My Quick Start Guide To Travelling In Style

travelling in style

It’s around seven weeks now until we head back to Europe and it is safe to say that I’m very excited. I’m absolutely in planning mode, especially when it comes to the clothes I want to take with me. In fact, I think I could just about pack, if it wasn’t for the fact that I kind of need to dress myself between now and then.

But I’ve gotta tell you, I wasn’t always this organised. In fact for some of our early trips I did a disastrous job of packing. Too many just in case items. Not enough cohesive outfits. No thought to what we might be doing while we were travelling. It was a packing nightmare.

You won’t be shocked to learn that my approach (or lack thereof) also resulted in a style nightmare. Which is seriously the last thing you want when you love visiting super stylish France.

While I’ve worked hard to improve my packing game over the years, I know that many women reading this will relate to the former me.

Let’s face it. Despite the massive amount of packing advice available on the Internet**, it can be just plain hard to pack in a way that is stylish, yet practical enough to withstand the rigours of travel. And this seems to hold true regardless of whether you are travelling an hour away or heading to the other side of the planet.

To assist you in travelling as stylishly as possible, I’ve put together a quick and universal guide to help ensure that you always look the part while you are on the road.

My Quick Start Guide To Travelling In Style

  • Get clear on where you are going and what you are doing while you are travelling. This will allow you to plan and make decisions accordingly.
  • Start with shoes. Once you know what you’ll be doing, start packing around your shoe choices. Fancy dinners. You’ll probably want heels. Stacks of walking. Don’t forget to pack your Stan Smiths.
  • On the topic of shoes, to save on weight, consider multi-tasking footwear. For instance, flat ankle boots can be great for walking as well as dinner. And they are versatile enough to wear with skirts as well as pants.
  • When it comes to clothing, apart from co-ordinating your outfits around your shoes, pick a colour palette and stick to it. Three colours – perhaps two neutrals and an accent colour – usually guarantee success.
  • Always remember the golden packing rule. If you don’t wear it at home, you’re unlikely to wear it while you are away. Our body shapes, our preferences and the colours that suit us don’t magically change when we land in another location.
  • Having said that, do consider what style might be appropriate for your destination. Your fabulous black blazer might not be so special in a resort setting.
  • Before you make your final packing decisions, think about your items as outfits. If each item doesn’t match with at least two other pieces, consider whether it is worthy of your valuable packing space.
  • Pack travel friendly clothing. Contemplate how comfortable your choices will be. And especially consider how creased your clothes might get. No one looks great when their outfit is crushed. And I don’t know about you, but I find ironing a dreadful waste of precious vacation time. (Let’s be honest, I find ironing less than fun at the best of times.)
  • Finally, avoid many of the ‘tips for travellers’. As a rule, they make you stand out as a tourist, and therefore make you a target for pick-pockets. High visibility gear – by way of example – is neither stylish or necessary.

Do you have any great tips for travelling in style? If so, please make sure you share them in the comments section below.

And until next time – au revoir.

** The advice on the Internet also includes the numerous packing posts I’ve published here on Distant Francophile. As a starting point, you might like to check out this piece I wrote on the ultimate packing mistake or alternatively consider Claire’s advice from her multiples of two packing plan if you need more tips.


Photo Credit – Carla Coulson 2015

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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8 thoughts on “My Quick Start Guide To Travelling In Style

  • Krys

    If I am going to the Caribbean, I always look at my “donate” pile to see if there are items that are still wearable that I can leave for the cleaning staff in the room. Most of these hard-working people can’t afford to shop like we do and they also do not have the selection we have. If you are deciding whether to keep something or not, taking it on vacation might help make the decision.

    • Janelle Post author

      Hi Krys, Thanks for sharing such a thoughtful tip. I know many travellers who have left items behind on their voyages, but I love your ‘donation’ idea.

  • Kristie O'Sullivan

    I’m always love to read about your trips and the places you experience. In 10 weeks I fly to Europe for a 5 week motorcycle trip, mostly in France, my third such trip. You might think packing is difficult with all the motorcycle gear, but I wear my leather jacket, draggin jeans and boots on the plane (take off boots/jacket once on board), while the helmet fits into a backpack taken as cabin luggage – the only way to transport the helmet. This leaves plenty of room to take a reasonable wardrobe. This year the trip stretches from Carcassonne then north to the prehistoric cave art area of the Dordogne, east to do some of the fantastic roads in the Auvergne, finishing with 6 days in Lyon, before heading back to Milan where my bike is stored. I think highlights will be hiking in the Auvergne and the gastronomic delights of Lyon.

    • Janelle Post author

      Wow Kristie, your trip sounds AMAZING. I’m thinking the whole trip will be a highlight, but I do admit that Lyon will always hold a special place in my heart. Thank you for sharing how you manage your riding wardrobe and the flight – great tips for anyone looking to experience France on a motorcycle.

  • Virginia Koffke

    I am off to the UK and France for 4 months in two weeks time, can’t wait and have not only laid my clothes out I have tried on the combinations something I haven’t done in the past. This time seeing how it actually looked on my versus what it looks like in my head was good and resulted in a couple of changes. So despite the dreadful heat and humidity I turned the air con on and ‘modeled’ my outfits. I would recommend this to everyone. Ironing for me is just a fact of life and so I do not mind ironing even on holiday and I feel better stepping out in well pressed clothes plus my husband looks smart as well. Shoes are always a bug bear and after several trips I have decided on plain black sneakers to walk in and go with black trousers for going out to dinner and sandels. I also wear the sneakers on the flight. Transitioning through seasons is always a challenge so layers but you really do need to try the ‘layers’ with one another or else you may find as I did that the layer looked lumpy and not flattering at all (although it did in my head,hence the trying it all on). Have a wonderful trip.

    • Janelle Post author

      Wow Virginia – a four month trip sounds amazing. Like you, I’m a big fan of trying things on. Way too often I’ve imagined ‘how good’ something will look, only to be let down by the reality. And nobody wants to be let down by reality, especially when they are trying to travel light!!! Another area where we are in sync is with the black sneakers. I’m going plain black on our next trip too. Because we are doing a few ‘special’ things on our next visit, I’m taking more shoes than normal, so haven’t decided yet on whether I’ll fly in my boots or my sneakers. And hooray for you with regard to the ironing. I wish I was like you and enjoyed it more, but sadly it’s just something I’ve never come to terms with!!! Travel safe and have the best time ever!

      • Virginia Koffke

        Enjoy your trip as well Janelle. for the first time I will be in France for the summer sales! My husband groaned but I just want to see for myself that their ‘sales’ are real and not like here where sales usually means stuff a store wants to get rid off.

        • Janelle Post author

          Please let me know your thoughts on the sales Virginia. Like you, I’ve never managed get to the French sales but I plan to one day. I’m not sure that Scotty thinks it is the best idea I’ve ever had but I’m convinced we will get there one day. I’d really enjoy knowing what you think. Something tells me they will be great!!!