Packing to go on holiday can be a real struggle because it’s hard to know exactly what you will need when you’re abroad. Like most holidays in Europe, the plus side of travelling within France is that there are stores and companies all around that can supply smaller goods you may forget to pack like shampoo, a comb or socks. Use this packing list to help take the guesswork out of what you’ll need on your French holiday.


  • Shirts/blouses
    Depending on the season you plan to go, bring five long-sleeved or five short-sleeved shirts or blouses made of a cotton/polyester blend. Fabrics with patterns on them will disguise wrinkles and wear better than plain colours but make sure the pattern isn’t too loud—understated is a staple of Parisian style. If you will be sweating or getting wet frequently (think hiking in the calanques along the Mediterranean), opt for synthetic-blend fabrics because they wick moisture from your skin and often dry quickly overnight.
  • Pants/shorts.
    Bring two pairs of each but stay away from jeans—they take much longer to pack and take up significantly more room in your bag than lightweight cotton options. If you are planning to go to a more conservative area (think cathedrals and government buildings), be sure to pack at least one pair of pants. Shorts can also serve double duty as a swimsuit for men.
  • Sweater or lightweight jacket.
    Warm and dark options will win out—they are perfect for layering and dressing up an outfit.
  • Underwear and socks.
    Bring 5 sets of each. Can wash the sets as needed if your trip is longer than 5 days.
  • Sleepwear.
    Comfortable options like leggings, t-shirts, yoga pants and other lightweight athletic gear can be used as sleepwear and loungewear.
  • 2 kinds of shoes.
    A sturdy pair of walking shoes with good traction are ideal for most kinds of travel. Avoid brand-new trainers as they will mark you as tourist immediately and opt for low-key, dressier options if available. The other pair of shoes should be sandals—especially if you are travelling in summer. Flip-flops are great for people venturing to the beach or to the bathroom down the hall in a hostel.

Travel Documents, Money and Travel Info

  • Small day pack.
    An item that many forget to think about, a small day bag will let you carry the day-to-day essentials around with you instead of having to carry your large bag with you at all times. Choose a lightweight bag in a neutral colour like brown, black or tan.
  • Money belt for safety/security.
    This small zippered pouch is strapped around your waist. While not a great fashion statement, a money belt is a superb option for protecting your valuables by keeping them on your person at all times.
  • Money.
    An obvious choice, bring your personal preference of payment: credit cards, debit cards, cash from home and a small amount of money in the local currency for when you arrive.
  • Documents.
    This may seem like another no-brainer but you need to bring your passport, a hard-copy of your airline ticket, rail passes, reservations, car-rental information, driver’s license and other applicable cards and documents. If you are a student, bring your school ID, hostel card, etc. Photocopies of these documents are important to keep on hand as well. In the off-chance your documents are stolen, photocopies will be helpful in getting replacements for your return trip home. Consider storing scanned versions of your important documents on your smartphone or on a cloud-based service.
  • Travel information.
    Take whichever guidebooks and maps that are relevant to your holiday. If you don’t want to lug around a massive guidebook to every destination, try ripping out the chapters and information that you need and just bringing those pages with you. It will lighten your load and keep relevant information on-hand.

Toiletries and Personal Items

  • Toiletries kit.
    Hanging versions of this storage unit will save counter space wherever you travel while keeping your items organized and contained in your luggage.
  • Medicine and vitamins.
    Keep all medicine in their original containers along with copies of the prescription.
  • Glasses/contacts/sunglasses.
    Contact-lens solution is available throughout Europe, so during your holiday to France, you will be okay. If you have a specific brand you prefer, pack it. Bring a pair of glasses along in case of an emergency and if it will be sunny out, pack sunglasses—especially if they are prescription sunglasses.
  • Travel Alarm.
    If you aren’t bringing a mobile device with you, pack a small travel alarm clock with you. Wake-up calls aren’t always reliable and this way you’ll be able to manage your time personally.
  • Umbrella.
    Weather in France, particularly in Paris, can be unpredictable. A compact umbrella can prevent a rainy afternoon from ruining your plans.
  • Earplugs.
    If you are a light sleeper or need to sleep in a noisy environment, foam earplugs will be your lifesavers.

Photo of a packed suitcase


Now that your bags are packed and your plans are made, you are almost ready to take off on holiday to France. Before you go, don’t forget to purchase international travel insurance from Cover-More Australia to protect your perfectly packed luggage. Our team of travel insurance experts are standing by to answer any and all of your questions about policies while travelling abroad.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Brett Hellickson.