France Italy Mediterranean Packing Travel

Packing for Europe

May 30, 2015

I’m beyond excited to share that I’m leaving for Paris in a few days. I will be traveling for the next month to nine different cities across Europe with my husband – this is our belated honeymoon! We both married while we were in grad school (business and law school) and started working full-time immediately after we graduated. This was nearly seven years ago (time flies!) and this year we decided it was about time we getaway from everything and take a much-needed vacation. As I’ve been packing and preparing for our trip, I have also been busy photographing and swatching as fast as I can to have reviews on new Chanel, Clarins, Dior and more. I fully intend to keep posting while I’m away from the US but I don’t know how frequently I will be able to.

Here’s a quick preview of what I’m packing. My husband has decided that we should try and fit all of our items in carry-on bags. On one hand I agree that we should be minimalists in what we pack but being a woman this has had me in a bit of panic (actually a huge one). We did a lot of research and I found this Pacsafe 32L Daypack that actually fits all my clothes I picked out for our trip: four shorts, three pairs of jeans, six tank tops, four tees, one dress, one skirt, one pair of flip flops, underwear,  socks, swim gear, and my liquids bag. The remaining items will fit in a small personal bag which I think will be either the Tumi Voyageur Q-Tote (I have an older color) or this Athens Laptop Shoulder Tote (any thoughts, I have both bags, but am still undecided?).

I’m going through my cosmetics and skincare trying desperately to edit the contents to essentials only. I ordered a bunch of travel-sized Muji Travel Containers and am transferring some cleaners and moisturizers today. All my makeup will be packed in an Anya Hindmarch In-Flight Patent Clear Bag and all liquids are in this Flight 001 Clear Pouch I bought from Amazon.

For day trips, I searched everywhere for an affordable shoulder or crossbody bag that had a zipper but that would also be large enough for my Sony NEX-6 (camera review here). While at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills, I discovered Goyard released a new style of bag in the US (apparently it’s been available since 2014 as a special order item). It’s called the Artois and is slightly smaller than the Saint Louis PM which I have in grey, orange and black (but it’s an open-tote). The Artois comes with a thicker canvas, has some leather detail at the bottom for more structure and most importantly a zipper at the top. Unfortunately you can only purchase this as a special order item and it takes around 5 business days to order so I wouldn’t receive it in time for my trip. I will try to find this one in Paris instead, and I hope the turnaround is faster (more on this style via Goyard threads at The Purse Forum).

After more searching, I decided the Longchamp Small Shoulder Tote would work perfectly. I picked one up from Nordstrom, all the colors were so pretty but black seemed like it would be the most versatile. I like how they fold up so I can fit in my carry-on easily while I’m flying. As a quick update to this post, since many have commented on shoes, I’m bringing along these suede sneakers or these ones from Puma both which are super comfy. I’ll buy flats while in Paris.

For in-flight, I plan on packing some Tatcha Travel-Sized items, my Mophie Powerstation, Noise Cancelling Head Phones, a small grey scarf, my laptop and some travel guides.

I have my packing 90% complete. I’m still in the process of editing my packing contents. I’m leaving behind my hairdryer and straighteners, one of my first stops in Paris will be Sephora to pick up those items.

If you have any travel tips or advice would be greatly appreciated! I’ll be sharing more about the cities we will be visiting over the next month. I will say now we will be staying in Paris and Rome for several days each city – I have a list of places I want to see and visit as this will be my first time visiting those areas. If you have any recommendations of must-see places, shops or museums, I’m all ears!

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  • Sara BeauTime May 30, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Have a great vacation Sabrina and welcome to Europe!
    Which other cities will you be visiting?

    • Sabrina June 1, 2015 at 1:30 am

      Hi Sara, sorry I have been so busy prepping for the trip! Will be visiting Paris, Rome, Athens and a few more 🙂 More details to come in the upcoming weeks!

  • Bella May 30, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    How very exciting, and how romantic! You're going to have a great time. I do think that for a woman, travelling around Europe for a month with just check-in bags is going to be very tough!! Remember that depending on where in Europe you go you will probably need a cardigan or jumper, a light jacket, and closed shoes and socks since the weather can do just about anything even in high summer (we had the central heating on in the Netherlands today). Also, the SHOES? LOL. Will you guys be renting a car or backpacking and using public transport? Paris and Rome are fantastic places to start. I look forward to hearing where else you decide to go, and of course to seeing your beautiful pictures!

    • Jane May 30, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      Yes, it is a cool week here and I still wear a jacket even during the day. I would bring some closed shoes, like sneakers that you can wear with socks. And umbrellas:)

    • Sabrina May 30, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      Hi Bella, yes, it will be tough! I will be wearing closed toe shoes (I have nikes). I plan on buying a pair of flats while in Paris or Rome. Thanks for the tip on the jacket, I will probably roll one light weight jacket in my bag, I'll have a second one for the one I wear.

      Thanks for the tips!

  • Anonymous May 30, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Love Paris! I just got back from there, actually.

    My favorite tourist spots are the Louvre, Musée de l'Orangerie and Notre Dame. Entrance to the Notre Dame is free is it's absolutely beautiful inside.
    Shopping at Galeries Lafayette is wonderful, and French pharmacies, too, since a lot of skin care products are much cheaper than in the states (even with the Euro-to-dollar conversion).
    Definitely stop by a Maison du Chocolat shop… the chocolates are the best I've ever tasted.

    Have a safe and fun trip!
    –Myan, @percipere

    • Sabrina May 30, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      Thank you Myan! Do you have a favorite French Pharmacie? I will definitely add the chocolate shop to my list 🙂

    • Anonymous May 30, 2015 at 9:59 pm

      I don't, but I think most pharmacies carry a lot of the same products. Also, they're literally everywhere around the city! I got some Bioderma and Caudalie products from Pharmacie Anglaise right on Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

      On a side note, the Sephora on Av. des Champs-Élysées is huge and gorgeous. Worth the visit.


    • Anonymous June 1, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      Have a wonderful trip Sabrina! Paris is my favorite city! There is a wonderful small pharmacy on Rue Jacob called Sagorski. Then there is the famous City Pharma on Rue du Four, right off Blvd. St. Germaine – you have to see it and experience it! Packed with tourists and locals all day buying suitcases full of skincare – it's crazy but fun! All the pharmacies are easily identified by the green crosses in front….Sorry I have to post as anonymous bc of Google's identification situation –Nina R.

    • Pia June 4, 2015 at 8:36 pm

      I must have entered seven or eight pharmacies on a 5-day trip there. The pharmacies do carry similar brands but the special/promo packages are different in each. Like two-for-one reve de miele lip balms or Bioderma with a smaller-sized freebie of the same, La Roche-Posay sunscreen with free cleanser, etc. And the freebies are not the tiny ones we get here.

  • ame May 30, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Have an AMAZING TIME! That sounds so wonderful! Happy belated honeymoon!

    We are not checkers, either. I just switched from a big duffel carryon to a rolling carryon–and I use packing cubes for clothing. I get both my husband and I, neither of us is a small person at all–inside one 22" rolling carryon for a week and neither of us rewears anything other than maybe a couple pairs of pants. Since you can pack in that backpack for your clothing (ENVY) that rocks, but for the second carryon it might be a good idea to get something with a long crossbody strap–it might feel more comfortable when you lug it through the airport/around town, but either of those Tumis would work really well. And packing the Longchamp or even a LeSportsac duffel inside either bag (esp a LeSportsac because it's SUPER light and takes up like no space and adds no weight) might be good so you can get any awesome shopping you do packed inside your carryon on the way back, and pack the Tumi bag inside of that so youre not checking anything for your trip home. Does that make sense? I am a total nerd for packing well.

    My only advice regarding handbags is just make sure whatever you carry as a purse has a crossbody option for hands free, and obviously something that zips. Smaller is probably better…It might actually be a good idea to look into a less high end handbag for this trip, like a PacSafe purse that has the anti-cut material built in, only bec I've heard of situations where bags get slashed to get the wallet out and people don't even feel it. IIRC Ebags and Zappos both sell them, and they might also have at Container store. They are not attractive, not even a little bit, but it might be a consideration if you'll be using public transport or ending up in crowded areas. If you buy the Goyard there you can still use it and put the ugly pacsafe inside, but at least when you are out and about you have this safety option. Also–don't pat yourself down when you see the "beware of pickpockets" signs. That draws attention to yourself and your personal belongings.

    But I totally understand the hesitation in not packing a bag you love. Because they're ugly as sin…lol

    HAVE FUN!!!

    • Sabrina May 30, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      Hi Ame – thanks for all these recommendations! It worked out the Goyard Artois takes a while to order, I think the Longchamp is more inconspicuous. Cross body isn't an option this time since most I've researched are too slim to fit my camera. It's not huge, but it's 2.75 inches wide just alone without a case. I am hoping my Longchamp will suffice.

      Thanks for the security tips!!

    • ame May 30, 2015 at 11:55 pm

      Certainly! I am uber-paranoid, and even worse when I know it's notorious for issues.

      Enjoy it, and I cannot wait to see and hear all about it. SUPER excited to hear about French pharmacies and the mothership Sephora!

      Have a great time!

  • joltster May 30, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    Have a great trip. When you are in Rome, you should stop by the Roman Jewish Ghetto, which has a storied and amazing history, and food. There is an amazing dish probably served at many cafes/restaurants called "Carciofi alla Giudea "(Jewish- Style Artichokes)- that is, if you like artichokes, and want to splurge on your diet.

  • Anonymous May 30, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Have a wonderful trip! With the Euro at an all time low, this is a great time to indulge in luxury shopping in Europe. Can't wait to see posts of your adventures… — Louisa

    • Sabrina May 30, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      Thank you Louisa!

  • Jane May 30, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    Be careful – size of allowed carry-on luggage in Europe is smaller than in US. I would just take one proper suitcase, 4 weeks is a lot of time.

    • Sabrina May 30, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      Thanks Jane! I researched the dimensions on all the flights – the backpack and carry ons should work 🙂

  • NJ May 30, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    Have fun! I never check my bag – I use a roll-on carry-on (you can walk seemingly for miles at Charles de Gaulle to get to the train to town) and my personal bag is my very old cross-body leather handbag with zip top, zip back outside pocket, 2 zip front pockets, and a few inside pockets and it fits my camera, light sweater or packaway raincoat, etc. I echo the person who suggested the Paris pharms for beauty items (cleanser like Bioderma, etc. so you don't have to waste liquid space and weight). And even though the Paris Metro is fabulous you will still end up walking a lot in Paris and in whatever other cities you visit. Take comfortable shoes!

  • Anonymous May 30, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Have fun in Europe, Sabrina! Please post pics of all the good food and of all your fashion/beauty buys!

  • Kendal May 30, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Have a fantastic time!! The polaroid will be so much fun to use! 🙂

    Kendal | Life With Kendal

    • Sabrina June 1, 2015 at 1:31 am

      I think so! I'm debating whether or not to bring still. I adore it, it's so much fun!

  • tomatefarcie May 30, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    I lived in Paris for 7 years. Find a little neighborhood bar and have your coffee/aperitif there everyday, that way you actually talk to Parisiennes. Also the view/terrace from the Institut du Monde Arabe.

    • Sabrina June 1, 2015 at 1:31 am

      Thank you for the tips! how amazing to live in Paris for 7 years!!

  • Evelyn May 30, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    I would need to have a checked bag for everything I'd buy in Europe. lol Have a wonderful trip!

  • Amy May 30, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Pack a small foldup bag that can be used tobri g home souveniers unless you plan to ship thrm.

    • Sabrina June 1, 2015 at 1:32 am

      Thanks Amy! Yes we plan on shipping items we purchase. Paris is the first stop, then 5 more cities after that!

  • Anonymous May 30, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    One thing to consider is maybe buying a cheap suitcase at the end of your trip and checking it on the way home. My husband and I usually prefer to travel light, but we were really happy to have a checked bag on our way home from Europe in January. The checked bag was basically filled with dirty laundry and liquids: jams and jellies for gifts, Bioderma, sunscreen, KLORANE dry shampoo, speculoos spread from the Netherlands, vacuum-sealed creamy cheese…basically fun stuff that we couldn't bring home in a carry-on because of the rules on liquids and gels.

    • Sabrina June 1, 2015 at 1:33 am

      I think we will do this … right now we will take our carry-ons and see how it goes. Should be fun!

  • silvita May 30, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    Very excited for you and your amazing honeymoon adventure! I have backpacked allover Europe at age 19 with Eurail and have gone for more extensive, adult/business trips, I do a lot of travel. All the preceding advice here is sound. Carry-on bags only, for a month in Europe with such varied climates and geography, and for such a fabulous woman 🙂 IT'S EXTREME. I'd prefer take a small wheeled light suitcase and check it. Bring along things like qtips, dental floss, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes, medications and comfort things like eye drops or Advil–hard to find b/c stores/pharmacies can keep limited hours in the summer. Reduce your beauty routine to the bare bones–one eyeliner, one blush, one small light palette like a Chanel quad– I'd recommend forget the hairdryer in sephora Paris–even the humblest budget hotel will have a hair dryer that will do the job, and trudging thru train stations or airports with any extra weight —you will be upset!!! Remember too, escalators/elevators aren't ubiquitous, buildings and structures can be very old and things are breaking down and being repaired. Comfortable supportive shoes-or sedate and comfy sneakers–are a must. Thin socks that launder quickly a good idea. My father is the ultimate with this–he packs old jeans/underwear/socks/tshirts and as he travels along he leaves them behind at hotels and then replaces them with purchases of fine cotton shirts or sweaters along the way to bring back home–but he's an extreme man 😉
    The continent vs. USA has a different approach to indoor temp control, and it could get hot, or alternately the weather can get chilly or rainy all of a sudden, so a light jacket and a Totes travel umbrella will save you. Take fabrics that dry quickly and wash essentials in the bathroom sink so they can air dry. Take less clothing, you'll be better able to wash and re-wear things. Laundromats are hard to find and expensive and who wants to go do laundry when you're in Rome? No signora!!! Adult women don't wear tank tops and shorts in the cities, you'll stand out as a tourist–and some churches/cathedrals won't let you in with bare arms or legs–stick to long skirts, jeans, very little in the way of logos….but along the Mediterranean it's more relaxed though maxi skirts look more polished than shorts. Remember you are there for the experiences, the history, the art, the food. It's OK to not be so perfect and so controlled. Be aware of your surroundings and be smart, but also be open to going off the map and being a little spontaneous, the best and most cherished memories are those you make yourself!!!

    • Sabrina June 1, 2015 at 1:33 am

      Thank you!

  • jo May 30, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    You will need any empty suitcase to carry back all the great stuff you can buy. Lol. I would only take one pair of jeans and replace the other two pairs with lightweight black and khaki pants, perhaps a pair of white pants too and another skirt. You will not want to wear jeans or shorts that much anyway as they scream American tourist. Make sure you have a comfortable pair of walking shoes. Flip flops are not going to cut it.

    • Sabrina June 1, 2015 at 1:34 am

      Flip flops are for the 2nd half of the trip 🙂 more details soon. Thanks for the tips though!

  • Rachel Polansky May 30, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    The makeup bags you have are great for traveling — it's crazy to bring a carry on bag but definitely doable!

  • May 30, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    It seems as if your carry on could be mine! A limited amount of clothes is key here, and decanting is also what I do. Last time I brought a small zpalette with a blush and 4 eyeshadows and I was almost set as makeup went!

    As for bags, whatever is comfortable to lug around through endless airport corridors! Personally, though, if there are two of you I would simply check in one piece of luggage and forget about it until you get to your destination 😉

    • Sabrina June 1, 2015 at 1:35 am

      Hi Transientbeaute – if it were only up to me, I would do as you suggested. Unfortunately my other half has other ideas lol.

  • Amanda Hollingsworth May 30, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    Have a wonderful time! If you visit Berlin I can give you lots of tips as I lived their for four years. I must say I don't know how I could restrict my luggage to the quantities you have. Well done you! GHD are launching a new straightener any day now and with the Euro so low you should have the opportunity to pick up bargains galore. Have you been to London Sabrina? Anyway I'm sure it will be quite fabulous and June is a wonderful time for France & Italy. Xx

    • Sabrina June 1, 2015 at 1:38 am

      Hi Amanda, Berlin isn't on the list this year, although it's on my list for next year or so. Yes it is a bit insane to carry so little, but if I find I'm missing anything I can always pick it up along the way and add a larger suitcase.

      I have been to London over a decade ago! I spent a summer in Oxford studying political science and comparative government. I met several life-long friends that summer. I want to go back but won't be able to make it this year. I adore London! Spent many weekend trips there 🙂

  • Larie May 30, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Angelina in Paris has the best hot chocolate – it is an experience! Also, I also suggest purchasing a suitcase to bring home anything you might collect with you!

    • Sabrina June 1, 2015 at 1:38 am

      Thank you Larie!

  • Lesley May 30, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Hope you have a wonderful trip! My husband and I took an Europe trip last year and that was my first time only bringing a carry-on for 21 whole days. I'm a chronic over-packer, so it also scared me that I didn't bring enough clothes. We did have to do laundry once in Paris (although it was expensive at ~35 euros to wash and dry a full load of laundry), but that was the only way we would've had enough clothes. I re-wore a lot of my "easy" dresses, and like someone else said above, I always made sure to bring a scarf/cardigan with me if we were visiting cathedrals as bare shoulders and shorts were not permitted a lot of times. My husband is a sweet man and always carries some of my stuff for me in his bag, i.e. shoes and hair straightener (I have a GHD one that works great as long as you have a plug converter thing b/c GHD is dual-voltage). I used whatever blow-dryer they had at the hotels/cruise ship (we did London, Paris, Barcelona and then a 14-day Mediterranean cruise). I packed a giant Longchamp bag with me for shopping (read: buy some Hermes! Such a good deal!!) on our way home, we checked in the carry-ons and I carried the Longchamp as my carry-on onto the airplane. We returned the Paris again this March, and our same plan worked..this time no need for laundry b/c we were only there for a week. As far as Paris eats, my favorites are Chez Dumonet (duck confit), Pierre Herme, Berthillon (pistachio ice-cream), Breizh Cafe (crepes), L'eclair de Genie (eclairs), Poilane (bakery), Le Bon Marche (loveliest dept. store), Monoprix (grocery store that also sells Caudalie, Nuxe, Vichy, LRP, etc. and lovely french snacks). Hope you have a fun and safe!!! Trip Advisor City Guide has an app for the iPhone which is helpful (:

    • Sabrina June 1, 2015 at 1:39 am

      Thanks Lesley!! Love all the tips and your insight. I'm getting more excited as our departure date approaches!

  • Lesley May 30, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    Oh, I forgot to say, I know a lot of people like the Hermes flagship store, but my favorite is the Rue de Sevres store. It is beautiful inside!!

  • Christy May 30, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    Bon voyage – have a great time. Christy

  • Gail May 30, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    No tips since I've not been but I hope you have a safe & wonderful vacation!

  • W. Welch May 31, 2015 at 12:50 am

    Just returned from 2.5 week in Germany & Italy: For your carry-ons: check the airline weight restrictions as well. Swap the jeans for black North Face (or similar) pants (no cargo pockets) they are lighter to pack, can pass for slacks & can be hand washed/air dried. Cosmetics: I shopped my samples stash for cleansers/moisturizes/eye cream etc–used & discarded throughout the trip–never ran out–didn’t have empty bottles to haul around which made room for a few purchases along the way. I agree with the “don’t buy a hairdryer” at least give it a few days before deciding. I also strongly agree with the cross-body style daypack bag. I used the Pacsafe Metrosafe 100 GII anti-theft hip & shoulder bag and my husband used the Metrosafe 200 GII anti-theft shoulder bag (which stored his oversized DSLR plus zoom lens – I actually wished I’d gone with the Metrosafe 200 GII as well – picked them up at REI). We received sound advice to leave ALL our jewelry at home – you know you are married & no need to draw extra attention to yourselves with a beautiful gem (I took 1 small pair of simple earrings). We moved cities/hotels every few days & I found not fretting about whether I had my jewels on/packed was a relief. We didn’t have any issues with pick-pockets, etc but were well prepared on the security front. Another tip: those space/vacuum bags are very handy to condense the volume of your clothes and gain space. We just use them for dirty clothes which makes room to bring back souvenirs but they are helpful (I recently saw a ziploc set at Costco).
    Favorites from Rome: The Borghese Gallery was amazing (buy tickets in advance online as it sells out) thoroughly enjoyed this and do wish we’d rented the audio guide. If you are touring the Forum/Colosseum, I definitely recommend a tour guide. We booked with Teresa of Your Rome Tour from the recommendations of several co-workers. She is incredibly knowledgeable (and also just an adorable lady) she really elevated our experience and understanding at these sites. We booked 4 hours with her and I can’t recommend her enough. Vatican City: St. Peter’s Basilica was amazing and we were able to avoid the long line as we entered after our Scavi Tour (this also sells out months in advance but if you can get tickets it was a highlight). Or just get there early (8am-ish) to avoid the extended line that builds throughout the day.
    Make dinner reservations at Aroma Restaurant voted in the top 5 for rooftop dining in the world. It overlooks the Colosseum and the food was amazing (our party all had the tasting menu). I had our hotel concierge book the reservation in advance and also request an outdoor table – we dined from 7:30-11:30pm so enjoyed sunset followed by the nighttime views. Another favorite was Life Restaurant (Via della Vite, 28) their chicken caesar salad was refreshing and flavorful and the Home made ravioli with Black Truffle was decadent (we went 3 times). We also loved the Lis Neris Pinot Grigio (we couldn’t find it anyway else but they allowed us to buy 2 bottles which are now in the wine fridge for a special dinner this summer). Gelato: if you can, avoid the touristy spots. Our favorite was Come il Latte on Via Silvio Spaventa, 24/26 (I Caruso is also supposed to be great). We had another fabulous dinner experience at Piccolo Abruzzo the atmosphere was quaint and the owner Eduardo was incredibly charming – this was our most authentic dining experience in Rome – be warned go hungry. Stop by the Carlo Pazolini shop (it’s near the Spanish Steps and also a 3 minute walk from Life) – I didn’t find any shoes but there was a gorgeous briefcase/bag that I should have had shipped home (next time). Safe travels & have a fabulous honeymoon!

    • Sabrina June 1, 2015 at 1:40 am

      Thank you! I have checked all the weight restrictions and have a list of all the airlines we are flying. I'm under the weight limit! I suspect coming home will be a different story though.

      Thank you for all your tips and recommendations.

  • Julie Arthur // May 31, 2015 at 12:51 am

    The only advice I have to give is whenever you get on a bus or a train, make sure you know exactly where you have to come back to, exactly which stop and which direction you need to follow to get back to where you came from! My friends and I were lost in the suburbs outside of Rome for about 3 hours until a local lady was sooo kind and picked us up and gave us a ride back to our hotel. :/ We even had a map and the name of our hotel, but we had taken the wrong bus so far out of the way that no one we asked had a clue about where we needed to go!

  • waspprincess May 31, 2015 at 1:30 am

    Hi Sabrina,
    We will miss you, but I think you should enjoy your time off and not worry about posting. I travel a lot for both long and short trips. I would suggest you look into the Travel Fashion Girls blog and FB page. There are many great travel tips there and a good forum for questions. I am in love with Lo & Sons bags for travel. I own the Pearl, the OG and the OMG. You may also want to check out Tieks for ballet flats. They are comfortable, fold up and can be tucked in a handbag. If you are doing carry on only, I'd pack a foldable suitcase so you can check it on the return with the fun stuff you'll be purchasing or any excess baggage. I have one from Le Sportsac that's probably 15 years old and still going strong. Hotels have hair dryers so I wouldn't bother buying one there, but that's just me. Tie your back and forget the straightener for a few weeks. Live on the wild side.

    • Sabrina June 1, 2015 at 1:40 am

      LOL, my hair is super wild without any heat treatment!

  • Kari May 31, 2015 at 2:17 am

    I always pack 1 or 2 large scarves when headed to Europe. That way, you can change up your look, and if you need to cover up for a church, museum, etc., (or if you just get cold), you have something with you. I have been saved more than once with this trick. My favorites are from Theodora & Callum. I believe they are stocked at Bloomindale's and Nordstrom carries their cheaper T+C line.

  • Beauty Bloss May 31, 2015 at 4:11 am

    Wow, I can't do carry on for a week, let alone a month!!! Have a fabulous time xx

    The Beauty Bloss

  • fullafizzy May 31, 2015 at 4:16 am

    Tip RE your make up as a European who has travelled Europe. You want to put any makeup with liquid or CREAM in your liquid pouch, this includes mascara. Also make sure your pouches match European airport guidelines. I would suggest stanstead airport in UK, their website is very extensive, they are rather strict so you will be well prepared. Something's may seem extreme, but I've seen a woman loose the majority of her high end make up and been given a flimsy guideline bag to squeeze the rest into!

    • Anonymous May 31, 2015 at 10:37 am

      I would second this, airports in Europe can vary on how they interpret liquids. I saw a woman loose her lipsticks, foundation compact and mascara, as they did not fit in her bag. Only powder make up is truly safe outside the liquids bag.

    • Sabrina June 1, 2015 at 1:41 am

      Noted, thanks!

  • Unknown May 31, 2015 at 5:33 am

    Consider buying these ziploc travel space bags along with a travel sized Downey Wrinkle Releaser:
    If only using carry-ons, get the medium sized bags.

    I recently used these and also liked them:

    Enjoy your trip!!

  • Patti Bauler May 31, 2015 at 6:18 am

    How fun…my husband & I just returned from Paris…
    Goyard at 233 Rue st Honore is right in the heart of some GREAT shopping:
    Pierre Marcolini & Jean Paul Hevin chocolatiers (235 & 231)
    Colette (213) (I knew nothing of this wonderful boutique..marvelous curated clothing and beauty & so much more)
    You'll have a grand time…

    • Sabrina June 1, 2015 at 1:41 am

      Thank you Patti, I have Colette on my list for sure!

  • Anonymous May 31, 2015 at 9:25 am

    Paris- Oh My Cream, Joelle Ciocco, E Pure Boutiqie Rive Gauche( owned by Biotherma – Esthederm) Pharmacie Rue du Four, Fondation LVMH, Bistro Le Petit Celestins,Chez Georges Rue de Mail, L'Ami Jean,
    Monsieur Bleu, Centre Pompediou,Hotel Costes, Bread and Roses next to Hermes,also,Hermes Rue De Sevres

  • Anonymous May 31, 2015 at 9:27 am

    Best Chocolate in Paris Alain Ducasse shop next to cafe de Flore rue St Benoit

  • Anonymous May 31, 2015 at 10:06 am

    if you are coming to northern Europe bring something warm its still spring rather than summer, plus a very thin raincoat or umbrella is going to be useful, enjoy.

  • Jeanne Grandel May 31, 2015 at 11:08 am

    You are quite courageous planning a trip to Paris or Rome with such a small bag. weather will be changing quite a lot in teh past few weeks. for example it is below 20°C today in Paris, but should be over 30° C next week-end…. and you will certainly find quite big temperature différences depending of the cities you are visiting. Paris can be quite stuffy clothing wise and rather snobish too, and typically you may not have a great service at shop like Goyard or Hermes or feel very confortable wearing shorts and nike either in restaurants or even in certain parts of Paris. You were asking earlier an address for a good pharmacie in Paris, the best one that everyone is visiting is CITYPHARMA 28 rue du four 75006 paris, métro Mabillon it is very close to Le Bon Marché, our parisian Barneys, and shops like Buly 1804 (you should visit this one which is very French and quite rare) or Ines de la Fressange, rue de Grenelle (she just reopened it with a very French atmosphère).
    There are a lot of amazing exhibitions at the moment, Jean Paul Gaultier and velasquez at le Grand palais, YSL the 1940 collection at Foundation Saint Laurent, Lanvien at Palais Galiera…
    Hope you will have a great time in Paris, and I am looking forwards to reading your views on my city

  • Amy May 31, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    I'm so thankful for this post! I am going to France in late August with my husband and three year old. I'm trying to figure out our packing strategy since we will be using trains and metro. I think one roller board each and a backpack will have to work. I appreciate all of this advice about minimalist toiletries and makeup. I look forward to reading about your trip!

  • Eileen May 31, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    You've received so many great tips, Sabrina, that there's really not much to add. I know you and your husband will be creating some wonderful memories as you travel about. Have a safe journey.

    • Sabrina June 1, 2015 at 1:41 am

      Thank you Eileen 🙂

  • Hawin Cetin May 31, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Enjoy your trip, Sabrina! Make sure to step by Pierre Hermé in Paris and London, they make the best macarons in the world!

    • Sabrina June 1, 2015 at 1:42 am

      Of course!! I'm really excited about those 🙂

  • Maria May 31, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Why don't you want to take a large suitcase and check it in? Carry-ons are really extreme! I've never traveled with a carry on in my life, even if it's only for a week. If you're going to buy things on your trip, like make up or food stuff, it will be impossible to do without checking the luggage in. I've often experienced troubles with carry-on items in European airports as they all have different rules and may throw out your things. Also, European airlines have weight restrictions for carry-on… I think some may have something like 7 or 8 kg max. It's really not much!

  • Kaja Elisabeth Hytland May 31, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    I would suggest maybe packing a sweater or a light jacket if you're going further north than France, or if you're going to the UK. And if you're going to Scandinavia you will definetly need a jacket. In the south west of Norway the average is still only about 10 degrees celcius. Other then that, good luck and I hope you have an amazing time.

  • Anonymous May 31, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    You are brave woman to travel with a carry on for four weeks! I would never agree to that but I am a clotheshorse. I would plan on buying a suitcase to check on your way back for all the fun things you will be tempted (and likely will) to buy.

    I actually disagree with the advice to cover up for museums. I wore a long skirt and 3/4 length sleeve shirt to the Vatican in July and was burning up. Meanwhile, everyone else was in sleeveless dresses or shorts. I felt like the tourist taking old-fashioned advice.

    Also, if you love Zara (they are better in Europe), they other have fun chain stores in Europe that we don't have here. I especially love Bershka! I bought many french pharmacy cosmetics as most were cheaper than here too.

    We did our honeymoon in Europe and it will probably forever be my favorite trip. Have so much fun!

  • Gaming Nails May 31, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    Welcome to my side of the pond! 🙂
    my advice would be an echo of most things youäve read on this post;
    *don't bring expensive jewelry
    *ditch all shampoo/body cream/shower gel; buy on location! We have all the stuff you have, no need to carry it around
    *jot down the compontents/strength of your most used medications in case you need it from a pharmacy
    *if you didn't include it already; bring one fleece/zip hoodie or similar, or a windbreaker; weather can be unpredictable and although you can buy anything (it's not like you're going to a third-world destination!) you might want to bring along rather than spend money/time hunting down something while you're freezing! also I would swap a pair of jeans for a pair of light-weight cargo pants or similar; you'll have way more use and less to carry.
    *don't advertise your tourist status; flapping about with maps and/or googling should be done at your hotel, not in front of thieves. NEVER take a cab that doesn't have official license and never let your bag out of sight.

    Relax and enjoy your trip!!!

  • makeup magpie May 31, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    How exciting! Great suggestions from everyone. Best wishes for a lovely trip! Enjoy:)

  • Amanda Hollingsworth May 31, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    ^^ As a rule of thumb I would suggest that if you are visiting Catholic, Jewish or Muslim venues your shoulders should be covered and whatever you are wearing from your waist reaches your knees. It is about respect. I learnt the hard way and was actually swatted at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem as my pashmina slipped off my shoulders and exposed them within the ladies praying area. I don't think it's about what other tourists are doing but being culturally sensitive to where you are. But it really does depend where your excursions are taking you. Even in England I wouldn't go into a church wearing a hat, sunglasses or with shoulders exposed and inappropriately short clothes never mind the The Vatican. In Bethlehem at the Church of the Nativity inappropriately dressed tourists were refused admission……imagine going all that way to visit somewhere so moving to be turned away! If in doubt I would have a pashmina / sarong / stole / scarf in your day bag to cover up.

  • nueyork June 1, 2015 at 1:21 am

    Have a great time! I have some travel coming up as well, and this post was so helpful. x

  • Ana B June 1, 2015 at 4:00 am

    Have a safe trip and have fun in Europe. This is one of the places that I want to visit too.

  • Pam Hetlinger June 1, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    How fun! Have a wonderful time in Europe. I can't wait to see your pics. I love that you shared all of these great travel bags. I needed something like the Anya Hindmarch bag. Thanks for the recommendation!


  • Tagatha June 1, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    I recommend checking travel tips at

    She has traveled a lot in Europe with only a carry on and shares her experiences after trips (what worked/didn't work/why). Have a good trip!

  • Eugenia June 1, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    A carry-on for a month long European vacation? I am in total awe, lol! Every time I visit Europe, I always wind up packing an oversized suitcase – mainly because I need to bring along a ton of gifts for relatives (which then press us space for purchases!!). I don't know which countries you'll be in, but if Greece is on your itinerary, a visit to the newly redone Acropolis museum (after touring the Acropolis, of course) is an absolute must – not to mention any of the islands of The Cyclades. No matter where you go, I just know you'll fall in love with every single place – enjoy & safe travels to you both!

  • MITCH June 1, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    Hope you have lots of fun in Europe!

    Oh Dear Bumblebees

  • Stephanie June 1, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Dear Sabrina,
    In case you are visiting Berlin and feel like some beauty shopping – besides the KaDeWe or Galeries Lafayette – you should go to one of the "Diamant" stores. They sell f.e. Chanel, Guerlain, YSL, etc. for 20% off (I splurge there at least once a month 😉
    I hope you enjoy Europe. Have a wonderful time and come home safely to tell us about all your adventures 🙂
    Many many greetings from Berlin

  • Sofia June 1, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Hi Sabrina! I don't want to worry you but just in case be warned that if you expect to jet around so many countries in Europe with cosmetics in a carry on, at some point you would probably meet some nasty airport official in a bad mood and forces you to throw them away. I live in Europe and I've had it happen to me twice. Luckily though most of the time they're cool and don't bother. But just in case.. other than that I hope you have a fantastic time. If you come to Barcelona and need anything, just give me a shout! Sofia xx

  • Anonymous June 1, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Hi, Wishing you and your husband a bon voyage! Take several cardigans, Paris can be chilly and also bring a raincoat or small umbrella. In Rome, be extremely vigilant with your bag and your husband with his wallet. Ignore any people that come up to you with a petition to sign and ask you if you speak English, they are frauds. I adore Paris, just went last summer. Have a macaron for me!

  • Anonymous June 2, 2015 at 1:00 am

    My latest discovery for a lightweight, breathable and super comfortable jacket is an Icebreaker Merino jacket. It'll protect against air conditioning, will ward off light rain and is so great to wear.
    Have a most wonderful time, if you go to Italy or Germany, drink a "Spritz" which is white wine/Aperol or Campari and sparkling water. Super refreshing and tasty. Also, the Gelato…
    I look forward to your adventures. All the best,

  • Anonymous June 2, 2015 at 2:21 am

    As someone who lived for three years in both Rome and Paris, I can tell you that it's going to be far too hot for jeans in Rome in June- light summer pants (elegant capris or shorts) will be much more suitable for the weather and you'll fit in better…very few Italian women wear jeans in the summer. Paris can be cooler so a trench, jeans and light, layering sweaters are really all you need there with a good lightweight scarf. In terms of cosmetics, you'll find most of the same stuff that you're interested in on the blog there with the key difference that Chanel makes mascaras for the European market that don't get released here- i.e. Sublime which I miss very much. Printemps department store has a beautiful perfume section and is much better than Galeries Lafayette which is absolutely crammed with tourists. In Italian pharmacies, look for products by Rilastil to try- it's a more high-end brand and the skin care I got from them was perfect. Have a good time:)

  • June 2, 2015 at 2:52 am

    wow that's beyond exciting! i'll be looking out for your travel pictures on your instagram.

    i don't know your traveling style, but for me, 3 jeans might be a couple too many? i would go for a couple summer dresses which can be dressed up or down?

    anyway, hope you have a magnificent trip!

  • frogqua June 2, 2015 at 10:33 am

    If you have time in Paris, do visit the Serge Lutens shop in the Palais Royal. It's not far from the Louvre. Amazing little place, and it's got all the perfumes (some only available in Paris) and the makeup line and it's beautiful inside. Also – the Guerlain flagship at 68 Champs-Elysees.

  • Anonymous June 2, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Hi Sabrina! Enjoy Paris and the other cities you'll be visiting!

    I bought the Sony Nex-6 based on your images and I do like it. My question is: have you purchased any additional lenses for it or do you always use the 16-50mm lens? I realize it may take some time to hear back as you're traveling….but, I'd love to know!! Thanks in advance!!

  • Anonymous June 2, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    I recommend City Pharma on Rue de Four! It is crazy & crowded…but, best deals in Paris!! Next to the Louvre you must visit Angelina for some "hot chocolate"—I know it's almost Summer….but it's a MUST!! I love the Le Orangerie Museum near the Louvre also. Much more do-able than the Louvre!! The Euro is incredible…I'm sure Louis Vuitton is worth a visit and I like to hit Repetto for ballet flats!!

  • Anonymous June 2, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    I recommend City Pharma on Rue du Four! It is crazy & crowded…but, best deals in Paris!! Next to the Louvre you must visit Angelina for some "hot chocolate"—I know it's almost Summer….but it's a MUST!! I love the Le Orangerie Museum near the Louvre also. Much more do-able than the Louvre!! The Euro is incredible…I'm sure Louis Vuitton is worth a visit and I like to hit Repetto for ballet flats!!

  • Anahita June 2, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    You must visit the Guerlain boutique on the Champs Élysées. I went there last year and never expected to receive such gracious service. I was worried about how I would be treated as I don't speak a lick of French but everybody there and in other parts of France were very friendly and helpful. They also have items that are only available there. I purchased a number of perfumes and a pressed powder that was originally created for Marie Antoinette that they brought back for the opening of the boutique. I was disappointed that I was unable to have afternoon tea in their restaurant and have thought about going back to Paris so that I can partake.

  • Johnson June 3, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Happy shopping!

  • Anonymous June 3, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    in rome fratelli rossetti and ferragamo shoes.. expencive but really made in italy

  • Anonymous June 3, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Dear Sabrina, Department stores: yes, you might want to step into Galeries Lafayette to see the beautiful building (look up – the ceiling is stunning), but it will be packed with tourists. In the Galeries Lafayette there is a Angelina (hot chocolate, good cakes as some other reader commented). You could go to the actual Angelina Café opposite of Tuilleries, but there is likely to be a waiting line and the atmosphere is hectic inside (seems like they can't wait to get ride of you so they can let more people in). Whereas in Galeries Lafayatte it's not crowded at all. Printemps next to Lafayette offers a little calmer shopping experience. A tip for a great view of Paris – go the Printemps Mens department, there is a café on the 10th floor. You don't need to buy anything – just step out on the terrasse and enjoy the view. The department store for you – as a classy woman who loves everything beautiful – is Le Bon Marché. They have a newly renovated shoe department – nice and airy. If you go there, the food hall is a must! It is in the building next door (La Grande Epicerie). Macaroons: since you can get Laduree in LA, go for Pierre Hermes (they are better anyway). When heading to Marais; in Rue des Francs Bourgeois there are a lot of little shops – diptyque, Caudalie, Guerlain etc (the part close to Rue de Turenne). Marais is known for their falafels and the best are from L'as du Fallafel, 32-34 Rue des Rosiers. You can sit inside or buy to take away (maybe go to Place des Vosges). There will be a line for either option, but a bit of waiting is worth it. The staff is very efficient. The veggie falaffel pita is fantastic. For shopping: highstreet – Zara and Mango will be cheaper (than in the US), maybe also COS and &other stories. For more high end, Maje, Sandro, Claudie Pierlot are as far as I know a lot cheaper than in the US. The euro is weak, so it's a good time for you to go shopping 😉 Take care – it's not more "dangerous" in Europe than in the US. Beware of certain groups who want to trick you.Common trick in Paris: girls who want you to sign something, they pretend to be death and collecting money (not true), or someone in front of you is pretending to find a gold ring and then wanting to "give it" to you (and then ask for money I guess. It happened to me twice – I just say no and move on). Have a wonderful trip – I'm looking forward to hearing more about it.

  • adia June 4, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    In Rome, definitely check out Sant Eustachio cafe! Amazing cappuccino and they have really cute souvenirs.

    Adia | beauty luxe life

  • Stephanie June 30, 2015 at 12:06 am

    I'm curious if you took the Nikes or the Pumas. Those Pumas are way cute and I'm thinking of ordering, but I really don't want to deal with a return if they're not comfortable for walking. You've given me Paris wanderlust!