. Usually they’re super cheap and have great plans! Then once you’re back home, just pop your old SIM card back in!

Packing

Either you love it, or you hate it, but it needs to get done. A few tips: decide on how many bags you’re bringing with you. Most airlines offer one piece of checked luggage that you must pay for, plus one free carry on item and a “personal item” (like a purse or small tote). It’s important to consider how much shopping you planning on doing and saving room for that. If that means keeping the carry on completely empty – then so be it! No judgement here! 

You should decide this prior to leaving any destination, and pay for baggage BEFORE you get to the airport because it is cheaper. Watch out for overweight fees. Not going to lie, we definitely had some. It kills me a little inside, but what are ya gonna do? Chris’ mom bought us this portable scale for our luggage and it was SO helpful. 

Also consider how you’ll pack. The two new crazes are cubes or rolling. I find that rolling is easy and does help prevent wrinkles. Cubes on the other hand can be helpful if you’re into Marie Kondo-ing all of your clothes. Or… if you’re like Chris you just somehow make it all fit. I used these packing cubes from Calpak and loved them! You can purchase really great cubes that compress your clothes and even have two sides – one for dirty and one for clean. This helps with organization when living out of a suitcase.

Getting to the Airport

Ah yes, moment of truth! You’re all packed, you have your passport, now time to enjoy (or endure) that long flight. Make sure you arrive early – I don’t mind going early for peace of mind and then treating myself to a coffee at Starbucks or some champagne. Plan a meal beforehand – whether that will be on the plane or before takeoff. I recommend eating light before a long plane ride or even fasting if you’re into that, depending on how long the flight is. Travel is so hard on our bodies, so this is just another thing to take into consideration. If you want to pack snacks that are healthier (and cheaper!) than anything you’ll find in an airport, I recommend whole foods and foods packed with fiber and vitamins. Lastly, ensure that your car service or Uber is reliable. Pre-booking an Uber is a great way to have peace of mind before your flight. Chris and I like to use Best VIP when going to LAX, because the car is more comfortable and it is extremely reliable. 

Lounge Life

Chris and I have credit cards that allow us to enter many different lounges where they serve food and drinks and have comfy chairs. After all the prep and planning you’ve been doing for your trip, this is a nice bonus before take-off. Lastly, look into your airport or airline’s app for your phone so that you don’t miss any gate changes or delays.

 

Where are you going or where have you been this summer? What international travel will this post help you plan? Let me know in the comments below! I look forward to hearing from you! 



Dr. Majestic

I invite you to take a glimpse into my crazy, beautiful life in medicine and allow me to teach you my health, wellness, and lifestyle tips along the way. 

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