I have so much to share about our recent trip to Provence that I thought it would be easiest to breakdown into five parts for you :) In today's blog post, I'll be sharing what I packed and how I prepared to visit the French Countryside.
Several followers asked why we love Provence so much and why we would want to vacation there. I will be answering ALL those type of questions in the next blog post. Not only is Provence GORGEOUS, we love the French culture and access to a variety of different types of landscapes. Provence is much more laid back in comparison to other European destinations like Paris... definitely more our speed.
Upcoming blog posts will include:
- Part II - Why Provence
- Part III - Where We Stayed
- Part IV - How We Traveled
We knew we wanted to visit Provence in early May because the weather is pleasant and there are not as many tourists since the lavender is not yet in bloom.
For me, I would always rather pack light so I have extra room to bring home French antiques and keepsakes :) I knew we would also be able to do our laundry so that helped keep packing to a minimum. Below were a few of my packing essentials.
- Carry-on - My LV Keepall 55 worked out perfect. I will say, my bag was already gently used so I had no reservations traveling with it :) It is the largest size you can bring and I love that it has a strap. We put my camera in there and had no problems. Unlike a rolling carry-on, this bag could be put under our feet or in the bulkhead. I liked the flexibility with this bag, as some other travelers had to check their rolling carry-ons when there was a full flight and not enough bulkhead space. I got my gently used LV from Luxury Lady Little Rock.
- Extra suitcase - I always try to pack light and bring an empty suitcase or bag with me.
- Book or magazine - I like to take one new book and a few magazines. Books can be bulky and take up room, but I figure I can always leave it and the magazines behind if need be. This trip, I took "Grumpy Mom Takes a Vacation" and it was a really good and inspirational read.
- Headphones - This goes without saying. You will want headphones on the airplane.
- Scarf blanket - This does take up room, but I like that I can use as a blanket on the plane or wear on cooler evenings once we arrive in France.
- Europe power adapter - The most common outlets in Europe include Type C, E, F and G. I recommend bringing an international power adapter that will work in almost all European countries.
I do not recommend bringing a lot of electronics. This trip, I only took my cell phone and camera. Unless you have other electronics you will really need on your trip, it is just not worth the risk of them being lost or stolen. The same goes with jewelry; I would keep it to a minimum and not bring anything expensive.
TIP: Exchange US$ to euros weeks before you leave. You can easily do this with most banks and then you will not have to worry about ATM or foreign transaction fees. In addition, I always take a few different types of credit cards. Most of Provence is rural and while most businesses prefer euros, they will take cards. Be sure to contact your credit/debit card companies and have them add your travel dates to their system so they do not think your charges are fraudulent and shut your card down. You could also purchase a prepaid Visa card to use for foreign travel to avoid fees.
Exploring the French countryside:
- Sunglasses, sunhat, sunscreen, lip balm - The sunshine in the South of France is amazing, but you will want to protect yourself.
- Camera - This trip, I did invest in a nicer camera. I wanted to be able to take quality photos and I never had any issues with going through airport security. My camera fit inside my purse too and I felt like there was less risk having it stolen since I was not flashing it around and it was only visible when I was taking pictures.
- Walking shoes - This may be personal preference, but when traveling, I want to be comfortable. I always pack shoes that I can hike and walk in.
- Scarf, jacket or sweater - Although the days are warm in May, it can get cool at night.
- Comfortable outfits - Get in a capsule wardrobe mindset and try to pack outfits that you can mix and match. We loved wandering through poppy fields, going to markets, exploring hillside villages and tasting wine.
TIP: I would recommend calling your cell phone provider and adding a temporary international package. Ours allowed us to pay a small fee per day and have unlimited call, text and data. We were able to make international calls back home as well as local calls to France. This was a lifesaver so I could use my phone as a GPS.
Overall, pack light and be prepared to make lasting memories. Provence has inspired our love for all things French and I would jump at any opportunity to visit again soon :)
As always, thanks for following along with us on this journey. It has been so fun to share our trip with you. I hope we can inspire you to bring a bit of France to your life even if you do not have the opportunity to visit.