I’m always a fan of the ‘travel more’ New Year’s Resolution! It’s a resolution that only results in good things- trying new dishes, seeing incredible sights, or maybe trying a cooking class. Being based in Paris has given me the incredible opportunity to travel around and see Europe via plane and train . I’m proud to say that my pre-travel packing is down to a T.
Here’s a nifty list of my travel essentials!
Train & Plane:
Scarf – For travel, having a nice big scarf with you is great for extra warmth and comfort. I even throw it in as added cushioning in my tote bag if I’m carrying something fragile.
Socks – Maybe it’s because it’s crazy cold outside right now but a pair of thick socks = happy feet! Plus no yuckiness when going shoeless through airport security. I got the cutest ones from Gap recently! In the summer, I tend to wear my Converse with no see socks.
Macbook Air – I was recently on an AA flight back home for the holidays and hopped on a domestic leg to find out that there was A. wifi! and B. free entertainment when connected to said wifi!! Freakin’ awesome! I had just seen Rogue 1 so being able to watch Episode 4 of Star Wars was such a great surprise! Way better than the shock of hopping on the overnight plane back to Paris and realizing that each seat didn’t have their own TV and that I hadn’t downloaded a movie or two to my laptop before leaving home.
Face Mask – My older sister told me about this one and I think it is such a great idea! Your skin is always dehydrated after travel so she always pops a face mask in her bag to do when she arrives at her hotel (I’m swaying more towards vacation rentals nowadays). It’s a great de-stresser too after traveling.
Toiletries – I like to have my bag of toiletries on me instead of in my checked bag. It’s great whenever a contact disaster happens or a quick touch up is needed. I actually always have a quart sized plastic bag packed with my liquid toiletries in it that I can throw in a bag at a moment’s notice. A couple of my favorites right now are Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm, BioDerma Ultra Repair lotion, and my Odeme compact mirror. I always have a small pack of tissues on me too.
Scented Hand Lotion – My last plane trip I remember pulling out a small tube of hand lotion I had randomly picked up and loving as the scent wafted through the air for a couple seconds.
Face Spray – You ready for this… Eau de Beaute, Beauty Elixir from Caudalie, a French product I’ve fallen in love with. It was something I had never heard of in the States but what it is, is a spray to hydrate and help you have a glowing complexion. I love it because it’s refreshing on a hot day, in travel, and has such a great smell. A little spritz or two and Ahhh! You feel like a movie star doing it too.
Snacks, Bottle of Water & Something to Read – Ourson Guimauves (chocolate covered bear shaped marshmallows) and a copy of Fou de Patisserie magazine in France, or Sour Patch Kids and the latest book my family recommends in the States. The snacks are always haphazardly bought at the airport or train station as a pre-travel ritual.
Notes on Train Travel: There is something so simple about taking the train in Europe. It leaves right on the dot and there’s no check-in to worry about to get the best boarding group, or long security lines. It’s so fast and convenient too in Europe.
In France, the high-speed train TGV tickets open up about 3 months in advance. You can sign up on their website for an email alert for when your travel date tickets are available for sale. If you act fast, the prices are really inexpensive. As I take the train fairly often, I signed up for the Loyalty program and was sent a card in the mail that was linked to my account. Now all I have to do is bring my card with me and show it to the ticket checker when he comes by. So much easier when finding a printer is difficult. Mobile tickets are easy too- just show the code and you’re all good. Since my phone number is linked to my account, I also get a text reminder the day before my travel date with the train station, departure and arrival times, and my car and seat number. You have all of this in an App as well.
Something I’ve noticed in France and that you might not know is that even though there are assigned seats, you really don’t have to stay in them especially if the train is practically empty and the only person in the car that has decided to stick to their assigned seat happens to be sitting right next to you.
The ticket checker isn’t going to go hm well Molly you were supposed to be in seat 21 and you’re here in seat 29? Ya um I’m going to have to have you move. All they care about is that you are in the right class (1st or 2nd) and that you have a ticket. What I usually do is go to my assigned seat and then once the train gets going, if there is a row that’s empty that’s nearby then I’ll move. One big caveat though, if the train is full, those assigned seats are gold and don’t feel bad about asking someone to move if they’re in your seat.
Passport checks: I have never had my passport checked on a train trip where I was staying in the same country (ie. Paris to Lyon, Aix-en-Provence to Toulouse). You will probably have it checked when you cross country lines though.
What are your travel essentials?