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I eagerly boarded the plane for my first trip to Europe several years ago.  Packed in my luggage were two pairs of heels.  I just knew that I was going to luck up and be invited to a glitzy party.  That’s what happens when one goes to Europe, right?  Yeah, in the movies.  I wasted precious packing room, and ended up with overweight luggage before I even left the U.S.

Leave the high heels at home unless you know you are going to party.  If you are thirty and under, by all means take an extra suitcase with heels in it because the party scene is calling your name.  If you are over thirty-five, save the luggage room (and weight) to bring back a good bottle of wine.

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The cobblestones atop Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest, Hungary are representative of the cobblestones found throughout Europe.

Ladies, cobblestones are not our friend.  Think of a paved brick road with gaps between the bricks.  That’s what cobblestones are like.  Now imagine walking down that paved brick road in your finest shoes.  Lastly, image how you will cry once you get to the end of said paved road and your heels are scuffed and ruined.  Take my advice and take only one pair if you must, to be worn on even pavement.

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You’re not missing out on much by leaving the heels at home.  True, Europeans dress better than Americans as a general rule.  It’s easy to spot the American from miles away. We’re the ones wearing the sneakers and yoga pants, ensembles most European women wouldn’t be caught dead in outside of the gym.  However, the only place that I really saw women dressed to the nines, designer heels included, was in Vienna on Kohlmarket.  It’s still a mystery how the women walked so saucily on the cobblestones without so much as a slip or caught heel.

If you’re an American traveling to Europe, do as the French do and opt for fashionable comfort.  Ditch the heels and add a classic scarf or understated jewelry.  You can be beautiful and stylish without the risk breaking your neck on Europe’s historically uneven cobblestone streets.