We went to a party a couple of nights ago and as it always does, the conversation turned firstly to travel and inevitably to packing.
Our host on the evening is planning a three month jaunt to Europe with her hubby. It is their first big trip and it will be their introductory visit to France.
Now three months is a long time to travel, so I can see why she is thinking that she is going to have to pack a lot of stuff. But when she mentioned that she wasn’t too concerned because her luggage limit is 30 kilograms, I actually started to get a little panicky.
If you are a regular reader of Distant Francophile, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of packing light. Every trip we take I play a little game with myself, trying to see just how low I can get the number on the check-in scale. My current best is a little over 11 kilos for a three week trip.
But my desire to pack light doesn’t come from an attempt to amuse myself. There are some very practical, worthwhile reasons for limiting luggage weight, and while you’ll most likely have to track down accommodation with some sort of washing facilities, I promise it will be worth it.
My top five reasons for packing light when you visit France:
- There are stairs everywhere – and you can’t always count on lifts and escalators. Please take this point seriously if you are planning to travel by train or are taking some sort of bus tour. Even if you are being dropped right at the front door of your accommodation, you could still encounter stairs, and many places, hotels included, don’t have lifts.
- You’ll reduce the risk of injury. Unless you lug stuff around for a living, you are probably not used to carrying heavy things day in, day out. Even just moving heavy luggage around your room has the potential to harm your back, shoulders or elbows.
- And while I’m thinking of rooms, French hotel lodgings can be notoriously small. There is nothing worse than having your luggage dominate your sleeping space.
- The less you have with you, the less chance there is to lose your belongings. It is as simple as that.
- Starting out light will allow some room for any French goodies that you might like to take home. I try to back end my shopping as much as possible so as not to be carrying too much weight too early in the trip.
Stay tuned next week when I will share some tips on how you can actually plan your packing so you can travel as light as possible.
And until next time – au revoir.