Monday, October 13, 2014

french travel packing list

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I'd like to address something here: Alex and I are carry-on only travelers. Yes! We hate luggage! We hate luggage when heading to a weekend at the cabin, we hate luggage for a week in Los Angeles. And we hate luggage, yes, even when traveling to far places, like Europe. And not only because luggage is often always cumbersome and heavy, costs extra to check, and you have to stand in long lines to check it at the front desk; but also perhaps due to an irrational fear of our luggage getting lost (!). So in preparing to pack for almost 3 weeks in Europe, we knew it was going to be a special challenge. It was bit of a conundrum because we had to take into consideration that Paris is generally colder, but we were also on the beach in Cote d'Azure, where temperatures are still warm and sunny. So I knew that I'd have to plan ahead in order to fit all of my things in one small backpack that wouldnt be too overstuffed to carry with me everywhere (on planes, in trains and on foot).

I did my research and found some really great packing tips and capsule wardrobe recommendations from various sources (for example) and so I thought it might be valuable to share my experiences here as well. I think I came up with a packing list that was just about as close to perfect as it was gonna get, and figured that anything we forgot, we could just pickup while we were there. Instant souvenir! Here's what I brought:

1 pair dark denim jeans
1 pair black jeans
1 black jumpsuit (most women recommended a maxi dress, which would do double-duty as both a beach cover-up AND dressed-up dinner dress, but I figured a jumpsuit was about the same)
1 shorter dress (mine was a silky/slinky number that did great as both a nice going-out dress and over my suit at the beach)
1 pair high-waisted black shorts
2 tees - one grey, one striped
1 black (dotted) sleeveless cami
1 black sweater (heavier-weight)
1 long grey cardigan (lighter-weight)
1 dark denim shirt
1 black leather jacket
1 scarf
2 black bikinis (one was a convertible strapless top that worked great as a strapless
1 pair leather sandals (again, that could be worn both on the beach and are nice enough to wear out to dinner)
1 pair comfy and stylish black flats (with extra Dr. Scholl's!)
1 necklace
1 tube red lipstick
+ underwear and something to sleep in
all rolled and packed into this very nice looking Burton rucksack, which I picked up at the last minute at Urban Outfitters, and I am so glad that I did!
+1 small brown leather cross-body purse for everyday

Crazy, right? I did the math and I had about 13 different outfits right there. Of course, I ended up wearing one of 2 outfits mostly, and the rest less frequently. Also, you'll notice most of what I packed is black. And although I love black and is the most prominent 'color' I wear anyways, it was highly suggested that the French wear predominantly dark colors (and a lot of black). It worked out suuuuuper well, no complaints!

We also didnt bring any hairdryers, straighteners, no shampoo/soaps, no detergent, as the apartments we chose to stay in had clothes washer/dryers and provided the necessary linens, bath towels and accoutrements. Hooray! Of course, I did still pack my toothbrush/paste, a travel sized deodorant, phone charger and extra battery, european plug converter, and a book to read on the plane. Oh yeah, and a super small lomo camera with 35mm film ;) More details and outfit photos to come!

PS: I did also buy a tote bag at Zara before we left Nice, to carry the souvenirs and baguette and cheeses we bought for lunch. We could have stuffed all that into our backpacks, as we did end up having room, but it was nice to have them more accessible, instead of packed away into our backpacks in the over-head storage bins. You could easily pack a cotton tote (they are everywhere in Paris!) instead of buying one there.

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