Friday, 3 June 2011
The Bishop's Palace and Vacation Packing
This weeks Friend Friday is about vacation packing. How pertinent! I thought I'd share some more photos with you from my recent vacation in France to illustrate. See ModlyChic for posts by the Friend Friday crew.
Make no mistake - I am the world's worst packer! Since cheap European airlines cracked down by imposing strict weight limits on suitcases with fines my European holidays have been satorially ruined for me. Gone are the days of packing everything and the kitchen sink for a summer holiday with an outfit a day, makeup and beach books all in there. These days we are all trying to squeeze dressing for our week away into a ten kilo limit and a bag small enough to store in the hold of the aircraft to avoid feeling ripped off for having to pay £20 to check in another bag. I personally can't deal. I am one of those types that needs everything with me. Like Rachel Zoe - I need options!
Clearly such extravagance isn't possible anymore but that has made the process of choosing what to take a nightmare for me. So it usually gets done at the last minute and badly. This time I actually planned ahead and checked what the weather was going to be like and the forecast was for four days of rain. As you can see from the photo - not a raincloud in sight. So all those cool, wet weather options taking up valuable bag space didn't get used and I was restricted to the few items I had that were suitable for sunny, warm weather. I felt ripped off! And I could only take three pairs of shoes with me!!
This is where we stayed while in Alet les Bains, the Eveche hotel which in centuries past was the Bishop's palace and once the site of important meetings in the Christian church. It's said that Nostradamus was a guest on such occasions.
In the hotel grounds are ruins of the old cathedral.
We had a room with a view! The foothills of the Pyrenees are in the background.
I like decorating any hotel room I stay in with my bits and pieces to make it feel a bit more like home.
The grounds and gardens are stunning! The gardens back onto the River Aude.
For those who are not in Europe one of the most annoying things you will have to endure packing for a European holiday is the current requirement to stick your handbag in your hand luggage bag when you check in and go through security. So you have to remember to leave enough space and weight allowance for the handbag you plan to bring with you. If you are a big bag lady that means making enough room for something like this!
Needless to say if I want to do any shopping when I get to my destination I can't avoid coughing up to check in a bag. Of course it helps if you travel with someone who tends to travel light so you can steal their weight allowance...
And now to the questions:
1. When it comes to packing for vacation what’s your mantra?
If you are not risking a fine for blowing your weight allowance then you haven't packed enough.
2. What are your must packs?
Does not compute.
3. What are you happy to leave behind?
Usually I'm never happy leaving anything behind - I wish I could take everything and the kitchen sink with me.
4. Any packing secrets that help you get everything into one suitcase?
Leave it to the very last minute until you have to just jam everything into, zip it up and run out the door without giving it too much more thought. I find sitting on the gear before closing up helps! Buy a suitcase with one of those expandable zippers - they are lifesavers.
Also if you can't pack it wear it. London is usually cool enough even in the summer to get away with layering up with things like knitwear and outerwear that would otherwise fit in my suitcase. I stick small but heavy things like cameras, mobile phones and chargers, Ipods and keys in my pockets so they don't get weighed when checking in.
5. Beach reading… what are you taking with you to read in the sand?
To me a book takes up the precious weight allowance of extra clothing options. Instead I buy local fashion magazines to take with me to the beach. It's a way in which I get inspiration by understanding what is fashionable in other countries and acts as a heads up as to what goodies I can find in the local shops.