The savvy traveller’s guide to… Packing for France: carry-on luggage
The trick is to get creative, mixing and matching your outfits – take only what you need!
Not convinced packing light is best? Here’s a few reasons for travelling with only carry-on luggage.
4 reasons carry-on is best
Imagine your flight’s delayed, or worse cancelled, and you’re stuck in an airport lounge while your luggage sits on the runway?
With only carry-on luggage you’ve got the flexibility of changing flights, and whoosh, you’re away.
For a more stylish entrance into the French capital we suggest choosing a lightweight, preferably fabric, bag that’s big enough to fit your attire but small enough to carry conveniently on the Metro.
Remember, there’s nothing glamorous about dragging your luggage across cobblestones and heaving it up six flights of stairs when you arrive.
Packing light is far more appealing than carting around something the size of a fridge on wheels. Large bags also announce to the world that you are a tourist and you run the risk of being identified as such by con artists and thieves.
Avoid the queue. Wouldn’t you rather spend time at the carousel at Jardin du Luxembourg than the one at the airport?
“Paging all passengers recently arrived on flight [insert #] from [insert country of origin]…” Avoid being told your bags are now holidaying in Hawaii.
How to choose the perfect carry-on luggage
It’s worth investing in a good travel bag. The few extra units of currency you’ll spend might save you in the long run.
With limited room to stash your purchases you’re far less likely to indulge in frivolous spending whilst on holiday.
Three golden rules
When choosing your bag, look for the following:
- Light weight
- Made from quality materials, and
- One that goes with your outfit (laugh all you want, but remember where you’re travelling)
Some travel guides will tell you to purchase a bright purple leopard print design to make it easy to spot on the baggage carrousel. For one, you are not going to need to wait for your luggage as it will be with you at all times, and two, do I need to say any more?
Wheels or no wheels?
If you’re going to get carry-on luggage with wheels make sure they are the heavy duty sort that can cope with the French terrain, cheep plastic wheels are a definite no-no as you’ll soon end up carrying your wheel-along or leaving a trail or scratch marks behind you.
Wheels can be handy when you’re walking through airports, but once you get to street level they are of limited use given the number of stairs, curbs and cobblestones you’ll have to navigate. Bags with built in wheels are also heavier than their non-rollable counterparts, and tend not to have as much space for your items. My preference, however is to have wheels no matter how light you can pack.
Before purchasing, also consider how many pockets are inbuilt and how you’ll get easy access to things like your passport, tickets, wallet etc.
One last thing, prior to purchasing, remember to check with your airline what sized bag you’re allowed to take on board and what weight restrictions apply.
What is your ‘must have’ feature on a travel bag? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.Image credits:
1. Parmiter Antiques Southsea Luggage, by Thor via Flickr.
2-4. Norma Thiessen for MyFrenchLife.org.