When I lived back in the mountains of Honduras without a vehicle, and took the bus everywhere I went, I learned to pack nothing more than the bare essentials. After all, nobody wants to lug pounds of hairspray and extra towels through crowded bus terminals and for miles down the road on your back. I got quite good at packing light, and upon returning to the States I gaped in honest amazement at the amount of things girls would take with them for a weekend trip. How could they even think to pack so many things? What did they do, scoop up their whole closet and stuff it into their multiple bags so they’d have options?
After being back a while though, I reveled in the luxury of stuffing my trunk with things. Granted, I still never managed to figure out how to fill two duffel bags for two nights, but if I wanted to take along a fluffy towel, I could, instead of wringing out my washcloth to dry myself. (And yes, I’ve totally done that. Desperate times and all that.)
With that said, I decided to show you my packing for a week in Paris in April, in case any of you are considering a similar trip and want tips. I definitely could have packed a
little lot less since we had a washer in our flat, but this amount of clothes would work nicely if you don’t want to take too much time for laundry.
- Four dresses
- Two tops
- Two bottoms
The tops and bottoms are interchangeable, making another outfit, and all the clothes were in the same color scheme, which made accessorizing so much easier. I loved wearing little dresses there, and felt like I fit right in with the multitude of ladies in pretty dresses wandering the streets.
To handle the weather, I took…
- One trench coat
- One thickish sweater
- A pair of converse, to walk miles in
- A pair of flats, also very walkable, and slightly dressier for visiting castles and stuff
- A couple pairs of tights and leggings in case the wind was too chilly
- A hat for bad hair days
- An umbrella, (which I thankfully didn’t need)
- A couple scarfs for added color and/or warmth
I’d like to give a shout out to Walmart’s flats here. I know their clothes are poor quality, but they actually have cushioned flats that I’ve found to be more comfortable than almost any others I’ve had. And I’ve had a lot- they’re a staple in my closet. They held up well for miles of walking, and were easy to clean when they got coated with dust from the gardens.
The trench and neutral sweater were a great combination, because on cold days I could wear both, or I could switch them out when the sun shone. Also, never underestimate the value of hefty pockets when traveling.
What I’d need on the plane…
- The scarf so I could wrap up and my neighbors couldn’t watch me sleep
- An eye mask which makes me feel like such a diva- seriously though, they’re awfully nice to have if the plane doesn’t provide them
- A notebook and pen in case I have thoughts worth capturing
- Earbuds (don’t be like me, and actually take regular ones that will fit anywhere. Facepalm)
- Passport, obviously
- A fluffy book to entertain me (Delightful, by the way. You should try it.)
- Lots of snacks and a water bottle, to avoid outrageous airport prices
Side note- did you know that the kind of book you take on vacation is very important? If you take anything bordering on dark, it can seriously cloud your whole vacation if you become immersed in your books like me. And if you take anything too ridiculously captivating, you may sit outside far too long and scorch your skin. Not that I’ve ever done that…innocent whistle. L.M. Montgomery is the perfect mix of whimsical and interesting for a vacation.
To wear on the flight… COMFORTABLE things!
- A soft stripey tee
- Soft denim
- A soft sweater
- A light silk scarf
Basically all the things that won’t dig into your skin in five hours. Also layers, because airplane temperatures are so unpredictable.
Of course you’ll also need…
- A picnic blanket on which to have all the picnics in all the parks
- Cosmetics (My advice- don’t bother overdoing it with makeup and hair products on your trip. You’re on vacation after all, so use the bare minimum and be happy you don’t have to lug so much extra weight around.)
- All the chargers
- A power adapter if needed (I got this one from Amazon which is cheap and small and perfect)
- An extra battery pack for your purse. Nothing worse than being stuck miles from your flat when your phone dies in a strange city.
- Monetary options. I took an Aspiration debit card, which offers free ATM withdrawals anywhere, and a credit card I never use, so if I got hacked or pick-pocketed I wouldn’t have to change all my accounts.
- A bag that is capacious enough to carry water and an umbrella, but not so big and heavy it will make your back ache. I used my urban tote from Urban Southern, which did a swell job, as usual.
And that about sums it up. I was able to cram it all into a rather small carry-on and my urban tote, which was so nice both for lugging around the airport and the streets of Paris, and for not taking up excess room in our handkerchief-sized apartment. I stayed mostly warm with the layers I took, and even with walking over 60 miles, my feet didn’t kill me in my shoe selections. Hurrah! For another take on our clothes for Paris, check out Lynn Raine’s post about packing.