Zeena Travel Diaries: London & Paris
Posted on July 18 2019
Traveling the world has always been a passion of ours and this summer, we were grateful to journey across the pond to experience London and Paris all in one go. Although this isn't our first time in Europe, we loved strolling through the English countryside with the family, gazing up at Stonehenge and sipping cafe au' lait on the boulevards of Paris. And while packing for a vacation may not seem as exciting as the trip itself, if you're like us, planning a modest travel wardrobe is a feat in and of itself...and one that we really enjoy!
If you've already booked your flight, but find yourself staring blankly at your closet, today on Zeena Uncovered, we're giving you a peek inside our summer suitcase and sharing our best modest travel outfits to inspire your summer vacation style.
Designing a travel-friendly wardrobe is a lot like creating a capsule collection. In addition to choosing mix & match items that can be worn more than once, it helps to think of a color palette so that your items will coordinate effortlessly. In London, one of our main goals was to not stick out like tourists, but still dress comfortably. With this in mind, we packed our favorite jeans (of course), neutral tops, 2-3 print hijabs and a plain one. Keeping the weather in mind, we brought along 1-2 slightly dressy, lightweight colorful blouses just for fun. It also makes for great pictures when you look and feel a little bit more dressed up than usual!
From Bayan: "Everyone talks about London weather being gloomy and all, but it’s my second time visiting and I've lucked out each time. It was hot during the day and chilly in the evenings. So, when the sun went down, I got to layer up with a scarf or leather jacket. Honestly, the weather was perfection!"
"We spent a lot of time at different parks where the kids just ran around and played for hours. And the food...from Dishoom (authentic Indian cuisine) to Ben's Cookies (the best dark chocolate chunk cookie we've ever had), to a fancy high tea with the kiddos at Sketch, London, there was no shortage of delicious eateries and dessert spots across the city. I got my wallet stolen ☹! We did a day of shopping on Oxford Street, it was really crowded and I didn't even notice. Thank God I had put my passport safely back at the hotel the day before."
We visited Buckingham Palace, the Tower Bridge and took an all-day tour to the English countryside, which was stunning. The area around Stonehenge was picturesque. "Next time," says Bayan, "I’d love to channel my inner Jane Austen and drive myself to Bath and stay for a weekend!"
We possibly picked the worst week to be in the City of Lights. We landed the day the heatwave started, the weather was sweltering, but we still made the most of it. It was our first time in Paris and it was absolutely beautiful. As professional foodies, we weren't crazy about the sit-down restaurants...but all the bakeries were aaamazing! From mozzarella sandwiches to chocolate croissants, and the best fresh macarons, we were in heaven.
From Bayan: "Besides watching Team USA rock the World Cup, my favorite sights in Paris were picnicking in the evening in front of the Eiffel Tower. We also did a bike tour of Versailles gardens. We stopped and had a picnic before taking a walking tour of the Palace."
"For my outfits, I mixed and matched pieces. For example, I wore a red top with jeans, the next day I wore the same red top with a polka dot skirt. Later on, I wore the top as a complete matching set with its co-ord wide-leg pants. To change things up, I took the same wide-leg pants and wore a denim shirt with them one day, and a black shirt the next. I really try to pack light. I find it easier to move around. And I enjoy my vacation more when it's easy to pick something out without giving it too much thought. And of course it leaves room in my suitcase for any shopping."
Bayan Travel Tips:
- Packing light makes it easier for you to move around the city. With a pre-planned, mix-n-match travel wardrobe, you'll also find you have more time to actually enjoy your vacation rather than thinking, "What am I going to wear?"
- Never pack new shoes! Always pack your most comfortable ones. The last thing you want is blisters on your feet when you're out for an evening walk.
- Plan your vacation at the same time as family or friends. We met a few good friends in London, and believe me, having a local guide in any city makes the world of difference. They can take you places and tell you things that you might never have heard or read about in travel guides.
- Watch your items...very closely. Pick-pocketing is real and I never thought it would happen to me seeing as I’m pretty vigilant, but sadly, it did. Since I was wearing a backpack, I know I looked cute, but it probably made it easier to open without anyone noticing.
- Don't forget the essentials -- mini toiletries & travel-size versions of your daily makeup, plus a classic black hijab.