1 // WEAR GOOD SHOES : I opted for Naots Kayla & my Birkenstocks and they saved my life. The cobble stones are a killer for heels. (wedges are a maybe for night) I would wear my gladiators, but I really needed the support and those are just flat as a clapboard! I hit a terrible heat wave in France last year and my feet swelled up into pumpkins! *as illustrated below
2 // ATTEMPT THE LANGUAGE: Even if it's "hello", "thank you" etc. They will respect you for it. Funny story of mine, we were in Paris and some fur-clad rich Americans were talking about the "Champs Elysees" and a homeless person was on the sidewalk and corrected how they said "Champ Elysees". hilarious.
3 // DRESS BETTER & PACK LIGHT: Meaning, lay low on the flip flops and shorts and running shoes. I've found that we were treated better when we've dressed up a bit. Key words: try not to look like an American tourist. Women: a light cotton dress (I scored this white shift at the Acne Studios sale) and sandals for the summer. Men: khakis and a polo will be just fine. If you're really need to wear athletic shoes opt more to the classic Adidas Stan Smiths. For inspiration visit Sartorialist If you can do your laundry it's worth it to pay a little rather than hauling everything around. Also pack an extra duffel bag for all your goodies to bring home.
4 // BE SMART WITH YOUR BELONGINGS: if you're traveling overnight by train, get a luggage lock. Don't carry a wallet, just bring your necessities, bc a wallet is the easiest thing to lift in a purse. Women: a cross body bag with a double zipper that you can swing around your body in crowded spaces. I invested in this Lyon Hart cross body you can find at Redemption and asked them to put in an extra zippered pocket for my passport. It's been amazing and I still use it daily!
5 // EAT LIKE A LOCAL: (I think that I can have a separate post about this!) look for locals, drink the house wine, or order wines/beer from the country, they will be cheaper. The best restaurants are NOT around the tourist areas, if you see anything labeled tourist menu with 5 languages, stay away. If there are ppl hawking you to come in and eat, stay away. A good restaurant will not need someone to pull you in. Do your research, good food is to be found these days. I get my recs from Chowhound and Time out and they have all been spot on! Guidebooks are limited to the one writer's palate at times is what I've discovered. Make reservations ahead of time we all know the good restaurants need bookings here in the states as well! This plate of Fruit de Mer in Brittany was $30 USD! What a deal!
6 // TAKE YOUR TIME: I believe in Slow Travel. Meaning, enjoy your time, live like a local and take a tea or cafe break and talk to the locals. Sometimes the best things during our travels have been conversations with the locals. (talk to your waiter, cabbie, concierge etc!)
7 // GO OFF THE GUIDE BOOKS: ask locals what their fave secret spots are. We found an amazing 15th cent library (Biblioteca Angelica) in Rome by going off the books and it was one of the best finds! Same with food!
8 // MONEY: use the ATM surprisingly you get the rack rates and the fees are lower than the airport exchange. Bring some cash in case you don't find an ATM. Also call your credit card and banks to inform them of your travel. We've had our cards locked in Tokyo and Rome bc we forgot to call. Not fun and a waste of time to call international.
9 // SHOPPING : Buy local and handmade if possible! I've realized with globalization, I can get literally ANYTHING now. I might have to pay a little more, but if you love it, why not get it there. I bought a handblown Murano glass necklace in Venice from SENT and discovered that the NY MOMA carries it. But obviously the selection is much wider in Venice.
10 // BRING YOUR OWN BLANKET : I bring my Mille Feuille blanket EVERYWHERE. The ones on the plane are thin and staticy and who knows who's used it! I designed our Nomad Travel Blanket for the littles. There is an easy carry loop that can be hooked easily onto a stroller or backpack. It folds conveniently into a pocket that then easily doubles as a pillow. Go and fund it now on Indiegogo before the first edition sells out!
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