Hey there, friends!
Last month, almost immediately after leaving for Italy, I started receiving an influx of travel questions that didn’t necessarily fall within a place or a blog post I had put together before. I love that you see me as someone you can ask these questions and I love that I have the opportunity to be of service to you guys. The world is a beautiful place, and while I’ve only seen a very small part of it, if I can inspire you guys to pull the trigger on doing the same, then I can say I’ve made a meaningful impact.
While it’s not curing cancer, travel can have a lot of positive benefits on us as human beings. It can afford us a greater ability to love our neighbor and realize that we, as Americans, are not that much different than men and women in the countries we go to visit. Something that I believe can get in the way of reaping the benefits of travel is not feeling confident and ready for your trip and thus running into inconveniences and / or annoyances. Those are BOUND to happen from time to time but I do think the more you plan, the easier and more enjoyable travel can be. It can also make it less intimidating.
So, I thought it’d be helpful to compile all of the general travel FAQs I have received recently into a post for you guys to have to refer to before your travels so you feel a little more comfortable and confident before starting your venture!
Packing + Luggage
Do you have any luggage suggestions? I’m going to start traveling more so I’m looking for something new.
My favorite luggage right now is this Calpak Marble set. It’s hard-sided, really sturdy and fits everything I need! It took a full year before I had an issue with the wheel, which was a long time considering how much wear the suitcases had gotten in in a year. You can see it in action in this blog post!
What size suitcase do you bring with you on your trips?
I need to preface this answer with a reminder. I am a style blogger so I’m not the most practical and certainly not a minimalist when it comes to my travel packing style. So, don’t take my honest answer to this question as my recommendation on what YOU should do.
If I was traveling without a job to do, I would pack much less. I can assure you my shoulders have paid the price for how much I pack as I am the one who has to lug them through train station platforms, across ancient cobblestone streets and down long, steep flights of stairs. So, seriously, keep that in mind while you’re packing! 🙂
The size of my suitcase typically depends on the length of my trip. Last year, when I was gone for two and a half weeks, I got by with what you see in this picture here to the left, which is the 30-inch and 22-inch spinner set. This year, I ended up packing the 3-piece set because I was shooting a bunch of content in London before heading to Italy. However, I left one (the 26-inch spinner suitcase) in London at the hotel I’d be staying in when I returned to London, for the duration of my Italy trip, so I didn’t have so much to carry with me for the longer part of my trip. So, I essentially had as much luggage with me in Italy as I did on my Spring trip last year. For Curaçao, a much shorter trip, I brought the 26-inch spinner suitcase from the 3-piece set. Again, that’s probably more than most people would pack for a four day trip. I’m simply answering the question, but not necessarily recommending you do the same.
What travel bags do you use to keep your suitcase organize, if any?
I don’t consistently use these marble packing cubes but, I should, because there were super helpful when I used them last year for St. Thomas and my France trip! I’ll try to use them for my next trip abroad, coming up in a couple of weeks, and will show y’all how I organized them once I get situated in my hotel.
I’m flying on a low fare flight to Dublin for a bachelorette party and have a very small duffle bag that I can take with me. Any must haves? Any tips on how to pack super light?
As I mentioned above, I rarely pack light so I’m not the best person to ask how to pack super light, ha! But if you’re only going for a few days, a small duffle bag should be plenty. It’s hard to really say what to pack because I don’t know exactly how long your trip is but, if it is just a long weekend, I’d bring two lightweight dresses, two pairs of shorts [one jean, one nicer pair] and two t-shirts [one white, one black & white], an outfit for the big night out for your girlfriend, another travel outfit, one clutch and a pair of sandals to wear out on the big night, a tote with a zipper to wear everywhere else, a pair of Converse / nice flats / flat sandals to walk around in and your toiletries and makeup. Again, it’s hard to say for sure but that’s at least a start. You can add or subtract, as needed.
Do you ever rent a car while traveling? If so, do you have an international drivers license?
Yes, I have rented a car many times and I highly recommend it if you’re wanting to get up and go whenever you want and see more places in your own time! You don’t always need an international drivers license but sometimes you do! I had to get one to rent a car in Hungary, which was easily attainable through my local AAA office. If you’re not sure whether you need one for wherever you’re going, head HERE to check out the list of countries in which an IDL is required.
What do you recommend as far as using Google Maps / other apps in Europe when WiFi is not available?
I recommend downloading the city and transit maps on Google Maps prior to your trip so that you can access and utilize them without the use of WiFi. Unfortunately, I don’t have any other recommendations for other app’s as I haven’t seen the ability to download maps off of the other navigation apps I use. You should also have your hotel phone number readily available in case you do have to place a phone call for navigation assistance, that way you know you’ll be talking to someone in the country that speaks English.
I’d also recommend booking accommodations that provide you with a phone to bring with you around the city. My flat in Rome provided me, rented through One Fine Stay, with one and it was so helpful to know I had something to use in case of emergencies! I didn’t have to worry about how much it would cost me to make an international phone call if I was lost and needed navigation assistance or something.
What is the best navigation app I should download before heading over to London in case service is spotty?
I recommend using the CityMapper to navigate the city of London. It is the absolute BEST and the best thing is that London isn’t the only city you can use it! There are lots of other cities around the world that are available on the app so be sure to head HERE and see if your destination is included in the app!
Technology + Phone Service
What adaptor / converter do you use when you’re traveling?
Okay, so I rarely use adaptors and converters but don’t go anywhere… I have solutions!
Whenever I get this question, I am always like ‘man, what I do is NOT helpful for everyone who is asking me’ so I set out to find something that would be. Be sure to read all of this!
A couple of years ago, when I was in Paris, I bought the Apple World Adaptor Kit for my laptop. So, I’d plug in my laptop with whatever plug was appropriate for wherever I was and then would use the USB port on my computer to charge my devices. That obviously didn’t help with hair tools but we’ll get into that in a little bit. Then, when I lived in London, I purchased a U.K. plug at Apple that I could connect my USB to in order to charge my phone or camera. So, that’s what I use when I go to the U.K., which is why, for the longest time, I felt like I didn’t have a good answer for you guys because I never used an adaptor or convertor to charge my devices. I would frequently search Amazon to find a similar U.K. plug with a USB port and never had any luck …. until NOW!
So, here are my recommendations for you guys:
Before your trip to the U.K., you can purchase THIS little guy! It has four USB ports so you can charge your phone, battery pack and camera all at once. The more you have plugged in MAY decrease the speed in which all items charge so keep that in mind and buy an additional if you think it’s necessary!
In mainland Europe, you need a different plug and I use THIS plug whenever I’m there. I have two and always bring both just in case someone I’m traveling with needs it.
On my most recent trip to Curaçao, I used THIS travel adaptor for a hair tool and it worked perfectly.
I do not have a recommendation for a converter. I’m sorry. The above have worked fine for me so I don’t see a need in fussing over a converter. If I ever come across a travel situation where that changes, I will let you know.
So, why would I use multiple plugs rather than just using ONE adaptor?
Simply put, an adaptor doesn’t convert the wattage difference in your American devices to what is normal in the country you are in so the likelihood of your phone and recharging battery packs from getting hot, or even overheating, is higher. So, I love using the plugs because they allow your American devices to be charged on the European current because of the wattage it can handle. There’s no converter needed.
What’s your favorite portable phone charger for traveling?
I swear by Anker portable chargers. I’ve been using this long one for over a year now. It will charge your phone so fast and can hold seven full phone charges and has multiple USB ports. It also has a port for a different kind of cord that charges my mirrorless camera and my WiFi hotspot [which I only use in the States]. I just purchased this smaller one for my next trip abroad because the long one isn’t very lightweight.
When you travel over there, do you get an international plan with your carrier or pop in a SIM card once over there?
I have an international SIM card that I got from O2 in London, however, I only used that when I lived there because it was more cost effective. My cell phone service provider, AT&T, used to have a terrible international plan but now it’s $10 a day for the same plan I have in the States so I just do that. However, I do always bring my O2 sim card with me if I know I’ll be in London for a few days and I’m staying in an AirBNB or HomeAway flat. If I’ve been walking around all day and I don’t feel like going out to dinner or don’t have any plans with friends, I like to order something from Deliveroo and you need to put in a U.K. phone number to place the order. If I stay at a hotel, I’ll just put the front desks’ phone number and they’ll call me when they’re downstairs but otherwise, I use mine.
Something I have been wanting to do, and might do during my upcoming trip, is to see what I would need to do to buy a dongle, which is the terrible word they use for a WiFi hotspot, because sometimes WiFi is really terrible, especially in some AirBNB’s. It wouldn’t matter to me that much if I didn’t have to work while I travel but, since I do, I figure it’s something worth looking into. However, if memories serves me correctly, from a previous conversation I had with an employee at a cell phone service provider in London, I think I have to have an international bank account in order to buy one of those. If you have any experience with this, please let email me!
Do you use an app for translation when you don’t have people around that speak languages fluently?
I use Google Translate in those destinations where English is not the primary language.
Of course, it’s been pretty obvious over the past couple of years that one of my most frequent travel partners, Victoria, is also multi-lingual, which has absolutely nothing to do with why she travels with me but is an obvious perk! However, that does not mean I don’t do my homework. As a general rule of thumb, you always should go prepared to say the most basic phrases in whatever the primary language of wherever you’re going to is, like “Hello, how are you?”, “Thank you”, “You’re welcome”, “I don’t speak ___ well, do you speak English?”.
If you’re unsure of how to say something in particular or, even better, pronounce something, Google Translate has been really helpful for that. I’ve heard TripLingo is another good app to consider for this, as well. But, I love that you can download a language on your phone with Google Translate so that, if you don’t have WiFi or data available, you can still use it!
The best way you can show the people you come across in another country respect as a tourist is to just try. It doesn’t have to be perfect. They can tell it’s not your first language so they don’t expect it to be but when you show that you care enough to try, you’re showing them that you’re not acting like an entitled American because, honestly, that’s how we can come across from what I’ve been told. So, remember, you are a guest in their country. Half of the time, they will typically respond to you in English with a smile but simply trying to speak the language really says a lot to most people abroad and they’ll want to help you more so just do your best. 🙂
For help with basic phrases, I typically include them in most of my travel diaries.
Travel Planning + Airline Preferences
What airline do you typically fly when you’re traveling abroad?
I have flown Virgin the most because it’s my absolute favorite. However, I have flown Delta, British Airways, Air France and United, as well.
Have you ever flown Norwegian?
No, I haven’t but I have a friend who has and she said it’s fine but you get what you pay for. You don’t get to choose your seat so you may not sit next to your travel companion. Honestly, if you’re paying next to nothing for a long flight, you really shouldn’t have high expectations for food, service, etc. So, if you’re booked on that flight, pack light as they likely charge for every bag you bring, eat a big meal beforehand, bring snacks and a toothbrush & toothpaste – maybe a sleep aid – for the flight over and sleep your way throughout it!
How you go about choosing where to go and finding good deals on flights?
I choose where to go based on what I see through travel hashtags on Instagram and through perusing Pinterest. I love finding new places on Pinterest. It’s my favorite social media platform to find inspiration.
I don’t necessarily always get the best deal on flights because I tend to plan my trips based on the dates that are good for whoever I’m traveling with and, in order to get the best deal on your flight, you really need to be flexible. If you want to travel, and you want to travel on a major budget, I would use SkyScanner to do your flight search. Instead of picking specific dates, I would click on Departure Date and, in the box, you’ll see you have the option to choose an entire month. You’ll choose the month you want to travel in. Then, fill in your airport in the ‘From’ section and click in the box underneath ‘To’. It’ll give you an option to Search Everywhere. Select that and it’ll give you the lowest flight price for that month to some of the most popular places around the world and you can get even more specific from there.
So, say you want to go to Paris but it’s $400 cheaper to fly to Brussels. Well, book the flight to Brussels, check out Brussels for a day, then head to the train station to take the Eurostar to Paris the next morning. The train ticket will still make the overall cost of getting to Paris lower than it would be if you flew there to begin with and you got to check off another country and city you may or may not have ever been to! So, I think the trick is keeping an open mind and getting creative. In addition to SkyScanner, I love to use Rome2Rio to help figure out how to get from Point A to Point B and if that Brussels to Paris route would even make sense to begin with. It takes some time but it’s worth it!
If you’re a visual person, you can watch a tutorial of what I was describing here!
Do you use any security money belts or items similar when traveling to foreign locations? I’m afraid of being pick-pocketed.
I do not wear security money belts or anything of the sort. The key to staying secure is keeping your bag in front of you and making sure you only carry bags that either have a clasp that is hard to get into or a tote with a zipper. Here are a few examples of bags I have carried in the past:
Do you prefer to in hotels or rentals when you travel? Or does it just depend on where you’re going?
I’m not really sure that I have a preference because both have their pro’s and con’s. In hotels, you have the luxury of having a bellman, concierge and elevator / lift, the security of lobby staff at all hours seeing who comes in and out of the hotel, and the expansive breakfast spread every morning or room service that’s just a phone call away. You also, more often than not, have a much more comfortable bed than you would in an AirBNB. However, with all of these luxuries comes a heftier price tag. But, I love AirBNB’s because you really get a feel for what ‘living’ in the city you’re visiting might be like. You usually have a kitchen so you can find a local grocery store to grab some groceries so you don’t feel so compelled to eat out the whole time. They can also be a lot cheaper than hotels! On the flip side, I’ve experienced some really not-so-comfortable beds in Europe in rental flats and some extremely steep spiral staircases with no one to help you with your luggage.
So, it really just depends. I think I appreciate the beauty of both because I’ve experienced the pain of both, as well, if that makes sense.
Although the above answers the question, I would like to take a second to talk about my accommodations when I travel. Running this blog has certainly presented me with some very humbling opportunities to work with hotel chains and resorts that I never would have thought would pay my blog any mind or attention. I am thankful for those partnerships and enter into them very carefully, but I am not naive to the fact that not everyone has the budget to stay at a resort or at a five star hotel. I told myself if I was going to cover travel that I would cover a variety of accommodation options! I never want to make people think that you have to have A LOT of money in order to travel. You can travel on a budget and you can stay in a nice place with a view.
Take this flat in Paris that I stayed in, for example. When I booked it, it was $99/night. It’s small. It’s really only meant for two people but it has a stunning view. The bed was a pull-out but was comfortable. The kitchen appliances work. It has a quaint balcony AND there’s a lift / elevator! Boom. So, you’ll see me stay in beautiful places like this one in Rome or the Rosewood in London [that one time for that one night] but you’ll also see some more affordable options in other places, as well.
Style + Beauty
What hair tools do you recommend bringing to Europe?
This is another question I used to not enjoy answering because, during my travels, I have purchased a curling wand that works in the U.K. and one that works in Europe. I just bring those depending on where I’m going. In THIS post that I did last year highlighting the beauty products I never travel without, I recommended that you purchase a curling wand that is dual voltage, like GHD.
But … great news! I found one that is not only dual-voltage but is WAY. CHEAPER. than GHD curling wands and work just as good.
I recently started using the L’ange Lustre 32mm Titanium Wand and it curls my hair so beautifully. It has multiple heat settings, an automatic turn off feature and is dual-voltage. I brought it with me to Curaçao and didn’t overheat or stop working when it was plugged into my travel adaptor. It worked beautifully. The absolute best thing about this wand is that it’s currently on major sale! Go HERE and scroll down. You’ll click on ‘Any Lustre’ and you can pick and choose what color you want and what size barrel. Regardless of your choices, you’ll get the wand for $65.00! That’s over $100 off it’s normal price and such a good deal for a high quality wand! If you use a straightener, I’d recommend their Le Revé straightener! It’s also dual-voltage, powers down automatically after 60 minutes of non-use and negative-ion technology construction to lock out frizz!
If you are set on wanting to bring you’re own hair dryer, I recommend THIS one!
What straightener do you use in London?! I’m moving there next month and am looking for recommendations!
I don’t use a straightener to style my hair but, if you’re moving there, I’d recommend going to your nearest Boots location and buying a reasonably priced one that has a U.K. plug. That’ll be way easier. Or, you can go to Selfridges to get a nicer one if you want.
Do you have a recommendation for a heat resistant travel sleeve for your curling wand or hair straightener? I want something I can pack it in even if it’s still hot, like if I have to leave for the airport right after finishing getting ready and doing my hair.
I actually just ran into this issue in Curaçao and I didn’t have one of these so I searched for a heat resistant sleeve and found THIS one that comes in gray and pink.
If I buy a designer handbag abroad, what is the process of getting my tax return?
This process actually doesn’t only apply to only people who are buying designer handbags, this tax free shopping situation applies to any shopping you plan on doing.
Being a ‘visitor’ to the European Union makes you eligible to shop free to the VAT tax that is applied to all transactions for the consumer who lives within the EU. You will pay the VAT on your purchase up front and the employee will typically ask you if you are shopping tax free, most especially if they have heard you speak and can tell you’re American. After you say yes, they will ask you for your passport [upload a copy of it into a passcode protected app like Dropbox; you never want to travel with your actual passport with you; keep it in your hotel / AirBNB] and will either  fill out the tax-free paperwork for you or  will print out the tax free paperwork and you will have to fill it in before you get to the airport the day you leave Europe. If you don’t have your passport, it’s okay. You will just need to show them proof that you live in the United States so your drivers license is fine. They will put your receipt for the item(s) and your tax free paperwork in a decent size envelope so it’s easy to keep track of. DO NOT LOSE IT.
HEADS UP | If you’re in a large department store abroad, and you are wanting to claim tax-free, they will give you receipt for the items and direct you to an office in the department store to get your tax-free paperwork. They do this at Harrods and Selfridges in London. Don’t forget to get it or you won’t be able to get your tax-free money back.
To get your tax free money back, you will need to find the Tax Refund Office that is located in the terminal at the port of your last departure* and have your envelopes ready in your carry on luggage. I’ve been advised to always take care of your tax refund before you check in for your flight and check your bags in case the tax refund agents want to see the item you purchased. This actually happened when I was leaving London after my long stay. They asked to see multiple items I had purchased. Once you wait in line and are directed to an agent, they will go through everything and ask you if you want a cash refund or if you want it on a credit card. I always get mine put back on the card that I made the purchase with.
Earlier this month, it only took 24 hours for my refund to show up on my card! It used to be a couple of weeks. The biggest thing to make sure they do before leaving the office is that they stamp the paperwork. At Heathrow, which is where I typically leave Europe from most of the time, they always mail mine off for me so I don’t have to find the drop off box but sometimes, they will give you the envelopes back sealed and you need to find the box to drop them in. I assume they tell you where those are, though.
* Your port of last departure is the airport you travel HOME from. So, if you made a purchase in Italy, but then you flew to Paris for a few days then ended your trip in Lisbon, you will stop at the Tax Refund Office in Lisbon to process your paperwork for the refund.
•• I’ve heard there are currently some issues with Global Blue not providing refunds to people who have made purchases in Greece and Turkey. I have not heard any other details so I highly encourage you to do some research of your own if this is where you are heading soon and plan to shop! ••
Any advice when it comes to getting your tax refund?
My two biggest pieces of advice for anyone who plans to get your tax free money back is:
 GIVE YOURSELF TIME – If you’ve never left out of the airport you’re leaving out of and you don’t know where the tax refund office is – there are usually multiple – you will need to give yourself time to A. find it and B. wait in line. There are always a few people in front of me when I get in line and I’ve never had to wait in a LONG line, no more than 10 minutes, but I’m not saying there never is. Also, to prevent stress on the day of your return flight home, I would recommend attempting to look up where the tax refund office is the day before. Start with finding out what terminal you are flying out of then google it. So, if I’m flying out of Heathrow Terminal 3, I’d google ‘Heathrow terminal 3 tax refund office’ and see what comes up!
 BE READY & ORGANIZED – This isn’t a hard process but it could be an annoying one if you wait for however long in line and then have the person looking over your paperwork tell you to step aside and fill the rest of the paperwork out. Do this ahead of time while you are en route to the airport. That’s what I do and it’s always such a breeze.
This may seem like kind of a hassle for some people but with there being an 8-27% tax paid back to you, depending on how much of a tax percentage the country you made a purchase in charges, it could really pay off! It’s a really easy process.
Do I need to claim my purchase when I come back to the States?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
Even after you get your tax refund, you need to claim the purchases you have made abroad. You can’t bring tax-free goods into the United States. Taxes have been placed on goods that come into this country for hundreds of years so this is essentially the same thing. The great thing is the tax is typically very small. To claim your purchase, you just have to select ‘YES’ on the appropriate question on your entry form when you come back into the country. It will put an X or an O on the sheet that is printed at the kiosk and the person directing you into lines will tell you where to go. Then, you’ll wait for a customs officer and he will ask you what you purchased, what it’s made of, etc. and he will look up in the system what the tax percentage is, then he’ll take you to the collector to pay and you are free to go pick up your luggage! Super easy!
Also, they give you an $800 tax exemption. They will tax the amount of your purchase with the $800 taken off. So, if you paid $2,000 for a handbag, they will subtract $800 and then you will pay the 5-8% tax on the remaining $1,200, which would be $60 at best and $96 at worst. So, that’s really not bad!
After I went over this on IG stories the other day, I had a girl ask how they would know either way and she stated how she probably wouldn’t claim her purchases. ** four second pause ** I mean… to each their own. Honestly, you probably wouldn’t get caught but I really wouldn’t want to be the one to find out what the penalty is for tax evasion if they did happen to catch you.
So, you GET tax money back when you leave Europe then you have to PAY taxes when you get to the States so is it even worth it to buy designer items abroad?
Yes, because when you convert the price of the designer item abroad to the price of the designer item in America, it’s typically MUCH less expensive, and if the country that you are visiting has a high percentage of VAT [20-25%] then you’ll be making more money back then you’ll pay when you claim the item back in the States [typically 5-8%].
I can’t say that in every situation and scenario it makes sense, or that there is a huge difference. It really depends on the exchange rates at the time of your purchase, but I would say that you do typically save some money.
My advice is to do some research ahead of time:
• Whatever designer item you’re wanting to purchase, log on to their U.K. or Italy [or wherever you’re going] website by changing the country and look up the item to see how much they charge for that item in that country. Then, do the same for the U.S. and see what the difference is.
• Look up the VAT percentage in the country you’re going to and add that to the European price and see if it would make sense.
Here is an example for you guys. I actually just did the math on this one handbag I bought here in Jacksonville back in March and the amount I would have saved almost makes me mad at myself that I didn’t think to wait until I went to London in April. So, back at the end of February, I stopped into Louis Vuitton and I fell in love with this handbag. I thought it was beautiful and I knew I’d wear it a bunch, most especially in the Fall. So, I got it for myself as a birthday present. [I know, y’all had no idea I owned this bag because I haven’t photographed it or shared it with y’all. Sometimes I just like to keep things to myself I guess, I don’t know.]
The price tag in America is $2,230 plus 7% tax and some other charge I believe and it comes out to around $2400. In Italy, they are selling it for €1,650, which equates to $1,925.50. You will then have to pay the VAT up front, which is 22% for Italy, so that makes your purchase in Italy out to be $2,013. You will then get your VAT money back once you turn in your tax paperwork at the airport so you’re back down to $1,925.50 that you paid. Then you’ll pay around 7% tax on it when you get to the States, which is $2,060. So, $2,400 [price in the States] minus $2,060 [price in Italy] gives you a savings of $340. So, waiting and buying it in Italy would have saved me quite a bit of money! **FACE PALM** I should know better by now, ha! But, yeah, it’s not exact but I think that illustrates it pretty well!
What designer bags do you like to use most for travel? I’m looking to invest in a good bag that is both durable and useful for traveling.
Okay, so I’ve always said … leave your designer items at home because I would hate for something bad to happen while you’re abroad. However, during my travels, I haven’t exactly followed that rule and I have been completely fine. That is not to say that nothing could ever happen because there’s always a chance. But, if you feel compelled to bring a designer bag with you, I would suggest it be something that is a cross body and has a very secure opening. Three out of the four purses pictured above are designer and you’ll notice that they are all either a clasp opening, that would be hard for someone to open quickly without you noticing, or a zipper opening, that you should always keep zipped when you are not getting something out of it.
Typically, pick-pocketers are looking for people who likely have money so designer bags definitely bring you to their attention but they’re also looking for people who are in awe of their surroundings, not fully paying attention to what’s going on around them, etc. They’re looking for easy targets, essentially, because come on … there are plenty of women in London and Paris and Rome with designer handbags. But, if you look like a tourist and you have a designer handbag on, you have your camera up in the air with your crossbody bag unzipped and around your backside … then, yeah, they could definitely target you. So, keep your bag secure and in FRONT of you, regardless of whether it’s clearly designer or not.
And, also, let’s remember … to each their own with this topic. It’s obviously risky and not everyone will agree so no need to make comments on what you would prefer or your thoughts on what I do. Everyone is entitled to do what they feel comfortable with. I just think it’s important to realize the risk and do what you can to minimize it if you’re willing to take it.
In regard to my recommendation on which designer bags I recommend for travel … I think the ones I have styled above have served me well. They’re practical, not particularly ‘flashy’ and, again, have more secure openings than other bags.
What are the best shoes for London and Paris?
I firmly believe there is no ‘best’ shoe when you’re walking all day but I highlighted some good travel shoe options in this post from earlier this year as well as the packing guides that I put together for each of my trips.
What’s been your most favorite place to visit, other than London since it seems like it’s your second home.
While no place compares to London, I do always love exploring new bits of Italy. It’s such a diverse country with so much to see and good food throughout! What more could you ask for?
Have you ever thought about living in Europe full time?
I’ve definitely thought about living in London. So many of you have had the chance to see how alive I feel and happy I am being in London. It is my soul city and where I want to be, without a doubt, but, unfortunately, the U.K.’s visa options for people who work for themselves, more specifically, who have business structures like mine, aren’t very cost effective. I’d be paying more money on import taxes, employees, rent and photography fees than I’d feel comfortable with considering I’d likely be making less money. There’s no need to really go into the nitty gritty of all of that and making less money is SURELY not the reason why I am not confident in pursuing it. I’d rather make less and live somewhere that makes me feel alive and inspired the way London does but I think it’s mostly just a lot of uncertainty and fear.
I LOVE doing what I do and I wish it was a little clearer how what I do would work over there with a 98% American audience. It’s also the type of Visa I was told I need just absolutely does not make sense. Exploring other ways to get there is something Justine and I have on our radar but, for now, I’m just loving that I am able to go back a few times a year. Who knows what the future will bring! I’m all ears if you have an amazing immigration lawyer contact you’d like to send my way!
Do you ever get homesick while traveling?
I am someone who a little ironic in that I absolutely love to travel and explore and feel free but I also crave structure and familiarity and being home. My introverted side is much larger than my extroverted side so I typically am ‘ready’ to go home after two weeks. But, after a few weeks at home, I’m ready to get back out there again.
Do you have any favorite travel app’s that have helped you or that you use the most when you travel?
Yes! I actually covered this question in THIS Friday Five blog post! I went into lots of details and spilled the beans on all of my favorites, including the one you need if want to skip the long line you could potentially be waiting in when you arrive home from an international destination!
O.M.G. Finally! Hah! The end! You guys … this was so fun to write about these travel FAQs! I love that you have so many questions about travel. I love you’re getting out there and seeing amazing places. Please leave me any questions you have. Let me know if you need clarification on anything. And, also … PLEASE! Tell me where you’re going!! I always love hearing new travel ideas. If you haven’t checked out my Travel Guides section on the blog, don’t miss it, especially if you’re heading to Santorini, London, Germany, Bermuda, Rome, Venice, etc! There are so many more resources in there for you! Thanks for stopping by today! Y’all are the best! xo.
To thank you for all of your love and support lately, I thought it’d be fun to put together a little travel oriented giveaway! FIVE winners will receive a $100 Delta gift card, their choice of either a Longchamp Large Le Pliage or Rebecca Minkoff Nylon Tote and a handful of my favorite carry on items mentioned in THIS post! See the widget below on how to enter! Good luck!