Before we left for our trip to France, I shared what was packed in my carry-on bag in Packing for 10 Summer Days in France. I mentioned at the time that the packing process was easier than usual for me, but that doesn’t mean it was perfect!
Too often I think we see lists of what to bring, but then we don’t hear if the traveler was actually satisfied with what was in their bag.
Being far from home without some key items (that you already own!) can be a hugely frustrating. As can hauling stuff around the world that you just wrinkle up but never actually take out of the suitcase.
So I thought I’d do a little update of what I would have changed about the contents of my carry-on. As a refresher, here was my packing list (jump back to the original post for photos of the items!)
- 5 dresses
- 4 tanks (black, white, blue, striped)
- 1 black skirt
- 4 tops (striped, patterned, blue, black)
- 2 pairs of cropped black pants
- 1 pair white jeans
- 2 cardigans, 1 pullover sweater
- 2 “spare” tops (one long sleeve, one short sleeve)
- 1 bathing suit
- 1 pair of wedge heels, 1 pair black heels and 2 sandals
Overall this packing list worked for my trip, but here’s what I would change:
Packing Edit #1: General Overpacking
Come on, this is no surprise. I could have left behind at least 1(2?) dress(es), 2 tops, and 1 cardigan from the list above. Having these items gave me peace of mind, but they were not necessary.
I will say, our first two days in Paris were rainy and very cold. During that time I was very glad to have my pullover sweater and “spare” long-sleeve top. I layered up and was ok, and the rest of the trip was perfectly comfortable wearing tanks and dresses, with the occasional cardigan or scarf in air-conditioned environments and evenings.
Overall, even eliminating these few items, I am probably overpacking according to some travelers. But I liked having the option to change for dinner each night by swapping a top or a dress. I didn’t even have to consider doing laundry. And I like having mix-and-match variety!
Packing Edit #2: Shoes
I had qualms about shoes before we left because it felt a little strange not to bring any close-toed shoes. I justified to myself that it was summertime, but I should have listened to my instincts. A pair of ballet flats or something else cute would have been very welcome during those rainy first days in Paris. Next time, I’ll bring them!
To make space, I would probably only bring one pair of heels rather than two. Wishful thinking that I’d actually wear heels enough to warrant 2 pair!
I was glad to have 2 pairs of sandals to swap between, which helped when my feet were tired. And if you do even half the amount of walking we did, I highly recommend sandals that strap around your foot (not just the flip-flop variety). Your feet will be tired, and when navigating unfamiliar sidewalks its just easier if you don’t have to think about keeping the shoes on your feet.
Those are really my only two “coulda woulda shoulda”‘s from packing for our trip, which is saying a lot for this traveler!
I will say, we were lucky that my husband was able to pack mostly in one suitcase and bring another nearly-empty suitcase for souvenirs (read: wine!). But I also fit a bunch of other souvenirs into my return luggage by expanding the zipper, so it can be done.
Bon Voyage, mes amis!
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