Need to know what to pack for France? French tutor Carol Beth L. shares her tips to make your trip abroad a success!
As you pack for your trip to France, it’s important to keep in mind your needs and goals – and where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing while you’re over there!
The number one recommendation I would give to would-be travelers to France is to pack lightly. Especially if you live in an English-speaking country other than Great Britain, you’re probably in for a relatively long flight.
Once you’re there, especially if you’ll be traveling around significantly, you won’t want to have to lug too much around with you.
Remember that France is not only a civilized country, but it also contains many wonderful, desirable items you may wish to bring back with you. You might even want to bring an extra bag if you plan to do lots of shopping.
What to Pack for France
How to Travel Light on Your Trip to France
If you’re near time for a wardrobe update, consider buying some of your new clothes after you arrive in France. For those you do bring, select just a few essentials that are appropriate to the season. If you need a winter coat or other warm clothes, wear them in layers during the flight.
Consider travel-sized essentials. This will also help with US security restrictions on liquids such as toothpaste and shampoo.
If you can, leave the technology behind. Especially if it’s a short trip, consider whether you can make it without your laptop. If you have things you must do using a device, will an iPad or iPhone suffice? Consider bringing a USB if you need data storage, and looking up an internet cafe while abroad for any more complicated technological or online necessities.
It is possible to go without checked luggage. On my first three international trips – including a semester abroad and an orchestral tour that required my violin – I avoiding checked luggage. It made things simpler and easier both before and after arrival.
Consider Your Accommodations
My second recommendation is to consider where you will be staying. Will you have a place to lock up your things to keep them safe? Will you need to keep them with you perpetually? If you leave them in your room, will they be secure?
Don’t bring anything you wouldn’t trust to survive in the places you’ll be going, and be prepared with a back-up plan to replace or retrieve backups of anything that goes missing.
Don’t Forget Your Camera
My third recommendation is to bring a record-keeping device and to have a plan to keep it going. This probably sounds obvious to many people. Many people probably have a with them most of the time on their mobile phones.
Sometimes simple or low-tech solutions can be just as good. In high school, my mom stuck several disposable cameras in my bags for my trip to Europe, and I used them. They worked quite well.
In college, I took a miniature camera, and the batteries fell out when it took a plunge down the steps of a cathedral. Much of the data from that batch of photos was lost because it took me too long to retrieve the parts and put them together.
Power Up Your Devices
For those who bring chargeable or plug-in items, keep in mind also that you will need converters that will first of all allow you to plug in your device, and second of all convert the electrical current properly if there isn’t one internal to the device already.
Laptop computers often have current converters in their electrical chords, but still require a plug adapter to allow the end of the chord to plug into French electrical outlets. Fortunately for international travelers, if you are traveling to more than one European country, most European countries are consistent among themselves.
While you are in France, have fun and experience as much as you can! Travel is simultaneously fun and educational, and the freer you are the more you will be able to bring back with you, both mentally and physically.
What’s in your suitcase? Share your French-travel essentials in the comments below!