Travel Gear vs. Travel Clothes for Paris


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Do you REALLY want to look like THIS when you land in Paris? The ONE SIZE FITS ALL hat goes back to the TRAVEL catalogue (whose name I won’t mention out of politesse – you know who you are!). So does the Size SMALL tank top get returned and the elastic band tencel ‘jeans’ NO WAY, JOSE! Keep those jeans at home in a drawer for ‘feeling fat days’.

If you are facing the dilemma of packing woes, believe me, you have all my sympathy – because even though we live in Paris -we’re on the road when we’re not – and it seems like our packing is a never-ending exercise.

You know you’ve been traveling for too long when you start dreaming about packing.

So what do you do when you’re going on a round-the-world-trip which starts and ends in Paris? You need to pack for tropical weather, desert weather, Russia in the fall season, and end up in Paris at the height of the Fall fashions.

Are you perpetually cut short for time – when it comes to packing and trip preparations? Read on.

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I’ve divided packing priorities into two totally different categories:
Travel Gear and Travel Clothing for one simple reason:
Travel Gear can be ordered mail order and Travel Clothing CANNOT.
The mail order companies that are so good and so efficient at mailing you nifty items like electrical outlet converters are the same sort of companies that will have you tearing out your hair if you try to order something as simple as a rain hat.
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One exception to this rule was the Travelsmith raincoat I ordered which made the cut with flying colors.

When it comes to clothing, my advice is to visit your local consignment shop and stock up on everything you can find in black. Black raincoat, black skirts, trousers, etc. Make sure the material is the kind that you can roll up, stuff into your suitcase, and it will still come out unwrinkled. The so-called travel clothing that you’ll find in some well known travel clothing catalogues (I don’t want to badmouth here so I’m not naming names) but the sizes are totally out of whack, the quality of the material is the cheapest imaginable and judging by the stitching, these must be seven year olds sewing together these clothes. If you really want to look like a potato sack on your trip, this is your choice, but by the time you return and exchange, wait for the UPS deliveries, etc. you’d be far better off doing your shopping locally.

On the other hand, if you’re stocking up on video camera gear, i.e. battery accessories etc., shopping online makes a lot of sense. Last week I picked up two SONY NP-FM50 batteries on line which would have had to have been ordered by local retailers anyhow, so you’re really saving delivery time, not to mention driving around town time by ordering this sort of product online.

Likewise, I may have also done much better ordering my laptop carrying case online rather than at the local JC Penny’s for a whopping $100. I just noticed that on the TravelGearBlog, I could have found a similar model for $10 less.

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So the rule of thumb here might be ‘if you carry it, buy it online’. If you wear it, try it on first before you buy it.