I’ve really been looking forward to writing this blog post. Why? Because I love it when the Distant Francophile community reach out with a specific question for me to play with. And I had a super question come up recently in the comments of My Top French Travel Tip post.
Denise is a long time friend of DF. Like Scotty and I, Denise and her hubby regularly make the trek from Australia to Europe. And they make the most of their time once they arrive, catching planes, trains and automobiles between countries.
Denise’s question centred around my preference for travelling light in France for weeks at a time with only carry-on sized luggage. And Denise was specifically keen to understand how I limit toiletries and cosmetics, which makes sense as they can be bulky and heavy. Bulky and heavy are the last two things you want to be packing if you are looking to travel light. So here are my top tips for travelling light in France with toiletries and cosmetics.
Travelling Light In France – Toiletries And Cosmetics Edition
Tip One. Travel With More Than One Toiletry Bag
Or at least choose a large one that is relatively flat. As I mentioned above, bulk is a problem when you’re travelling, especially if you want to travel as lightly as possible for as long as possible. I switched to using two flatter, leak-proof pouch style toiletry bags a few years back. This allows me to divide and conquer my personal items and gives me more flexibility when I’m packing. It’s a bit like playing Tetris – lots of smaller pieces fit together better than large, chunky items. It really is worth investing in clever luggage – the packing systems do allow you to fit a whole lot in.
Tip Two. Check Your Carry-On Sized Case
This is a trick that works well for me, and means that I can travel for weeks and navigate my way on and off the train network and up and down stairs. It really does deliver the best of both worlds – it’s probably my top tip for travelling light in France with toiletries and cosmetics.. As Denise mentioned in her comment, the airline restrictions on liquids mean that you can’t take many toiletries or cosmetics into the cabin or the plane. But these rules don’t apply for checked luggage. So you can have some items in your cabin bag and everything else stowed below.
Tip Three. Hunt Down Travel And Mid-Sized Versions Of Products You Love
Although I’ve tried it many times over the years, I’m not a fan of decanting products into smaller containers. If I’m ever going to have an explosion or spillage, it seems to occur with products I’ve decanted. Instead I prefer to buy the smaller version of my favourite products for travelling. Or I’ll go with small packages of items I’ve wanted to try for a while. Yes, the cost of these items is relatively higher when you buy this way, but I promise you won’t be at all worried about that as you stand at the bottom of yet another set of stairs, gazing up at wherever it is you need to get your case. I often find I can get in-between sized products if I buy a set or when there is a ‘gift with purchase’ offer available. And mini lipsticks are great when you’re travelling and they’re awesome when you’re at home, and only want to carry a clutch bag.
Tip Four. Pack Multi-Tasking Products
Tinted sunscreen. Combo mascara/eyebrow duos. Lip and cheek products that can do double duty. All of these items are in work and leisure travel toiletry kits. And I aim to travel with as many tubes and pencils as possible – longer, skinny items are more space efficient, and can be tucked away more easily.
Tip Five. Don’t Take All Of Your Skincare With You
Remember that a relaxing vacation is marvellous for your skin – definitely better than any lotion or potion you might choose. It’s a mantra that I tell myself regularly, especially when I’m packing. I take the bare essentials when I head to France. Cleanser, double duty serum, and sunscreen just about sees me out. I pack my most luscious favourites (in travel or smaller sizes if I can) and leave the rest at home. When I’m on the road, I find that I want to be out and about, not in my accommodation mucking about with my skincare. Same goes for makeup. I tend to stick to a pared back routine, so I can spend more time taking in the sights.
I’d love to know – what are your hints and tips for travelling light in France with toiletries and cosmetics? Feel free to share in the comments section below. And a great big thank you to Denise for inspiring this post xx
Until next time – au revoir.
Photo Credit: Carla Coulson