Don’t travel to Paris without these essentials in 2021!
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Last updated on 28 June 2021 by Lena
You probably read our style guide on what to pack for Paris and are 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.
Technical items you should pack for Paris
From all items you need, let’s start with the technical things you absolutely need when traveling to Paris.
In many cities, USB ports to charge your devices are easily available – in restaurants, café’s, even in busses. Well… Paris is not one of them. Hence, it can be really stressful to see your phone battery slowly dying without a plug to recharge it. Especially if you use your phone as a camera (who doesn’t?), you will see your battery decrease rapidly. The best is, to have a portable battery in your bag.
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 has enough power to charge my IphoneX up to 3 times. A real lifesaver!
Since tourists can travel to Paris again, I often see on message boards and on Facebook, the question “are audio guides providing headphones or do I need to bring my own”? It certainly depends on the provider, but you will surely need some. Especially if you plan to do a Hop on Hop off tour or any other activity that includes an audio guide. Even though headphones are often included when booking an audio tour, we all know how it is: the headphones are not working correctly, not fitting your ear, and fall off all 20 seconds. And the sound is bad anyway. You are way better off with bringing your own. If you don’t have any, click here to order earbuds on Amazon.
Covid-19 Update: I did not hear back yet from tour operators, but I would not be surprised if some stopped providing guests with headphones, especially those that are not using single-use headphones.
If you are not a resident of Europe, you will need an adapter to use power plugs. France is using Type C and E. However, to make it 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.
Since June 2021 travelers are allowed to enter France again. However, it comes with a number of restrictions and requirements. I am trying hard to keep my website up to date, but it’s surely not the right place to find information on government decisions. I advise checking this page for the latest information when it comes to travel to France during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Concerning Covid-19, keep in mind that masks are required everywhere indoors, and also where many people come together, for example in queues, public transportation, etc.
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, there are plenty of ATMs in Paris, you basically have one on every corner. It’s in most cases cheaper to withdraw than to exchange money at the exchange office.
Furthermore, you can pay with credit cards in almost every store. Contactless payments are accepted in most stores for payments up to €50. 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 card in France is VISA 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
If you 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 not that long ago when I spontaneously wanted to visit the Eiffel Tower with my son – sold out for the next 10 days to come!
Covid 19 update: To regulate the number of visitors, ticket booths at most sights and attractions are closed. It is hence absolutely necessary to buy your ticket in advance!
The most popular and booked out in advance sights are the following – click on them to see if there are still tickets available on your travel dates.
Buy your tickets here:
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.
If you are unsure yet what to do in Paris or fear you could miss some great activities, check out the tours on Get Your Guide – simply click on their Paris page below and see everything they offer!
Medication and Prescriptions
If you are traveling to France with prescription-only medication, you should bring (a copy) of your prescription with you. Just in case and to avoid trouble at the airport.
Keep in mind that the regulations are way stricter in France (and Europe, generally) when it comes to over-the-counter medication. Especially compared to the US! Many medications are available only on prescription and things you can buy freely in the US are often not freely available in France.
However, talking about pharmacies! If you are keen to shop amazing French beauty products for an affordable price, you definitely should visit a Pharmacy in Paris! To get an idea of what is awaiting you, check out our article about the most famous French pharmacy beauty products!
I am always amazed about the painkillers that are sold in drugstores in the US – in France it stops at 1g Paracetamol, just to give you an example. Hence, if you need something in particular, with or without a prescription, you better bring it with you.
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, I recommend 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 remember the days when traveling meant dragging bulky and unhandy items around. There was nothing practical about it and the invention of a rain jacket, that you could squeeze in a bag and strap around your waist was revolutionary.
But we’re in 2021 now and there are plenty of convenient to ease your traveler’s life. Here are a few.
Packing cubes are nothing else than little square bags that are fitting perfectly in your luggage and are helping him to keep your bag in order. Honestly, they are a true game-changer! Click here to see the different sizes available!
The weather can be tricky in Paris, especially when traveling to Paris during shoulder seasons. It might be warm and sunny, or it might be gray, stormy, and wet. To be on the safe side, I always travel with a light down jacket. They are light enough to fit in every luggage and warm enough to carry me through surprise weather changes. There are plenty of down jackets available on Amazon – all colors, with or without a hood. Click here for to know more and to order one for yourself
Rain Coat or Umbrella
One item that shouldn’t be missing on your packing list for Paris is a raincoat or an umbrella. I recommend a raincoat for Paris though. Streets can be quite packed and umbrellas are somewhat impractically in crowds – unless you are keen on poking some eyes out.
Even though Paris has the reputation to be very chic, most people wear sneakers and flats in their daily life. But you know what? I wrote a whole article about the best travel shoes for Paris but to make it short: Pack comfortable shoes for Paris!