My Travel Essentials: France Edition

"Oh, the places you'll go." -Dr. Suess


Cheesin' on top of a cathedral in Madrid, Spain, this past summer.

Every year, I spend at least a week of my life traveling, either with my family or by myself. It is something I love to do and want to do more of! That being said, actually getting to your final destination is not always easy. This article is filled with my tips for traveling, including what I like to bring in my carry-on, as well as I how I entertain myself (think music, movies, and books). Happy traveling!

February Break 2019 Travel Plans

This winter, I will be packing my bags and heading to France for a 10 day church retreat along with three of my friends/fellow juniors at Rye High, Cailee Formon, Margaret Scully, and Grace Macdonald. We’ll first spend two and a half days in Paris for some exploring and sight-seeing. On Monday, we will take a bus to Taizé, France, where we’ll spend the remainder of the trip praying, studying the Bible, and experiencing life on a monastery. I’ve never been to France before, and the only times I’ve been abroad were on vacations with my family, so I’m pretty stoked!

Jumping for joy in Florence, Italy, on a trip with my family in March 2017.

When in France, Cailee, Margaret, Grace, and I plan to document our adventures using Cailee’s go-pro and a ~group journal~, so stay tuned for more updates when we get back!

What’s In My Travel Bag?

To show you my travel essentials, I dumped out the contents of my North Face backpack and dished on all my favorite items.

The Outfit

Normally I would want to be comfortable on the plane, but we’re required to wear nice clothes for the retreat. I’ll be wearing a warm, white sweater from Gap because it gets cold on the plane, and these pants (also from Gap) because we’re not allowed to wear leggings, jeans or sweats while traveling (sounds crazy, I know). For shoes, I’ll be wearing these waterproof ankle boots from Blondo—comfortable and great for walking! I’ll also have a cozy scarf and a light winter coat on hand in case I need more layers.


Phone, phone charger, and headphones: download a movie on your device before you leave so you can watch it on the plane! A good playlist is also a major key to traveling. I normally like to listen to happy and upbeat music for the first half of the plane/train/car ride and chill and sleepy music during the second half. Some of the artists featured on my travel playlist include Taylor Swift, The Lumineers, Vance Joy, Lorde (you get the gist).

A good book: right now I’m reading You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero, which is a self-helpy book about how to embrace positive vibes. I’m also bringing The Martian by Andy Weir and We Were The Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter.

Journal: I always get into journaling when I travel so I can look back and remember everything I did! Get yourself some nice pens and write down or draw pictures of what you do each day.

Passport, of course!

Fuel and Hydration

Water bottle: ask the flight attendant to refill your reusable water bottle for you because hydration is so important, especially on a plane! This will also save you money on plastic bottles. I love my Nalgene because it holds a ton of water.

Snacks that travel well: this could be apples, clementines, trail mix/nuts, or pretzel sticks. These will help you avoid buying overpriced junk food at the airport when you’re hangry and exhausted!

Your favorite bar: bars are packed with protein and nutrients to fuel you quickly and keep you full. My favorite are Nature Valley Bars.

Gum: to help your ears pop on the plane (a minty flavor is a must to keep your breath fresh)!

Sleep and Hygiene

The sleep essentials: I’m bringing a neck pillow, but I know some people also like eye masks, ear plugs, or over-the-counter sleeping pills (like ZzzQuil or Melatonin).

Deodorant or body spray/perfume: because no one wants to feel gross or sweaty on a plane.

Facial/makeup wipes: these are great for removing makeup or just cleaning off your face when you don’t have access to a sink or face wash.

Hand sanitizer: because germs are everywhere! Use liberally and frequently to avoid getting sick.

The Bag

The North Face Women’s Recon: I really love this backpack. I have it in black, but there are tons of other cute (and less boring) color options. I use it for school every day to carry all my books and laptop, and it’s big enough to hold all the items I’ve listed. Most importantly, it has tons of pockets to organize everything the way you want it. I find backpacks more comfortable than totes or purses because the two straps distribute the weight on both of yours shoulders instead of just one. Other bags may be cuter, but why not make things easier for yourself?

I’m no travel expert, but I hope you found this somewhat interesting and helpful (and not too obvious). Here’s to many more adventures in 2019!