Pack like Brellie!
She researches baggage restrictions, destination weather, and considers vacation activities.
Then, it's time for action! Follow Brellie's own 12-step packing ritual.
How many bags, what size, what weight? Carry-on or checked luggage?
It depends on the air carrier you choose, your ticket class, your destination, and the equipment the airline flies to your destination.
See our Health & Safety section for links to reliable information about security issues that may further affect baggage restrictions.
First stop: Air Carrier's Website
Air France provides a comprehensive Baggage User Guide.
Baggage guidelines are not universal. Check with your own air carrier!
Use a tape measure and luggage scale to assure that you adhere strictly to the limits of carry-on and checked baggage.
Airlines may impose baggage fees at the last minute for additional, overweight or oversize items.
ALERT! Your baggage limits may be determined by the most restrictive flight on your itinerary.
Why? Often the planes flying short distances (perhaps your connection) are smaller than those flying long-haul routes (cross-country or overseas).
Check YOUR airline's website for baggage limits that affect YOU!
Smaller is Better
Check websites for details about room sizes and potential luggage storage.
In Brellie's experience, spaces are smaller in France.
Budget hotels have tiny rooms and even moderate hotels may be surprisingly small.
Vacation villas may have much less space than a U.S. equivalent.
Do you AND your baggage fit in the car?
The drama unfolds almost every year as Brellie watches...
Two couples traveling together - or maybe a family of four - arrive and disembark the shuttle van that brought them and their luggage to the car rental office from the airport. The kind shuttle driver unloads their luggage for them as one goes to finalize paperwork. Jet-lagged but also happy and excited to see France for the first time, the vacationers start to pack the trunk of their car. They had reserved a 5-passenger sedan, made in France.
In go the first 2 suitcases and then some carry-on bags get stuffed in around them. Suddenly, the realization - the trunk is full!
A couple large suitcases and assorted carry-on items remain on the ground and 4 jet-lagged vacationers stare at them.
Will they fit on their laps?
How far could they drive like that?
Can they tie them on the roof somehow?
Brellie always hears them discuss the same few options.
Then the 4 vacationers start to argue and Brellie is on her way because her Momy already has her car packed and ready to go. Brellie has never seen how they resolve their dilemma.
She smiles about it and wonders if they will be able to enjoy their vacation or become 4 traveling angry people.
Meanwhile, just outside Brellie's car window, motorcycles and scooters dodge in and out amongst the glacial-paced rush-hour traffic on the Paris Beltway (Peripherique).
Those 4 travelers will encounter this traffic if they ever fit in their car.
Here is the France weather and forecast from AccuWeather.
You can select other countries and cities in the world.
Note the scale options: Celsius (°C) and Fahrenheit (°F), which are quite different.
For example 25°C is quite comfortable while 25°F is below freezing.
Daytime and nighttime temperatures can vary considerably.
Plan for both!
Make a list of your expectations everyday and special events. Here are some examples to get you started:
Walking tours? Comfortable shoes! Wear them at least a week before departure. Moisture-wicking socks.
Picnics? Flexible cutting board, zip-lock bags, plastic utensils, sanitizing wipes, plastic garbage bags, Swiss Army knife.
Restaurants? Appropriate attire, food translation guide.
Seaside? Swimwear, footwear, cover-up, towel, hat, sunglasses, sunblock, windbreaker.
Opera? Confirmed tickets, formal attire and shoes.
Sporting activities? Appropriate attire, equipment, certification cards (e.g., SCUBA C-card).
Driving tours? Driving gloves, sunglasses, maps, confirmed lodging reservations.
Brellie's 12-step ritual for packing!
Think - Less; Layered clothing; Compression bags.
Use the MyGoz2 Packing List as a guide.
Clear a large table so that you can line up everything you need all in one place.
Count your vacation days (including travel days) then add 2 extra days just in case.
Pack your 3-1-1 bag.
The MyGoz2 Packing List has suggested items for the 3-1-1 bag (e.g., toothbrush, toothpaste, deoderant).
What is 3-1-1? It is for air travel security.
3 means 3 ounces or less. Each container must hold 3 ounces or less.
-1- is for 1 quart (or 1 liter) bag.
For air travel security, this is the allowable size for the clear, plastic, zipper-seal carry-on bag holding liquid, paste and gel personal items.
-1 is the limit of 1 bag per person.
Pack a comprehensive carry-on toiletries bag.
Include items that are NOT liquids, gels, pastes or anything prohibited in carry-on baggage for security reasons.
Refer to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration Travel Information for up-to-date information on allowable and prohibited items.
Pack another checked luggage toiletries bag.
This will go inside your checked luggage.
Pack this toiletries bag WITH the liquids, gels, pastes and items that could not go in the carry-on toiletries bag.
Comply with the rules for allowable and prohibited items in checked luggage.
Find them by checking the U.S. Transportation Security Administration Travel Information for up-to-date information on allowable and prohibited items.
Pack your allowable carry-on baggage.
your 3-1-1 bag
the carry-on toiletries bag
one change of underwear
one pair of socks
pajamas, nightshirt or nightgown
one pair of slipper socks
one extra shirt or blouse
hat and sunglasses
Select a warm top layer.
Plan to wear it on the plane.
Wearing it frees space in your carry-on baggage.
It may be a sweater, a sweatshirt, a jacket, a windbreaker or some other warm top layer.
What you select depends upon expected weather at your destination.
If it is too warm to wear it when you depart, plan to tie it around your waist.
Pick ALL of your departure day clothes.
Hang them in a special place.
They will be conveniently ready for you when you dress on departure morning.
Line up your clothes to pack.
Count the days of your trip, including travel days.
Use this number as you select clothes to pack.
Include as appropriate:
Underwear and Socks
Shirts and Blouses
Use the weather report and expected vacation activities to determine the mix of long and short sleeves.
Hint: Washable silk and microfiber dress up and down, pack very small, and wash and dry quickly.
Pants and Dresses and Skirts
Use the weather report and expected vacation activities to determine the mix of long and short.
Beachwear and Active Sport Gear
Do you need a swim suit, cover-up, beach shoes, hiking apparel, workout gear?
Do you need opera clothes or formal wear for a special event?
Wear very comfortable walking shoes and you don't need to pack additional ones.
If you must, add a pair of sandals or slip-ons that dress up and down.
Reduce and Elimate.
Do you really need everything?
Take a good, long look at this collection of clothes and make sure that you really NEED all of them.
Remove the extras, keeping in mind that you have a just in case change in your carry-on bag.
Weigh the extras.
Add the extra items that you might need, for example, for a picnic.
Brellie notes that a lightweight, flat, flexible cutting board is also handy in a hotel room. It works as a cutting board, place mat and plate.
Literally, weigh the extras. Are they worth the extra pounds?
Will they add significant pleasure to your trip?
Will they prevent significant inconvenience during your vacation?
Roll the clothes. Yes, roll them!
They take less space and compress better.
If you are very careful rolling them and avoid creases while doing so, they should arrive virtually wrinkle-free.
If you have compression bags, use them.
Jeans are an exception. If you must take them, wear them; they are heavy and bulky to pack.
Pack the luggage.
Pack your checked baggage with the rolled clothes, toiletries bag for checked luggage, and any extras.
Adjust items as necessary to meet your allowable luggage limits.
Another Brellie hint - you don't need a luggage scale.
Use your own bathroom scale. Weigh yourself, note the amount. Weigh yourself holding your luggage. Note the amount. The difference is the weight of your luggage.