Today I am going to be going through everything I packed for my recent trip to France and Italy. I was there for fourteen full days but technically sixteen because of the two travel/flying days. I waited to write this post until after the trip so I could see how effective my packing strategies were and evaluate what I could have done better, which hopefully you guys can learn from! I am by no means an expert packer though; I’m generally an organized person and pack very far in advance, but for this trip I literally packed most things a few hours before I left. As always, there were a few things I ended up not needing and a few things I wish I had brought, but I actually think I did a pretty good job overall. Here is an itemized list of what I brought, with how much I used it and explanations for certain items:
- 2 skirts (they were more on the dressier side, I planned to wear them in Paris but it ended up raining so I didn’t wear either at all)
- 2 rompers (one was worn once, one I wore twice or three times)
- 1 sundress (worn once, I preferred my rompers just because of the convenience of not worrying about them flying up)
- 2 pairs of jean shorts (one was worn around four times I believe, the other not at all because they were less comfortable so I always chose the other pair instead)
- 1 pair of patterned, flowy material shorts (worn once)
- 1 pair of flowy pants that had a tie-around belt (worn twice, once in Paris because it was unexpectedly very cold, once in Rome for when we toured the Vatican)
- 1 pair of jeans (worn twice in Paris; it was cold)
- 1 pair of leggings (worn three times; technically I didn’t pack them because I wore them on the plane, and I wore them on the plane to Italy and the plane coming home)
- plain black t-shirt (worn twice or three times)
- plain red t-shirt (never worn, planned to wear with the skirts but didn’t match much else except jean shorts and I preferred to wear tank tops)
- pink graphic tee (worn once, on the plane ride there so technically not packed)
- plain black tank top (worn around 4 times)
- one-shoulder black tank top (never worn, I always chose the normal black tank top over it)
- black cropped off-the-shoulder long sleeve shirt (never worn, too hot in Italy and too cold in Paris)
- pink tank top (worn once)
- black belt (worn four times, worn with the jean shorts each time I wore them)
- black Patagonia light waterproof windbreaker (worn six times, each day in Paris and on both the flights there and home)
- Birkenstocks (worn three times, only in Sorrento so each day I was there)
- white Nike Air Force 1s (worn everyday besides when I was in Sorrento)
- toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, rubber bands and special floss for my braces, acne cream, deodorant, shampoo (when it ran out I used shampoo from the hotel and I always used the hotel conditioner), face wash, perfume rollerball, nail file, wipes, mouthwash, hairbrush and hair ties, Tide stain remover pen, chapstick etc. (all used every day)
- 4 sets of pajamas- 4 t-shirts and 4 pairs of cotton shorts (each worn 3-4 times)
- around 20 pairs of underwear (each worn 1-2 times)
- 5 bras (each worn 2-4 times)
- 6 pairs of socks (each worn 2-3 times)
- black fanny pack (worn 4 times, each day in Paris)
- electronics (phone, iPad, phone charger, iPad charger, portable charger, charging cord for portable charger, plug converter, earbuds)
I know it sounds like a lot, but I used almost everything multiple times and there were only a few things I didn’t use that I shouldn’t have brought. I also went shopping in Rome and got a shirt, two skirts, and a romper. I also got a souvenir sweatshirt at the Sorbonne in Paris and I got a t-shirt and sweatshirt in Florence, so I had more clothes to bring back (don’t worry, they all fit perfectly fine in my suitcase!). I even wore the Sorbonne sweatshirt as soon as I got it in Paris since I didn’t have anything else that was clean and warm our last day when it was raining there.
That brings me to my biggest mistake- I should have brought more cold weather clothes to Paris. This isn’t necessarily due to a lack of proper planning though; I knew it was going to be a bit chilly but the weather forecast changed once I was there, and it ended up being a lot colder than I thought. It even rained! Luckily my Patagonia jacket was waterproof, but it definitely wasn’t a proper warm jacket for actual rain. If the forecast for your trip is similar (a bit chilly but could go either way once you’re there) I would mix and match what types of clothes you bring- bring layers! That’s what I should’ve done; I should’ve brought another jacket and a long sleeve instead of the extra t-shirt and one shoulder top. This situation was also difficult for me to pack for since it was going to be so hot everywhere we went in Italy (and we were going to be in Italy for a majority of the time), so most of the clothes I brought were suited for warm weather.
Side note- I also brought way too much underwear but frankly, I always do that on trips. I especially brought too much of it because we ended up doing laundry three times on the trip: once in Paris because no one in my family packed enough cold weather clothes, once in Sorrento because it was so humid there that we kept changing and soaking our clothes with sweat, and once in Florence because by that point we were towards the end of our trip and it just made sense. It was hard to reuse clothes without actually washing them just because of the extremely warm weather in all the Italian cities we visited because we would get so sweaty that it felt gross. If this is the case for your destination, I highly recommend making the time to do laundry at a local laundromat sometime in your trip.
I usually fit all my electronic stuff and some toiletries to freshen up within the day in my backpack, plus my Patagonia jacket and whatever snacks I had on hand at the time. I also stashed my fanny pack at the bottom of my backpack when I wasn’t using it just because there wasn’t really anywhere else to put it. Other than that, everything fit in my suitcase with the tiniest bit of room to spare. I did pretty well with that- physically, I didn’t overpack since everything always fit in my bags.
The main thing I did well was picking out some good basics to bring. I brought a lot of versatile pieces that I ended up wearing a lot, like the black tank top and jean shorts. Bringing a dress and two rompers also helped because they didn’t take up much space and they were easy outfits that I could repeat. I didn’t end up wearing most of the pieces that were weren’t versatile or on the plainer side, so I would definitely recommend bringing mostly basics.
For reference, I was using a normal size Jansport backpack, and my carry-on suitcase is by the brand Lucas (I got it as a gift but I think it was from Marshalls). I ended up having to check my suitcase on the flight to Paris because it was an inch too tall but for some reason on my flight back home with the same airline (Norwegian Air) I wasn’t required to check it. I checked it on our flight to Italy (I wasn’t required to but our tickets came with free checked bags so we just did it) and our easyJet connecting flight to London (they have a rule where you can only bring one bag on the plane and purses/backpacks count so I had to check the carry-on to bring my backpack on the plane) though. All of my toiletries were travel size except for a few like deodorant that I put in my dad’s bag that he checked each time, and I kept them in a toiletry case by Victoria’s Secret that I use for every trip.
I hope this run-down on what I packed helped you out and gave you some pointers for what to do and what not to do. I’ll be posting again soon with my trip reflection, it’s just taking me a while to think about everything I want to say!