But as bad as these debacles can be, it's important to remember how life-changing travel shopping can be. Many years ago, in Europe as a college student attending a socialist rally (at the time, this was my idea of fun on summer vacation), I was stunned by the gorgeous women all around me. Back home, being a lefty meant overalls and Frye boots, but here you could man the barricades looking like Juliette Gréco in a silk dress and scarlet lipstick and patent pumps. I buried my jeans in the bottom of my suitcase, went to Galeries Lafayette, bought a Cacharel dress, and wore it practically every day for the remainder of the trip.
When I got home, I tossed my jeans in the garbage. And I've been dressing up ever since.
Lynn Yaeger is a Travel + Leisure contributing editor.