Blending In



When we return from a trip, it is inevitable that we will get questions. And I guess it is also inevitable that these questions will revolve around a couple of common topics. As a result I can virtually guarantee that we will always get questions about two things – accommodation and packing.

We’ve covered accommodation previously. I’m always happy to chat about the various accommodation options in France.

But I find the ‘What to pack?’ questions infinitely more difficult to answer. Packing is such a personal thing. What you choose to lug with you to the other side of the world depends on so many things. Where you are going. When you are going. What you are going to do when you get there. How much you are prepared to carry up four (or more) flights of stairs. (Personally, my goal is to leave home with less than 10 kilograms of luggage – I’m usually somewhere close to that. Worth noting that I always come home with stacks more than that!)

It didn’t take us too many trips to realise that no matter where you are travelling or what you are doing when you get there, the real trick Is to blend in with the locals. With that in mind, I find it much easier to make suggestions about what not to pack.

Here are my top 3 ‘don’t pack’ tips:

  1. High visibility or safety vests – unless you really need to stand out or really want to attract pickpockets. On our last trip we were surprised at how far this trend had spread – it definitely helped us separate locals and tourists.                          1a) As above for bum bags. And while I am thinking about it, although many travel websites recommend wearing your backpack strapped to your front when you are in unsafe areas I think it just highlights the fact that you are from out of town in cities like Paris or Lyon. Your normal handbag is quite probably your best bet for blending in.
  2. Anything you wouldn’t be happy to wear or don’t wear at home. I’ve discussed this one friends. For some reason, we’ve all been tempted at different times to throw in that little top or jacket or something that we bought years ago on sale but have never really liked. And have never got rid of because it might come in handy. If you don’t wear it at home, you won’t wear it away.
  3. Too many shoes. Shoes are bulky and heavy. Think about where you are going and what you are doing, then build outfits around as few pairs of shoes as possible.

And one more, just for fun. Don’t feel you have to pack to compete with a French window display. That’s unlikely to help you blend in either.

Until next time – au revoir.

About Janelle

I believe that everyone can bring French elegance and inspiration to their life, no matter where they happen to live in the world. They only need to learn a secret or two to be on their way. When you join the Distant Francophile community, you’ll have access to the secrets that allow you to bring the best of the French lifestyle into your everyday life. I’m talking about things like style advice, recipes and book reviews. And you’ll also receive regular doses of French inspiration, as well as travel and packing tips galore.

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