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You probably read our style guide on what to pack for Paris and are all set and ready now to submerge into your Parisian life. But there are a few more items that absolutely need to be in your luggage.
I listed all Paris travel essentials below, but of course, not all will apply to you. Just go through the list of Paris travel items and make sure you’ve got everything you need for your trip.
I live in Paris for more than a decade and know the quirks of this town. However, I am also traveling quite a lot myself and I know from first-hand experience what works and is really useful… well, and what isn’t.
Technical items you should pack for Paris
In many cities, USB ports to charge your devices are easily available – in restaurants, café’s, or busses. Well… Paris is not one of them. Except for Starbucks of course, but I doubt you wanna hang out there instead of doing what you came for: visiting Paris! However, it can be really stressful to find a place to charge your phone, especially when you take a lot of photos and you see your charge decrease rapidly.
Personally, I am using this portable charger from Anker as my travel power bank. It’s small enough to fit in any pocket, it’s light and it has enough power to charge my IphoneX around 1.5 times.
If you need something more powerful, Anker has good selections of all kinds of portable chargers. My family took this one on a trip recently and we were very content with it! (just that we forgot it in a hotel in Bangkok, but that’s a different story)
Don’t forget them! Especially if you plan to do a Hop on Hop off tour or any other activity that includes an audio guide. Normally, headphones are included when booking an audio tour but we all know how it is: the headphones are crap, not fitting your ear and fall off all 20 seconds.. and the sound is bad anyway. You are way better off if you think about bringing your own. If you don’t have any, click here to order earbud on amazon.
If you are not from Europe, you will need an adapter to use power plugs. France is using Type C and E. However, to make simple, I suggest buying a universal power adapter that will work no matter where you travel. I talked about our long trip just before. It was actually a 9 months trip around the world and we had the adapter on the picture with us. I can strongly recommend it, not only because it’s just one item (many other adapters are coming in pieces and are sorted like a jigsaw) but it also has 4 USB ports! It made all other power plugs redundant and it required just the USB cables for our devices.
Documents you need for Paris
Passport and Visa
The passport is obvious, but still don’t forget it! If you are traveling to Paris from the Schengen countries, your ID card is enough. However, if you are from a country that is NOT part of the Schengen area, you need a passport, that is valid for at least 3 months after your departure date.
If you are a student, by no means forget your international student ID! It can grant you many benefits, for example, discounts at attractions and activities!
Back in the days, money was often the biggest worry of travelers – where to get it, how much to take and what’s the exchange rate? Luckily, that’s not really needed anymore. First of all, there are plenty of ATMs in Paris, you basically have one on every corner. Furthermore, you can pay with credit cards in almost every store. I recommend checking with your bank though how much/and if they charge for withdraws and credit card payments outside your country.
And now I start again with my own travel experience… sorry! During our time abroad, we really benefited from our bank account at the online bank N26. They have great offers for travelers. For example, we did not pay for any withdraws and credit card payments, it was included in our plan.
Good to know: The most common credit cards in France are Visa cards and you won’t have any issues paying with them. Mastercards are normally accepted as well. However, if you own an American Express, you might run into issues, as they are often not accepted in Europe. In this case, it’s best to have a backup credit card at hand, for example, a Mastercard from N26
Tickets for attractions
If you absolutely and imperatively want to visit a site or an activity in Paris, I strongly recommend purchasing your ticket in advance. I cannot insist on it enough: buy your tickets in advance! It sounds weird, but even the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre can be sold out. I had to experience that just a couple of weeks ago when I spontaneously wanted to visit the Eiffel Tower with my son – sold out for the next 10 days to come!
Pro Tip: most tour operators are accepting mobile vouchers so there is no need to print them out, however, not everyone does. Please double-check if a print out is required.
Potentially medicine (and copy of your prescription!)
If you need to take a medicine that is available only on prescription, you should bring (a copy) of your prescription with you. Just in case and to avoid trouble at the airport.
You should also know that some medications that are available over the counter in the US require a prescription in France.
When traveling abroad, it’s best to make sure you’re properly insured. Before buying any travel insurance, check with your credit card company if the card includes travel insurance and what the requirements and conditions are.
If you are not covered by your credit card company, check out World Nomads, it’s the first choice of many travelers.
To get a quote, just fill out the form below and you get it directly – and without any commitment – on click. Don’t worry, they won’t ask you to schedule a phone call or require you to give personal info about you, your aunt, and their dog.
Luggage – organizers and must-haves
I don’t want to start again with my travel experience 😀 but … however, during that long trip of ours, packing cubes were definitely THE discovery when it came to packing! I can’t imagine to ever pack my luggage again by just adding every item separately. What a mess!
As you could see above, you need quite a few documents when traveling to Paris and as things easily get messy in luggage, a document holder is a great item to keep things tidy. It’s also a big stress relief to simply know all things are in one place. No need to search franticly for your passport or getting an anxiety attack cause you can’t find your tickets.
Foldable backup bag – for the return flight
I am a big fan of traveling light. It’s easier to navigate with a light suitcase or backpack through Paris’ public transportation, you don’t need to waste time at the airport waiting for your luggage and you don’t need to pay for checked-in extra luggage. However, flexibility is a great thing and that’s why you should not come to Paris without a foldable extra bag in your luggage. You might be surprised how tempting it is to shop your way through Paris! And all the souvenirs, the chocolates …
Hanging toiletry bag
To be honest, I thought for years that a hanging toiletry bag is one of those travel gadgets that none really needs. Until I got one. It was a (travel-) life changer for me not having to unpack my toiletries, or search my stuff – especially when moving from place to place quick, like on a road trip or a round trip. Super handy as well if the bathroom is tiny or you are in accommodation with a shared bathroom – you simply come with your own bathroom cabinet.
If you travel at any other month than July or August, a warmer layer should definitely be in your luggage. Even though the average day temperature is nice and summerly, the mornings and night can be fresh. At the time of writing this post, it’s September and during day time
I am happy to wear a T-shirt. But when I have left the house this morning, it was barely 9°C (48°F). Keep this in mind when planning evening drinks at the Seine or late night walks.
My perfect travel item for cold mornings is my down jacket – it’s super lightweight, has a small packing size, and keeps you nice warm.
Raincoat or rainproof jacket
Ok, raincoats are not the sexiest item every, but an umbrella is so utterly unpractically in Paris, that you should really consider the raincoat. Paris is a very busy and crowded city and on a rainy day with an umbrella.. you’ll be just trying to avoid hitting other umbrellas with your umbrella and not to poke a few eyes out.
However, I am not suggesting you wear rain poncho or these plastic bags you get when visiting the Niagara Falls (or Disney). Just a simple foldable light rain jacket, that keeps you dry and that you can pack away as soon as it stopped pouring.
Zero waste and environment-friendly travel items
I know that traveling is never really environment friendly, especially not if it includes flights. However, I think it should be a common effort to leave the smallest possible footprint and just very simple: leave every place as you’ve found it. Aaaaand that’s why I suggest bringing the following zero waste items with you to Paris, and use them also a lot when you’re back home 🙂
Reusable water bottle
The tab water in Paris is potable. Means, there is absolutely no sensible reason for buying plastic bottled water, like ever! To make it even easier for everyone in Paris, all over town are free water fountains to fill up your reusable bottle. You find them everywhere; in parks, on the street, at little squares… there are more than 1000 of them!
Soft tubes for toiletries
As space is limited while traveling, bringing your full-size beauty products is often not really convenient. Buying travel sizes that are accepted in your cabin bag is, of course, an alternative, but first, you likely won’t find your usual product as a travel size and second, it’s an unnecessary use of plastic.
A good alternative is refillable soft tubes. Simply fill them at home with your favorite shampoo, shower gel, body lotion, or whatever you use and take it with you to Paris!
Bring Your Own Bag. France (and Europe) is en route of banning single-use plastics. Plastic bags in supermarkets are not free of charge anymore and bags given handed out in bakeries, butchers, etc. need to be either made from paper or biodegradable material. H&M, Zara, and such are using only paper bags. But trees are friends and it’s best if you bring your own reusable bag. In case you wonder what most Parisians are using in their daily life: a simple tote bag.
Very handy comes as well a packable backpack when visiting a city. Those foldable daypacks are water-resistant and fit in every handbag. I like the flexibility, no need to carry a big backpack the entire day, but have one ready if you need it!
Bamboo Cutlery Set
As mentioned early, Europe is about to ban single-use plastics. From 2020 a law will be in place, that forbids plastic dishes like plates and glasses, and from 2021 it applies also to plastic cutlery and straws. To avoid the single usage of cutlery – no matter if plastic or some biodegradable material – bring your own cutlery!
And a few other things that might be useful for your Paris trip
You know you forgot one when you found a great spot by the Seine or in a park, you are all relaxed, you get out your wine bottle…and BAM! No opener. Either you are lucky and there are other people around or you’re unlucky and you’ll try to open your bottle of wine with a key for the next 30 minutes.
Don’t worry too much about safety in Paris, it is really ok! You clearly don’t need luggage locks for your handbag when visiting Paris. But if you store your luggage at your hotel after checking out or before checking in, it might be a good idea. You never know who will have access to these rooms – this is not a Paris specific advice but rather a best practice when traveling.
Security belt and Pacsafe
I’d say .. you don’t need a security belt or money belt and neither a package. It can certainly not do any harm, but if you are not wearing those items at home, you don’t need them in Paris either. However, it all depends on your personal needs after all 🙂
I read about bringing small binoculars in a forum once and I think it’s a brilliant idea! Most buildings in Paris are 6 stories high and are decorated with beautifully detailed ornaments.. just that you can’t really see it, because.. well they are 6 stories above your head! Binoculars are super practical as well when visiting churches and palaces, you can inspect everything! Click here to see the most popular travel binoculars.
Are you missing something on this list? Let me know about it 🙂
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