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My Top 5 International Trip Tips

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Food, Fashion & Travel Blogger Bren Herrera on the flying trapeze!  Must be a Carnival...
Photo Credit: @BrenHerrera

The Traveling Brown Girls Blog Carnival is in town, so tell me: Who doesn’t love a Carnival?!?!!? Caramel apples, cotton candy, ladies with beards (yikes!) and Brown Girls like Bren doing death defying acts on the flying trapeze.  What a show!  But during this particular Carnival stop hosted by Carnival Mistress April Thompson of Absolute Travel Addict, participating travel and lifestyle bloggers are getting in on the act as well.  Me?  I’m sharing my Top 5 International Trip Tips and the timing couldn’t be better as I prep for a 6 week stay in Paris with side trips to London and Morocco.  So get your popcorn and grab a seat.  Allez-y!

1. Pack Black.

Jada Pinkett Smith. Chic as always.
Even though I have already managed to buy some really fun skinny pants with cool prints for the upcoming season, the majority of my fall/winter Paris wardrobe is Black (and brown with one pair of jeans). Black looks chic from day to night and you never have to worry about whether you fit in. Wearing Black means you don’t have to worry about trying to match your shoes to your purse to your hat (even though that’s pretty passé anyway). Wearing Black means you’ll get dressed faster and pack less. Wearing Black means a little bit of spilled wine will go unnoticed. Play around with different textures and get your pop of color from a scarf or a whimsical umbrella and keep it moving. There’s quite a bit of Paris to see and spending an hour getting dressed is a waste of precious Parisian time! 

Taylor Swift

2. Follow the 5x5 Packing Rule.

5 pairs of pants and 5 tops equals 25 outfits, just like 4 pairs of pants and 4 tops equals 16 outfits. Stay true to this packing solution and you’ll never over-pack again.

3. Stay With The Tried, Tested & True.

I drink tea with honey every morning and no matter where I travel, my favorite mint tea bags and honey sticks travel with me because I love having a few comforts of home.  If I'm staying in a hotel, I save myself a little money by avoiding extra room service charges and when I'm staying in an apartment, I'll be able to participate in my morning ritual until I get to the local grocery store.

I try not to use anything brand new unless it’s been broken in or successfully used, including my coat, shoes, riding boots (a part of my Fall/Winter Paris uniform), and carry-on.  I got a much-needed new belt for my trusty down coat this season (it's Black of course) and am taking 2 pairs of Black boots and 1 pair of Brown boots for 6 weeks.  (A shorter trip would mean one pair of boots in each color.)  I just recently swapped out my old carry-on (which I still use for short jaunts and for work) and got a new one (in both orange and black) specifically for international travel that I have already tested out on a few recent trips. Roomy, attractive, and avec wheels, I'll be able to use it as a weekender in both London and Morocco.  Bringing or wearing something new has the potential to turn into an uncomfortable hot mess so I tend to use what I know works for sure.

4. Keep Calm & Carry On.

God forbid there is a delay in the arrival of your luggage or that you have been delayed on your trans-Atlantic journey.  It happens.  Put your toothbrush, toothpaste, eye drops, meds, and a wash cloth in your handbag or carry-on so you can freshen up in just a moments notice.  My Favorite Toiletry Kit?  Joy Mangano Better Beauty Case.  The compartments actually separate from the case!  My Toiletry Must-Have?  Hand sanitizer/wipes.  Besides the bacterial-riddled handrails, airline seat pockets and restrooms, it's cold and flu season right now and the last thing you I need is to get sick on holiday.  If you have ever flown with a head cold (don't do it!), you know what I mean.

5. Be Passport Ready.

Make two photocopies of your passport (the page with your photo and info on it, of course) and keep one copy separate and apart from your regular passport and give one to a trusted family member or friend.  Having a copy on hand in the event it is lost or stolen makes life a whole lot easier when you get to the American Embassy to have it replaced. 

I can't wait to read more travel tips from the Traveling Brown Girls Blog Carnival.  You can check them out here.  Step right up.  Hurry, hurry. 

A bientôt...


Aqueelah on: October 14, 2012 at 5:30 PM said...

Bon voyage, Tracey. I'll be with you in spirit!

Unknown on: October 14, 2012 at 5:37 PM said...

Thanks, Aqueelah! You KNOW I'll be sharing. =)

Bren on: October 14, 2012 at 6:44 PM said...

always, always be passport ready! Great suggestions!

Stephanie aka Shelby on: October 16, 2012 at 5:11 AM said...

Love the pack black idea. It's true. While I don't pack black all the time, I DO choose a color scheme and stick with it so I don't pack too much. Ah, heck. Who am I kidding? I always pack too much!

Bianca on: October 16, 2012 at 11:12 AM said...

Great Tips, I am bagging that 5x5! :D

Unknown on: October 16, 2012 at 12:54 PM said...

That orange carry-on is cute, cute, cute. But so was the previous one. Like your 5x5 packing rule and though I may not always pack all black clothes, I do make sure I pack the same color scheme and mix-and-match. Or at least that's always what I PLAN to do. ;-)

Unknown on: October 16, 2012 at 1:41 PM said...

Stephanie: I'm with you. I can write my own rules but when it comes down to it, I always pack a little something extra and 9 times out of 10, I never wear it. When will we ever learn? =D

Unknown on: October 16, 2012 at 1:44 PM said...

Bee, I know, right? 5x5 is a lifesaver and at the very least a good foundation to start from. =)

Unknown on: October 16, 2012 at 1:50 PM said...

Monique, I admit that ALL of my clothes aren't Black although most of them are. I tell my Paris guests (see to pack All Black because they are in Paris for 10 nights and it's WAY easier to deal with All Black for short trips in the fall/winter than all of that mixing and matching that creates such a big bulge in your suitcase, yanno?

I've just started using my new carry on and I must admit that I love it too. I got a black one as well and that's what I have with me right now as I sit here in the Admirals Club in Dallas and type to you. *Stroking the bag* It's soooo pretttyyyyyy. =D

April D. Thompson on: October 17, 2012 at 9:53 AM said...

I loosely abide by the X by X and single color scheme tips. Going to be a lot more purposeful in my packing on the trip to London. Found and bought the first pair of boots that I've bought in YEARS too!!

Enjoy Paris and see you soon.

Take A Leap on: October 17, 2012 at 10:14 AM said...

I love the 5X5 tip. I will definitely use that one when I leave on my trip two from tomorrow. Italy here I come!!

You can read more about Take A Leap tips at:

Unknown on: October 19, 2012 at 3:48 AM said...

Woo hoooo! You found boots! :-)
See you in London. :-)

Unknown on: October 19, 2012 at 3:49 AM said...

Enjoy Italy!

Unknown on: October 19, 2012 at 3:57 AM said...

P.S. WHO KNEW that I would have to Keep Calm & Carry On on this trip?!?! Flights delays and delayed luggage were a part of my outbound journey but I didn't sweat it because I had taken my own advice. :-D I've been in Paris for 2 days now and one of my bags was just delivered to me from the airport. Good thing I was ready. Whew.

Itiel on: October 23, 2012 at 3:57 PM said...

I love your space! Great tips. I am two years from being 40, and am just now accumulating black apparel. I just love color. But I can clearly see how "friendly" the "Color Absorber" is. Making note of the 5x5 rule.

Be safe. Have fun. France is a beautiful place.

Duinsure on: February 27, 2013 at 7:33 PM said...

The 5x5 packing rule is really effective. This can help travellers avoid the hassles of getting excess baggage penalties.


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