Welcome everyone to our second blog post! As we approach the school holidays, we know travel will be on a lot of people’s minds, whether it be a short trip to see family over the festive season, a week on the coast, or even an international escapade! Of course, all of these events require different levels of packing and preparation. Packing for trips within Australia tends to be easy enough – there’s not much you can leave behind that you can’t find at your local shop wherever you go. Packing for international trips is a much more intimidating task, as certain things like medication, power plugs, and more simply won’t be available overseas, or at least not as easily. For those seeking to journey to France, or friends who join one of our tours, we have decided to compile a handy list of your French travel essentials. Let’s start! Allon-y!
First of all, lets run quickly through the basics. These may seem obvious, but sometimes it’s the obvious that slips our mind! Luckily, these things can easily be sourced in France if forgotten, but its still nice to have the peace of mind in knowing you have everything you need!
5 x sets of underwear – both of our 2023 Tours are roughly 2 weeks of travel with opportunities to launder, so this amount follows the idea that you will only need to wash twice without ever being short, and avoiding overpacking.
Socks! A couple lighter pairs for sneakers, and some thicker socks if you’re venturing over in the colder season – honestly even if you aren’t its better safe than sorry to have a cold-weather pair ready!
Sneakers! It’s likely that you’ll be doing a lot of walking while exploring France, and so make sure to bring a couple pairs of hardy/comfortable shoes that you won’t mind getting a bit of wear. If you want to bring some nicer shoes, save them for an elegant dinner soiree!
Raincoat – Raincoats are always handy if the weather turns. To save space, stores like Anaconda, or Target do great foldable raincoats that can be stored in your handbag.
Backpack/Fanny Pack – You need something to store your day to day essentials – a backpack or handbag for adventuring is great. Fanny packs are another great option for ease of movement, and good for storing valuables close to you. Some models are designed to hide under your clothes for peace of mind.
Lighter Jacket – one jacket for day to day use
Compact Umbrella – always handy!
Water bottle – optional and easily purchasable in France, but certainly a necessity once arrived.
Sleep mask – Optional. These are great for the plane – though they tend to provide one on the flight, one of a nicer quality material bought in advance can make a big difference in sleep quality.
Warm jacket – always good to have a parka or coat that is designed to keep you warm – there are great insulated parkas or thicker woolen coats depending on your activity list!
Pyjamas – self explanatory! Unless you like to sleep in your normal clothes 😉 Depending on the time of year you may opt for PJ’s that are more summery or wintery as suits
5 Tops and 3 Bottoms – this is a good rule of thumb to equal 15 full outfits over the course of the trip by alternating pieces with each other. For ladies, if you’d like to bring a dress or two, count them as tops! Make sure that at least one of your bottom and tops are outdoor suitable, whether that be athleisure, tights, or running shorts with a T-shirt, it’s good to have a comfortable option for walking.
Toiletry bag with products – this is optional, as you might find it just as easy to purchase the necessary hygiene products where you’re going – France has a lot of the same brands that we have here easily accessible in their supermarkets and pharmacies. A brief idea of what you might bring should you still wish to pack in advance might include
Shampoo and conditioner (travel sized)
Makeup removal wipes (if relevant)
Contacts/Glasses (if relevant)
Makeup necessities (If relevant)
Feminine Hygiene products (if relevant)
Basic medicines paracetamol etc
Next, lets look at important essentials, many of which can’t be replaced with ease, and are particularly important to remember!
Passport – for obvious reasons 😊
Passport copy – if you can, getting a copy of your passport (and other important identification documents) signed by a JP and verified as a copy, means you can leave your passport and other valuable ID documents in the hotel. This way, if something happens to your copy, you can still rest easy.
Other important forms of ID – Licence, student card etc … a lot of tourist sites in Paris and other cities require you to produce a form of ID or a copy to enter
Prescription medication – If you require prescription medication for any reason, its best you see your doctor well in advance of your trip and discuss options for overseas travel. They will be able to help you with getting enough medicine for your trip. It can be difficult to fulfill scripts overseas as countries have different laws regarding medication – it’s much easier to simply have enough.
Your phone – of course you will need your phone! Keeping in contact with your guide as well as those who you traveled with is integral, especially if you ever wish to venture off alone for a minute. We will be doing a post with information on French phone plans soon so sit tight!
French currency/cards – Most banks have travel card options they can load with the foreign currency you need! Getting one of these organized, as well as some French cash for emergencies is good to do in advance. Make sure to keep things like this in a safe place.
Power banks – This might not seem super important, but a power bank can save you from becoming lost in the city with no phone battery if you keep it in your backpack! When I (Hannah) lived in Paris a couple of years ago, a day out could quickly drain my battery and without my power bank I would have been stranded many times.
Power adapter – This is a must have for your charging needs – charging your phone, camera batteries, power bank, etc is much easier to do when you can actually use the French outlets! These are purchasable in most airports and online. You may find something like it in a French tech store like FNAC, but its better to have one already.
Lastly, lets look at the fun little extras that will make your trip more merry!
A Camera! – This is optional, but a good quality camera can often capture experiences and places in a way that even the impressive iPhones can’t! Brands like Nikon and Canon have some fairly inexpensive beginner cameras that offer great quality photos, or to mix things up, even a polaroid camera could be a fun and artsy way to capture France.
A lightweight book – for the quiet moments before bed or while driving between stunning locations, it’s always a good idea to have something to read – or alternatively you could bring a Kindle if you have one.
Headphones – If you aren’t a big reader, then headphones for listening to music or podcasts could be your alternative for relaxation. If you enjoy books, just not the visual aspect, the app Audible allows you to download and listen to stories narrated aloud. (Not sponsored, a fan of the app!)
A beret! – a fun nod to French culture, a nice beret would be a fun accessory! Here’s a picture of Maud rocking hers in Paris :D
There we have it! If you’re traveling next year on one of our tours, this list will hopefully be a helpful guide for you. Remember to try not to over pack – you may need that extra space for a little French shopping! Of course should a little become a lot, I’ve known people to send back boxes full of purchases as they go, but that can become dreadfully expensive – it’s better to conserve space if you can. If you have plans to ski or do other specific activities, this list may need some tailoring, but it’s a great base outline for your voyage Français. Merci and à bientôt!