3 Tips for Packing for a Business Trip to France

If you’re a veteran business traveler then you’ve probably got packing down to a science by now, and if you’re new to the scene there are enough articles written on the subject to fill several books. What I aim to do is provide both the experienced and the uninitiated with tips to make their travel—your travel—more practical and enjoyable. Or at the very least: not miserable.

Image 30Most of my own packing faux pas tend to be (embarrassingly) the most obvious to avoid, but the excitement and anticipation that goes along with travel tend to cloud the judgment of those embarking on the voyage. That’s what I tell myself anyway. In order to avoid some of the same pitfalls that have befallen me, take a look at the list I have provided. Beside every tip I’ve included the story behind it. If you benefit from my experiences, or have had similar ones, then I’d love to hear about them.

1.)   Make sure you pack any chargers for entertainment devices in your carry-on bag.

Common sense dictates that one should be prepared to jump any hurdles that come one’s way. Unfortunately this one decided to wait till the last minute to pack for her trip to Paris, and threw her cellphone charger haphazardly into whichever bag was emptiest at that particular moment. Not surprisingly, my plane got delayed. Of course, fifteen minutes later my phone, and main source of entertainment, died. In attempt to help pass the next 4 hours, I ended up having to comb through 3 different souvenir shops before I found the book I was planning to read on my phone during the flight. Unfortunately, it was a romance with an incredibly embarrassing cover that I decided to try and hide after the first few people started snickering. After I got back to the states I decided to invest in an e-reader with a very long battery life.

If you plan on making business calls, working on your laptop while you wait for your plane to depart, or intend to take any other electronics to keep you busy, be sure to pack the charger—along with any adapters you might need—within easy reach. That goes double for anyone planning on reading a book with a mortifying cover.

 2.)   Make sure you check what weather awaits you at your destination.

Again, this is an obvious one, but in my travels I’ve fallen victim to packing for the wrong climate more than once. The most disastrous time this happened was on a trip to Mexico to meet my husband’s family. At the time I lived right on the border between the US and Mexico and thought traveling an 8 hour car ride wouldn’t offer much difference in temperature.

I was so wrong.

While it was the dead of winter in my hometown, our destination was a balmy 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.6 degrees Celsius).  I ended up having to borrow clothing because most of the tops I had packed were long sleeved. This was not the kind of first impression I wanted to make on my new family, and definitely not the kind of first impression you want to make with your new coworkers. Ideally you want to appear reliable and in control, and appropriate clothing makes it so much easier to feel like you’re the master of the universe instead of susceptible to its whims. It’s worth noting that you suitable business clothing in France tends to lean towards dark colors with stylish yet understated accents.

3.)   Travel in style.    

Speaking of first impressions, it’s important to travel in clothing that you wouldn’t find embarrassing under normal circumstances. I understand your plight, I do. It’s so much more comfortable to travel in comfortable clothing like athletic pants and printed tops, but sometimes comfortable clothing can create uncomfortable situations. Thankfully, I have always subscribed to the “travel in style” rule, but I know a friend who doesn’t. Or at least she didn’t, until she unexpectedly met up with an ex at the airport while wearing pajama pants for comfort purposes. Oh no!

I don’t expect that you would wear cartoon printed jammies to the airport when traveling for business, but even track pants or a too-casual jeans and t-shirt look can make the wrong impression if you happen to meet a colleague at the airport or your hotel. Sure, traveling in business attire may be a bit inhibiting, but look at it this way: it’s just one more outfit you don’t have to pack into your luggage.

While I sincerely hope I’ve helped you with at least one of these tips, the real reason I included my own stories was to serve as a contrast to a few of the other articles out there. No, you aren’t taking a vacation, but that doesn’t mean the whole trip has to be a stark and serious affair. If you take time packing and preparing you might even find the act of traveling to be an enjoyable endeavor. A good step towards avoiding any travel faux pas or foreign flubs is learning the language. If you already know a bit and aren’t sure what class to start in, try taking our Language Level Test to assess your current knowledge. Bon voyage!