France

What Not to Do When Packing for Paris

Anna Vutech is a student at the DePaul University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Anna is currently studying abroad with ISA in Paris, France.

I had planned to under pack for this trip. I had hoped to travel light and be worry free as I began this once in a lifetime adventure to Paris. Initially this was a simple enough goal. I compiled every black, white, and beige piece of clothing in my closet, the essential toiletries, a few converters, and I was set. I was calm, cool, and collected right up until the night before my scheduled departure.

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Photo by ISA student Haruka Yokotsuka

Once the surreal nature of your trip begins to fade you realize that you are having some of the last familiar and comfortable experiences that will be so rare in the next four months. Needless to say it’s easy to start panic packing. While some of the items are justifiable, say the last-minute hair brush and soap bar, some of these last-minute additions should be left at home if you want to avoid extreme fines at the airport. The penalty fees for overweight or multiple bags will depend on your airline, but there are sure to be some kind of fine for at least one of these infractions. In my case, it was $100 for either an extra bag or for an overweight one. I chose to bring one bag with the mental image of me herding several over-packed, over-sized suitcases through cobblestone streets with a less than accurate idea of where my new apartment is located. Knowing it would be hard to fit into the weight limit with only one checked bag, I mentally prepared for the fee that was sure to greet me bright and early the next day. What I didn’t realize was just how much my panic packing would set me back.

As I hauled my bag onto the scale, I was stunned by what sounded like a world record, an 88 lb. bag. What I missed in the fine print is that any bag over 70 lbs. will get you an extra $100 penalty. So not only am I responsible for a bag that weighs as much as a 10-year-old, I had to pay royally to get it on the plane. So do as I say, not as I do. Trust your initial instincts and resist the urge to last-minute panic pack and save yourself a lot of money and inevitable back pain in the future.

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