In last Tuesday's Travel Tips, I gave you 4 tips to get ready for your trip to France, so today I'll tell you about 5 things to consider before you just start throwing items in your suitcase and what I packed for my recent two week trip to Paris.
Tip #1 - Check the weather forecast for your destination.
This may seem obvious, but it will make a huge difference in how you pack your valise.
Two things I always take with me to France are a good, portable umbrella and a high quality raincoat. Ironically, in the 2 weeks I was in Paris in April and May, it did not rain one single day! Bizarre! I was still glad that I had the raincoat for the days when it was a bit chilly.
Tip #2 - How many days are you going to be in France?
This is also pretty obvious, but when I talk to people who are going to travel, they feel like they need to pack a different outfit for every day of their trip. NON, NON, et NON ! You need to first realize that you are probably never going to see these people again and nobody is going to remember if you wore the same thing twice. (Believe me, I have been guilty of packing way too much in the past, until one trip to Paris when the air traffic controllers went on strike the day we were supposed to fly back to the United States. I had a group of 25 of my French students and their parents with me and we had to all take a bus to Brussels, Belgium to fly back home, carting our luggage all over the place! Not fun and the last time I took more than one suitcase!)
Tip #3 - Choose your outfits wisely!
When I travel to France, I try to only take dark-colored clothing that won't show dirt so quickly. I also make sure that I don't take anything that is going to need to be ironed. Remember, we're trying to keep everything simple and low maintenance!
Tip #4 - Mix it up!
Once I've decided how many days I'm going to be traveling, I lay out pants for 1/2 the number of days I'll be in France. I then find 2 tops for each bottom, and look at all the possible ways I can mix and match the outfits. I add 4 scarves that will go with any of the outfits and 3 pairs of shoes. I then add undergarments for 5 days and plan on handwashing them during my stay. The only jewelry I take is my FitBit and 2 pairs of simple, inexpensive earrings. You don't want to draw unnecessary attention to yourself!
Tip #5 - Take out 2 tops and bottoms!
Now that you have everything lined up and ready to go, it's time to get rid of some items, because you probably still have too much and you can't decide. So, my tip is to wear the same comfortable outfit on the plane going to France and coming back. For my two week trip, I took 5 bottoms; 2 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of black/navy pants, and 6 tops; 3 solid color t-shirts, 3 long-sleeved blouses. It's very easy to sneak in a couple of extra scarves to make the outfits look different each time, if you are having a panic attack!
It's your turn!
Are you ready for your trip? Are you getting nervous? I always tell people to just remember that there are plenty of stores in France, so if you forget something, just go and buy it!
I'd love to hear what your travel tips are for packing lightly. Leave me a comment and don't forget to check out my website for upcoming classes if you need to learn some French for your trip! Merci et bon voyage!