Paris Packing List versus Reality

A few days ago, I shared my (annotated) packing list for Paris here.

Now I’d like to come clean about what I actually used. I’m talking about which items I actually hauled out of my huge, heavy suitcase and put on my body:
jeans (no sexy skirt)
hiking boots and heavy socks
black t-shirt, sweater and cardigan
black trench coat
burgundy wrap

Really! I used my pillow too and my girl-maintenance items and some under-things not listed on the original list (filed under the category of some things must remain private) but that’s it! Once again, I overpacked!

I am whispering the second part of my packing confession. Although I probably looked far more acceptable in my newly altered black trench coat, I missed the warmth of my fleece and my bright blue and black MEC shell. You see, our Paris was both cold (it went down to 5 degrees Celsius at night and was about ten degrees during the day) and rainy. When we were preparing for our trip, I decided to be very European in my packing… to place style above everything else. As our tour guide at Versailles said, “Comfort is beside the point.” I do wish that being fashionable was the same as being warm but it just isn’t. Please understand that I am not complaining as Paris, even cold and rainy, is still wonderful and perfectly perfect. (But I was, in fact, a little cold.)

What’s your secret or strategy for packing only what you need when you travel?


  1. I'll be curious to see if anyone else has tips, as I'm terrible at this and have used having kids as an excuse to get even worse (I rationalize that they need so much stuff I can't travel light anyway and might was well throw in that extra pair of shoes).I'm also definitely the type that will shiver in the interest of looking chic, especially in Paris!

  2. As hard as I try to alter it, I have always overpacked, especially when packing for my 3 kids when they were younger. Trying to make sure they were always dressed cute/perfect/no spills etc. was a bit of a task, but one I enjoyed. I did visit New York City for a week with ONE pair of fave boots. Due to the fact it was winter and I wore holes in the soles from so much walking around the city, the day before we left to come home, I was forced to buy a new pair of boots that caused me to have horrible blisters.I also only took my Tevas when I visited Spain for 16 days last year, never once complaining of tired feet like my girlfriends did. We also walked so much I lost 10 pounds on that trip (despite all the delicious food I consumed while there)! And my Tevas are still kicking.

  3. If I'm going to be somewhere where, in case of disaster, I can go to a laundrimat or rinse something out in the sink, I'm okay with streamlining the packing list. I frequently take a small portion of laundry soap with me.Also, as long as I'm not headed to the back of the beyond, I'd rather start out light, and just buy something if I find I've made a mistake and really can't do without this, that or whatever. Since I almost always travel to places where you can buy things, this is not a problem!!One last thing – no matter how much I love a piece of clothing, if it doesn't go with everything else that has a spot in my duffle bag, then it doesn't make the cut.There are so many photos of me wearing the same red & white striped T-shirt – photos from several trips that span several years and many destinations – it became known as the "touring T-shirt" and was finally retired when it started to fall apart. I'm still looking for the "touring T-shirt II".Less is easier…CJ

  4. I let go of trying to pack clothes that I never wore in the house on the trip.. I also try to pack clothes that can be layered and used with different outfit. I think I have gotten better but still a work in progress. My one major change is now I don't pack 4 pairs of shoes for a 3 night trip. 🙂 -Amy @ The Q Family

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