Q.I will be traveling to Europe this coming May and will only be able to bring one 22” carry-on and one overnight bag (that will fit under the seat). I'll be in Paris from May 5 – 11, and then in Barcelona from May 12 – 16.
The weather should be okay, but most likely there will be rain. I'm stumped as to how to best pack so I'm prepared for anything while packing as light as possible.
What shoes would you recommend for daytime walking (a lot of walking!)? Jacket or sweater? How many pairs of jeans? How many tops?
This is my first big trip to Europe so I'm trying to be proactive and figure out now what is needed. Since I will be responsible for lugging my own bags from Paris to Spain, I am truly limited for packing purposes. —Marianne VanAuken, Chandler, AZ
A. Since this is your first trip across the pond you should know Europeans' idea of casual is a bit more pulled together than Americans'. Parisian culture is steeped in fashion history and they take it seriously, so if you don't want to stick out like a sore thumb, bring your best casual looks and buy some new things too. I always think of myself as a representative of our country when abroad and step up the style quotient.
In 1965, Audrey Hepburn called Louis Vuitton with a small request: could they make a mini version of their Keepall duffel just for her? The answer: Mais oui, Madame. Now a globe-trotter’s handbag of choice, the LV Speedy($2,490) has been upgraded with embossed leather and a shoulder strap—making any holiday chic, Roman or otherwise.
Mimi Lombardo is Travel + Leisure's style director.
Q: My carry-on is beat, and it’s time for a new one. What do you recommend? —Jonathan Curley, Seattle, Wash.
A: In the new world order of carry-ons, lightness is key. Victorinox’s 22-inch model($299) is hard-sided yet weighs only six pounds. It also has maximum maneuverability thanks to its eight wheels. (If you are used to two, scooting around the airport with this many is truly life-changing.)
Q: We’re spending two weeks in Stockholm in February, and I want a new warm winter coat. I can only take one, so I’d like it to be versatile. Recommendations? —Marna Eklund, Palo Alto, Calif.
A: I’m currently obsessing over Jia Collection, a line of convertible clothing by Chinese designer Jia Li that includes dresses, cardigans, and more. Her hunter green cashmere-and-Italian-wool jacket with leather trim ($940) is toasty and reverses to ash gray. Two for the price of one!
Q: My husband and I are traveling to Brazil. We both have fair skin, so we’ll be wearing plenty of sunscreen. Does sun-protective clothing really work? —Sadie Walker-Jones, via e-mail
A: Definitely! Clothes are rated on a different scale, though: UPF, or ultraviolet protection factor. The average T-shirt has a low UPF (anywhere between five and eight). By contrast, all of the following have the highest possible amount—50-plus. Parasol, founded by a former Vogue editor, offers pieces made of quick-drying Italian Lycra, while Coolibar creates its fabric from Australian eucalyptus trees (both also wick away moisture to keep you cool). The Patagonialine comes in everything from wide-brimmed hats to leggings.
Q: We’re attending a wedding in Bali. The ceremony is on a beach, but the reception is indoors. Can you recommend a dress for the occasion? —Hiromi Tsunashima, Coral Gables, Fla.
A: The batik-style print of this silk dress by Tory Burch($350) evokes the traditional look of the region but is still lightweight and travel-friendly. The long sleeves—a must for formal events in Bali—are fairly loose-fitting, cool enough for the beach but also just right for air-conditioning. Add sandals and a clutch and you’re good to go.
Q: I take frequent business trips and want to update my wardrobe. Any advice? —John Kinninger, Las Vegas, Nev.
A: The new reversible ties from Canvas Lands’ End ($50) multiply your style options without adding bulk. It’s also worth investing in Ted Baker’s three-piece suit ($825), made from wool that’s spun specifically to resist creases. You’ll go from plane to boardroom looking like you mean business.
Q: I’ve seen a lot of folding travel shoes that seem like they’d be comfortable (especially after an evening in high heels). Which are your favorites? —Cass Mitchell, Santa Monica, Calif.
A: You’re right—there are dozens of collapsible shoes on the market, but some are flimsy. Personally, I love Tieks by Gavrieli(from $165), which have a sturdy rubber sole and a breathable leather innersole. Each pair comes in a pouch—and with a small nylon bag to carry your heels. They’re incredibly versatile, transition easily from day to night, and are available in bright patent-leather colors for extra kick.
Q: I’m traveling for the holidays. What is the current airline policy on wrapped gifts? —Molly Richins, Astoria, N.Y.
A: The TSA doesn’t prohibit them, but if an agent asks to see what’s inside, you have to comply. Because they’re legally allowed to open the gifts in your checked baggage as well as those in your carry-on, it’s best to wrap when you arrive (or send them ahead).