Vacation Packing Checklist for France

Make Sure You Have All Crucial Items Packed

Woman ready to go on vacations
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Consult this list before your trip to France so you don't leave home missing those needed items. I have made this list as comprehensive as possible and I'm sure you won't need all of the items. But it makes a useful checklist. But remember, if you take everything on this list, you will NOT be packing light.

Cross out items you will not need or add personal items, and then keep the list by your suitcase to check necessities off as you pack so you don't miss anything.


Also try to pack your carry-on bag with a few essentials. And if, heaven forbid, the airline loses your luggage, you might need a few items to tide you over until your luggage is restored to you. But remember that you cannot take many liquid items (they must all fit into that smallish plastic bag), and they must be 100ml or under.

Or you can shop in the airport for some of these items; you will be allowed to carry on your Duty free purchases in a separate bag.

Carry-on Bag

  • Emergency medical kit including toothbrush and toothpaste, make up remover, moisturising cream, eye cream
  • Any medicines you need
  • Spare underwear
  • Spare pair of jeans
  • Spare shirt
  • Spare socks
  • Spare nightwear
  • Laptop. You will have to double check the rules which may well forbid you taking your laptop i your carry-on bag. This is a hot topic in the UK and USA. 
  • Phone and laptop chargers

Packing essentials

  • Airline Tickets
  • Passport
  • Wallet
  • Picture ID
  • Cash (in euros)
  • Travelers checks if you are taking them, though keep the checks and the receipts separately
  • Copies of hotel, rental car, etc. confirmations
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Contact numbers to report credit cards or traveler's checks lost
  • French/English dictionary
  • Guidebooks
  • Maps (including point-to-point directions to lodging)
  • Currency converter
  • Plug adaptor
  • Telephone adaptor

Self-Care items to pack

  • Travel alarm clock
  • Umbrella
  • Reading material or books on your tablet
  • Binoculars (particularly useful in French cathedrals to look at the carving details and particularly the stained glass windows in places like Chartres)
  • Addresses and pens
  • Glasses, sunglasses and contacts
  • Hand lotion
  • Small first-aid kit
  • Travel pillow
  • Earplugs or "Earplanes"
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • Anti-bacterial wipes
  • Lint roller
  • Q-Tips

Medical items to pack

  • Prescription and OTC medications
  • Tampons
  • Birth control (but remember that many chemists have machines outside their shops to buy Durex)
  • Anti-bacterial hand gel or wipes
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun burn soother
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine
  • Band-Aids 
  • Bug repellant
  • Pain reliever
  • Sea or car sickness pills

Security items to pack

  • Luggage locks
  • Hidden money pack
  • Luggage name tags

Clothing care to pack

  • Travel-sized Woolite
  • Sewing kit
  • Clothes line
  • Sink stopper (some French sinks lack one)
  • Wrinkle-free spray
  • Compression clothing bags
  • Oversized ziplock bags with cardboard to pack clothes flat to avoid wrinkles

Clothes (women) packing list

  • Bra
  • Underpants
  • Skirt
  • Dress
  • Shorts
  • Slacks
  • Jeans or casual pants
  • Panty hose
  • Jacket or cardigan
  • Sweater
  • Shorts
  • Pajamas (save space by using casual tee-shirts for sleeping and daytime dressing)
  • Shirts (long-sleeved, short-sleeved, casual and dressy)
  • Hat (look for a crushable travel hat)
  • Scarves (a couple take up little space, but are great for making the same outfit look different)
  • Gloves, knit hat and coat (in winter)
  • Bathing suit and sarong (in summer)
  • Sneakers/walking shoes
  • Socks
  • Heels (if you're going somewhere really smart)
  • Workout clothes

Clothes (men) packing list

  • Undershirt/T-shirts
  • Briefs or boxer shorts
  • Shirts (long-sleeved, short-sleeved, casual and dressy)
  • Dress slacks
  • Jeans or casual pants
  • Tie
  • Jacket, blazer or cardigan
  • Suit (if needed)
  • Sweater
  • Shorts
  • Pajamas (save space by using casual tee-shirts for sleeping and daytime dressing)
  • Hat (look for a crushable travel hat)
  • Casual shoes
  • Walking shoes (particularly if you plan to hike in France)
  • Dress shoes (if you're somewhere smart)
  • Sandals
  • Gloves, knit hat and coat (in winter)
  • Swimwear
  • Workout clothes

Packing list for baby or toddler

  • Formula and bottles
  • Oatmeal and baby food jars
  • Food containers and spoons
  • Small bottle of dish soap
  • Small Woolite bottle
  • Onesies, pajamas, and dressier outfits
  • Socks
  • Wipes
  • Diaper bag
  • Diapers
  • Pacifiers
  • Stroller/car seat combo
  • Sling or backpack baby carrier
  • Toys and rattles
  • Lovey from home
  • Travel sound soother
  • Travel crib (if none will be available at accomodations)
  • Sunscreen
  • Also see: Packing for Babies and Toddlers

Packing for children

  • Travel games
  • Play outfits
  • Underwear and socks
  • Dressy outfit
  • Shoes
  • Books
  • Sunscreen
  • Travel journal and pen
  • Blanket
  • Stuffed animal

Toiletries to pack

  • Small bottles (for toiletries)
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Toiletries bag
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Tweezers
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Small brush or comb
  • Cosmetics
  • Soap
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Sunblock
  • Deodorant

For souvenirs and memories

  • Empty collapsible bag for souvenirs
  • Camera
  • Backup batteries
  • Extra film or memory card
  • Journal and pen
  • Addresses (you can ship some gifts duty-free)

Shopping in France

Of course, many of the items listed here can be bought in France and that's one of the joys of travelling abroad. But you may not have time, and certainly if you're a first-time visitor, you will take time to get used to supermarket shopping, opening hours of shops (sometimes most eccentric!)

Shopping in France is huge fun. Try to get to some of the discount malls and outlets; if you're going to Champagne, try to stop at Troyes for the McArthur Glen and Marque City malls. And if you're going to France from the UK, Calais is a great shopping city.

Before you go, check out the top travel tips for planning your Vacation, and the Saving Tips when you are in France. 

Edited by Mary Anne Evans

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