France the French way


Packing your Bags!

Posted: 2011-05-13

I'm off to Europe for three weeks, what am I supposed to pack?

This is a question that is being asked everyday by people heading off on holiday. In fact at this time of the year I have many hundreds of travelers heading off to Europe, and they are all scratching their heads over what to pack.


One Suitcase, one hand luggage - you need to be able to move independently - unless you have your own porter!

So what do we know?

You can take one suitcase, and one item of hand luggage with you. Whatever you pack, you must be sure that you can move around with your two items of luggage - be able to carry/pull your cases out of airports and through train stations!

So now that your have your cases ready we can work out what we pack.

The first thing you need to remember is that you will probably buy new clothes or items while you are away - who wouldn't? You are probably going to buy things on your travels, so don't leave home with a full suitcase.

How much can you take? Check with your airline, but normally you're looking at about 23kg for your suitcase and 7kg for your hand luggage. So when you start your trip you really need to have less than this! Sorry! My last trip away to France I left with 13kg in my suitcase! Plenty of room to expand!

Life is a lot easier to start with room in your suitcase.

So these are my secrets for you all:

You should choose fabrics that are easy care, and easy to travel with. I need to be able to wash a shirt at night and hang it up to dry, so that in the morning it will be ready or nearly ready to wear. Some cotton fabrics dry badly and some dry brilliantly - find this out before you go. Cotton T shirts for me are the worst of all, as they take for ever to dry, but having a good white T shirt is handy under a shirt or jacket. So choose carefully. I have some cotton socks that take days to dry, and if you move regularly on your travels this makes life difficult. You can always get your clothes laundered at a laundry or through your hotel, but expect to pay 30 Euros for a shirt - I can buy a new shirt for that!!!

Any clothes that you pack must be comfortable on a train or a plane, and I always like to choose something that looks good! When you pack make sure that everything can mix and match i.e. that any pants/ shorts can go with any shirt etc.

For me, I usually get away with two pairs of shoes!


These can be worn with shorts, jeans, and even dress up in the evening if they have to! And they can walk all day without a break!

Walking shoes.

That can be worn with jeans and shorts and walk all day, as if they we're sneakers. I don't do sneakers!! These shoes can even dress up.

Dress Shoe. That can be worn with your jeans and look sharp, but must be comfortable and "broken in". These shoes you'd mainly wear in the evening.

There is a third option - a summer mule/ sandal/ jandal for the summer holiday, but they're not the most practical for walking in cities.

Where you are going and the type of holiday must be well thought of before packing; is it a beach holiday, backpacking, churches, dinner parties, Paris, countryside. Whenever I go to Paris I would never wear shorts, because the locals (except the students) don't, the men all wear long trousers/jeans. Also in Paris most people wear jackets - so I do too - they also often in Paris wear scarves summer and winter, but you don't need to do that, but it is a sharp look, and the locals will think you are local too! But if I wore my Paris clothes when touring Provence, the locals would laugh at me and double the bill at the bar!

Now here is the fun part - PACKING!

My SUITCASE - what it contains:

  • Shirts (short sleeve) x 4 (including some dri-fit)
  • Shirts (long sleeve) x 2
  • T shirt
  • Trousers: 1 pair of jeans or longs
  • Shorts: 1 pair
  • Underwear x 3
  • Socks x 3
  • Wind/rain jacket
  • Shoes x 1 pair
  • Swimming togs
  • Umbrella (collapsible)
  • Coat hangers x 2 (for drying clothes on!)

You must assume that if your luggage went missing this will see you through 24 to 48 hours.
Change of clothes:

  • T shirt (white)
  • 1 pair undies,
  • 1 pair socks
  • Toiletries - regulation (including medication)
  • Jersey
  • Scarf
  • Laptop and other technical bits and pieces!
  • Paper work

On the plane I WEAR:

  •  Trousers (jeans or longs)
  • Shirt
  • Undies, socks (goes without saying?)
  • Blazer/jacket (pockets galore for boarding passes, tickets, pens etc.)
  • Shoes (of course)
  • Security pouch

So sorry ladies I'm not too authoritative on what you have to wear, but either way just remember these things:

  • You are limited in what you can pack.
  • When you head off on holiday you need free space in your case.
  • Remember to mix and match!
  • You must be able to go from point A to point B carrying your own luggage!

Have a great holiday, and when you come home make sure your case is bursting full!!

Bon Voyage!