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Let's talk about packing for Paris, please

Let's talk about packing for Paris, please

Jan 18th, 2012, 09:44 PM
  #1  
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Let's talk about packing for Paris, please

I'll be in France in late May, and after a few days in the Alps I will take the TGV to Paris for 6 days. How big of a bag should I realistically be taking with me? I usually travel to NYC with a huge suitcase (at least 26"), and pack another bag in the bottom of it to bring home all the clothes and stuff I buy there. I don't think this is going to work for me in France. The hotel rooms are small, the rental car for the start of the trip I'm sure will be small, and I will have to drag my luggage to a new location after the first few days. How big a bag did you take? Do you use a regular suitcase, or the kind that can also be used as a backpack? Or something else? Did you buy much on your trip, and if so how did you get it home? Do they check and stow bags on the TGV, or do I have to be able to take it on the train with me?

I will have a few months to figure out how to pare my wardrobe, toiletries, and miscellaneous carry-on stuff down to a minimum, but I guess I am wondering just how pared down I should go?
PlumeriaTattoo is offline  
Jan 18th, 2012, 10:14 PM
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The size of bag corresponds to the amount of "effectively usable" belonging you need to carry. One carry-on size (22") wheeled luggage is within reach for most folks if they can resist urge to bring things that cannot be used over and over.

Now you mentioned "Alps." Are you hiking? Then you are destined to carry at least a pair of hiking boots, an outdoor jacket, and perhaps walking sticks so it is difficult to fit into a carry-on size luggage. Also May is usually not a good time to hike high altitude trails. I presume you have already looked into just where in Alps you care to visit in May.

After taking one train, you quickly realize just how much pain it is to drag around a 26" luggage along with other belonging you would be carrying. Of course, if your look can attract guys, there will be no shortage of helping hands... LOL...
greg is online now  
Jan 18th, 2012, 10:18 PM
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I agree with greg, a carry-on 22" would be my choice.
Tentek is offline  
Jan 18th, 2012, 11:29 PM
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Depends on the airline -- some 22 in. bags are actually closer to 23 inches and too big for some sizer boxes. So I'd go w/ a 21" rollaboard.

If you want to do carry-on only then use a 21inch suitcase. If you don't care about carry-on, then a 22", or a 24" max.
janisj is online now  
Jan 19th, 2012, 02:34 AM
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I use a 22" bag with a collapsible duffel inside, which I check, and almost always do the Paris part of our trip last (as that is where I tend to shop) The 22' bag fits easily in the car trunk or train and I check the duffel coming home.
I carry a small bag on the plane and my husband carries a small backpack on.
Judy is offline  
Jan 19th, 2012, 06:46 AM
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We each take a 21inch roll aboard and check them in for 2 weeks to France and we each carry on a small bag so that when plane lands our hands are pretty much free so we just go. nce you carry on a lot of luggage onto a train you will never do it a second time. we learned the hard way.
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Jan 19th, 2012, 06:48 AM
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greg -- no, we will not be hiking. Just taking photos and enjoying scenery from the ground.

Looks like I will need to think hard about what I really need to take with me as I rarely travel with a bag that small. All my products for contacts, hair, makeup, etc take up a lot of room, I tend to bring several shoe options, and I'm not a fan of wearing shirts more than once. High maintenance, I guess.
PlumeriaTattoo is offline  
Jan 19th, 2012, 07:32 AM
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All my products for contacts, hair, makeup, etc take up a lot of room,>>

no reason not to bring them, but could you decant them into smaller containers?

When i can't do that, I save the ends of my favourite products and take them with me, and throw away at the end of the trip. They may not take up less room but they are lighter and they make more room when I chuck them.

and honestly, do you really need a choice of lipstick, eye-shadow, etc etc.?? you have time to think about what you really need and just bring that. ditto shoes - in May, perhaps one pair of shoes that are comfy for walking, a pair of sandals and a smart pair will probably suffice.

go on- you know you can!
annhig is offline  
Jan 19th, 2012, 07:38 AM
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I pack a 22" for a month trip usually with at least 2 weeks in Paris pack tohe same size for theDH and he taks a blazer and dress shoes and pants. I do do laundry as there is a laundromat right next to our apt! you are not going to get full size bottles thru security and I wouldn't put them in with my clothes. Shampp and conditioner can be bought in Paris, they have woderful products there
avalon is offline  
Jan 19th, 2012, 08:34 AM
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Of course, the lighter, the better is good advice. Having said that, I did travel with both a 21" roller board and a 24" rolling bag on all three of my trips to France last year. Two trips to Paris were made easier by taking a car to and from my apartment, but on a self-guided trip to Provence via the Nice airport, I had to schlepp both bags on long walks, airport bus rides, and then load them into my rented Peugeot. I made the most of the packing space by using small travel containers and Space Bags, which work wonders for all of those cute outfits we just have to take with us! Sensible shoes are key: sandals and a pair or two of flats. Note: The roller board has the 360 wheels, so rolling both was no problem. Have a wonderful trip! Je suis tres jaloux!
Texafrance is offline  
Jan 19th, 2012, 09:13 AM
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Since I travel solo and by train, I carry a 20" roll aboard and a small bag that fits on top. This keeps me from packing too heavy, knowing I may be lifting my bag into the overhead compartment. Many times, a man will grab my bag and stow it for me, but I have had to do it myself several times. I must do laundry to travel this light, but it works for me.
scatcat is offline  
Jan 19th, 2012, 09:14 AM
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I think a 21-22" is best, but I use a 24" rolling suitcase (not a backpack convertible). I think from what you have said about yourself, that is the smallest bag you're going to get yourself into honestly. Plus get a nice large totebag of some sort to use as your pocketbook/purse and 2nd piece.

Decant everything you use for cosmetics/toiletries into small plastic 1, 2, or 3 oz containers. You can take a lot of different things but only pack exactly the amount you'll need for the length of your trip. No full-sized anything.



You either need to get over that, or plan to have some laundry or dry cleaning done along the way.

Definitely bring 2-3 pair of shoes. You can still pack light. I figure shoes are the most important for comfort. You CAN wear the same clothes over and over but if something goes wrong with your shoes and you don't have a backup, could really be a problem.
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Jan 19th, 2012, 10:11 AM
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On trains the luggage is yous to deal with - getting it onto the platform, up several step narros steps to the train and lifting in to the overhead rck (but 26" won;t fit there). Youwould need to leve a bag that big either at the end of the car or fit behind of under your seats or? I travel with that and a SMALL carry-on - not a wheelie but just a tote bag for the shoulder.

I travel with that size suitcse all the time (since I am often doing business plus vacation and need 2 separate wardrobes and don;t find it a problem. But use mostly cars, cabs and hotels with bellmen. I rarely shop for clothing much in europe - since things are so much more expensive than in the US - and anyting sizable I have shipped home.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 19th, 2012, 04:25 PM
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I beg of you...a 22 inch suit case and maybe a small tote with that. I can pack for a week in winter with one and I am a girlie girl. You will be so sorry if your try to use trains etc...with a larger bag. Even storing a large bag in many hotel rooms can be tough.

I don't take really nice or non-practical shoes and I love shoes. No more than 3 pairs of shoes, but 2 is good. Thin layers is the way to go.
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Jan 19th, 2012, 04:49 PM
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PlumeriaTattoo on Jan 19, 12 at 9:48am
greg -- no, we will not be hiking. Just taking photos and enjoying scenery from the ground.
Looks like I will need to think hard about what I really need to take with me as I rarely travel with a bag that small. All my products for contacts, hair, makeup, etc take up a lot of room, I tend to bring several shoe options, and I'm not a fan of wearing shirts more than once. High maintenance, I guess.


Just go naked with your tooth brush and buy all those other essentials when you get there. Rumor has it that Paris has good shopping. I visited some big stores on Blvd. Haussmann and Rue de Rivoli.
spaarne is offline  
Jan 19th, 2012, 05:36 PM
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High maintenance and traveling by train don't mix well. Whether I'm going for a week or 2+ months, I take a 21" or 22" rollaboard. Trust me, you will be SO, SO sorry if you haul a huge bag and have to lift it onto and off trains and haul it around with you.

Do remember that no one in Europe is going to care about whether your "products" or shoes are perfect. You'll never see these people again. Cut down on the products, wear things more than once, and take two pairs of shoes.

Travel isn't about maintaining appearances (which isn't to say you can't look put together); it's about experiencing new stuff.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 19th, 2012, 05:39 PM
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Even with my very small bag, I find myself wishing that I had only brought a toothbrush and panties.
scatcat is offline  
Jan 19th, 2012, 05:49 PM
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spaarne: Just go naked with your tooth brush and buy all those other essentials when you get there.

Betcha you'll have a line of men all wanting to help you stow away your toothbrush in the overhead rack.
easytraveler is offline  
Jan 19th, 2012, 05:53 PM
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The best thing to do is to pack up everything you think you can't do without in Europe and, if you have stairs at home, haul the suitcase up and down the stairs.

Then take the suitcase outside and roll it around, running with it would be even more realistic, on the grass - presumably you don't have cobblestones in your backyard.

Get back into the house and haul the suitcase up and down the stair again.

In the end, you'll probably take spaarne's advice...
easytraveler is offline  
Jan 19th, 2012, 07:07 PM
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Having traveled many times with friends who love to pack for every possible scenario we came up with the motto, "you pack it you carry it" They have all done much better after hauling needless crap all over Europe. We have it down to a science now. Black, layers, wear your heaviest shoes, pack the lightest shoes. There are drugstores everywhere and love trying new products from Europe. They even sell sample sizes. We did all public transportation last trip and loved having one suitcase under 22inches. I do laundry, wash out in the sink, rent apartments when we can and buy only items that lay flat and don't take much room in the suitcase. It helps me from buying a lot of stuff I don't really need. I tried a suitcase with the four wheels loaded with the handle extended and it didn't roll so well so am keeping my two wheeler.
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