I love shopping. No, like really love shopping. I wake up, grab my caffeine and spend 20 minutes every day perusing my favorite online shopping destinations to add about a dozen things to my shopping cart. It's not always about making a purchase. Sometimes it's just about daydreaming. So when I told the hubbs that I was heading overseas for a three-city shopping trip, he panicked: exchange rates, stores we don't have here, no one to remind me we have a mortgage and a son. I schemed my entire flight—I would limit myself to $1000. Okay, maybe $1500. No more than $2000. How long could that really take to pay off?
After a shower and short nap, I hopped a private shuttle to Bicester Village, London's tucked away shopper's paradise of outlets. Yes, outlet shopping. But these aren't your run-of-the-mill stores. Think Valentino, Givenchy, Prada, Celine—and at hefty discounted prices (I scored a pair of Celine pumps for under $300!) and sometimes current season! So after a trip to Marni, Celine, and a quick run through at Rag & Bone, I left with packages in tow and some mild damage to my credit card.
The best part is that no matter which European city you venture to (I stopped in London, Dublin, and Barcelona), there's likely a Chic Outlet you can visit. My personal favorites are Bicester Village just outside of London and La Vallée Village just outside of Paris (Valentino outlet!)
Here's the clincher: You can book your entire package (flight + hotel + meals + tourism) through Chic Outlet Shopping, which not only means hours and hours of shopping, but a full on city experience as well. So, if you want culture and shopping, you can set up a private tour of Barcelona with Bernard (an amazing guide, btw) as you learn about Gaudí and stop to smell the roses, fresh fruit, candy and more at the La Boqueria. Then, head out to La Roca Village just 45 minutes outside of the city (great deals on Loewe, Desigual, and Versace).
If Dublin is more your speed, you'll eat the best smoked salmon you've ever tasted, stop for a pint (there are more pubs on a single block in Dublin than I've ever seen in my entire life…and I live in NYC!), and get lost on the old, winding streets as you stumble into Brown Thomas on Grafton Street and Kilkenny Design for amazing souvenirs . Then, you can take a short, but breathtaking trip to Kildare Village (the newest of the Chic Outlets) for great deals on Anya Hindmarch and Lulu Guiness to name a few. The best part? The view from the top of The Marker Hotel near Pearse Square Park. Go at sunset for a breathtaking view of the entire city.