Buckle up folks, this is a long one.
What I brought with me:
- first aid kit / cold & flu & allergy medicine
- 8 month supply of: contacts, contact solution, deodorant, mascara, eyeliner, moisturizer, face wash, hair ties
- For future TAPIFers I suggest bringing enough of any products you are very particular about to last the entire time you will be in France. I’m not picky when it comes to hair products or soap/body wash but there are a couple of products that I refuse to stray from my brand of choice when it comes down to it. I can’t live without my Old Spice deodorant, CoverGirl Lashblast Mascara, St. Ives face wash, and Clean n’ Clear moisturizer.
- Despite the fact that contact solution will take up a decent amount of space in your bags I believe it’s worth packing. In France it can only be bought in optometry shops. While there are no shortage of these in Nice, you may have a hard time finding one in some areas. Furthermore the price of contact solution here is just asinine. Save yourself the trouble by bringing enough with you.
- 5 belts
- 7 headbands
- 5 scarves
- 2 hats
- 3 bathing suits
- 7 pairs of pants (3 black, 3 blue jeans, 1 olive green)
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 4 skirts
- 3 pairs of tights
- 2 pairs of sweatpants
- 3 pairs of yoga pants
- 7 pairs of gym shorts
- 7 gym shirts
- 2 pajama shirts
- 1 sweatshirt
- 13 dresses
- 2 blazers
- 9 sweaters and cardigans
- 20 shirts and tank tops
- more socks, bras, and underwear than I can even begin to count
- 4 pairs of boots (1 tall black, 1 mid height brown, 1 black ankle, 1 taupe ankle)
- 2 pairs of tennis shoes
- 3 pairs of sandals (1 black, 1 brown, 1 grey)
- laundry bag
- re-usable grocery bag
- Michigan flag #GoBlue
What’s in my carry-on:
As I mentioned, I had two carry-on bags; one suitcase and one large purse. The suitcase stayed locked in the overhead compartment while I kept the purse with me throughout the entirety of my flight.
- 2 weeks’ worth of clothing
- 1 pair of tall boots
- 2 pairs of sandals
- 1 pair of flip flops
- travel sized toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, perfume, lotion, body wash, face wash, toothpaste, contact solution)
- nail polish / nail file & clippers / tweezers / nail polish remover wipes*
- relia for teaching
- planner / notebooks / pens / stationary
- copies of important documents
- outlet adapter / surge protector
- 2 purses (1 grey, 1 black)
- extra phone chargers
*My sister bought me a box of OPI nail polish remover wipes and it is one of the best and most useful gifts I have received. The wipes work extremely well and smell amazing. I can use one wipe for both hands and both feet.
- laptop & charger
- outlet adapter
- phone & charger & portable battery
- USB with copies of important documents on it
- photo album (my amazing friends gave me a going away party and had everyone bring pictures to put in an album for me to bring with me !)
- snacks (almonds, granola bars)
- re-usable water bottle*
- face wipes
- mascara / eyeliner
- toothbrush / toothpaste
- eye mask
*I have an inexplicable obsession with mugs, cups, and water bottles. Enough cupboard space is not a thing that exists in my life. Choosing just one to bring with me was difficult to say the least. I brought my Tupperware Eco bottle. While I use the largest bottle, it comes in multiple sizes. The best part about this bottle is that it never spills or leaks in my bag.
Yes, I seriously fit all of this into one 28-inch suitcase, one 21-inch suitcase, and a large purse. Packing cubes and vacuum bags are pure magic. Knowing you have to pack 8 months’ worth of life into just a couple of suitcases is a pretty good motivator to become an expert packer as well. Check out my Pinterest account for more packing tips and advice: https://www.pinterest.com/alybove/moving-to-france/
What I haven’t used:
There actually isn’t much that I brought with me that I haven’t used. I probably did not need to bring three different bathing suits, but I have spent a decent amount of time at the beach since I got here! The South of France has its perks. I’m known for being a notorious over-packer so the fact that I’ve actually needed everything I brought with me is amazing.
I haven’t worn every item of clothing I brought with me yet, but envision myself wearing everything multiple times. I enjoy having options. I vividly recall the one time I tried packing light for a vacation to Florida. It was a nightmare.
I feel the need to note that while I’ve used my re-usable grocery bag, it was absolutely unnecessary for me to bring with me. I’ve already purchased about ten more. France is all about the re-usable bags, which actually makes perfect sense. Except when you’ve forgotten your bag for the hundredth time. Hence my growing collection.
What I wish I would have brought:
More comfy clothes. I brought two pairs of sweatpants, a sweatshirt and plenty of workout clothes (which is basically what I live my life in when I’m not at work) but I wish I had a few more sweatshirts. There’s nothing like coming home after a long day and putting on a pair of sweats.
More nail polish. I. Am. Obsessed. I was very proud of myself for managing to bring so few. I regret this decision on a weekly basis.
More gifts for the teachers I work with. My coworkers have been nothing short of amazing and I can’t thank them enough. I might have to start baking American treats for them – my go-to expression of gratitude.
What I bought when I got here:
Work / school supplies: scissors, folders, markers, paper clips, dry erase markers, and tape. I considered bringing some of these items with me since I already had more than enough at home, but could not justify the space in my suitcases knowing that I could easily buy these items in France.
I fully intend on buying another suitcase or duffel bag before I fly back to the States, and checking an extra bag during the return trip. I’m certain I’ll have enough souvenirs to fill an entire bag. At the same time I don’t envision everything I brought with me making the return trip. 8 months of heavy walking will surely wear out some of the shoes I brought with me, right?