Packing for France – What to Buy and Not to Buy

Packing is fun. More than that shopping for the trip was more fun.

There are several blog posts for students who are planning to study in America. But, for France, the process is same, but challenge is the checked-in baggage allowance from U.S. flights.

Some airlines would allow three check-in baggage of 23 kgs (50 lbs)  for students coming to U.S.A from India. But, for France, you are allowed 1 suitcase of 50 lbs.

My travel plans looked like this

  • USA to India ( 2 suitcase of 23 kgs each )
  • India to France ( 1 suitcase of 3o kgs each )
  • France to India ( 1 suitcase of 30 kgs each )
  • India to USA ( 2 suitcase of 23 kgs each )

So, I had to optimize what I should pack and things I can buy in Aix.

If you are flying out from the U.S., you are allowed to carry one 50 lbs checked-in bag, one 10 lbs carry on, and a laptop bag or purse, irrespective of the airlines.

Not to mention that fact that you will need more space on your way back for gifts and souvenirs that you purchased over 4 months in Europe. As we returned home 3 days before christmas, many of my friends donated the clothes (after using them for 4 months) and used that space to buy christmas gifts for their family.

Here’s my suggestion on what to buy and pack.

Medicines

It is highly recommended to take prescription medicines. You can also bring painkillers, fever reducers, etc. You can visit a pharmacy and they are located everywhere but it’s always safe to carry the medicines that you have been used to taking.

Dress and Clothes

Packing the right dress for the season was quite tricky.

When we arrived in AIX in last August, it was summer and hot.

The classes do not have air conditioning.

The bus had air conditioning, but the they were powered down.

It was pretty hot till the end of September. I really didn’t feel the transition from Fall to Winter, but suddenly it cooled down. It’s cold from October  to December.

I would recommend to come prepared with summer and winter clothes.

We took our bus to school at 7.30AM. The temperature was mostly in the 50’s and reached in high 60’s in the afternoon.

A good winter jacket, scarf and boots would help.

You can also take a couple of sportswear items as they might come handy for the dance lessons and adventurous activities (rock climbing) that are the part of the course. Yes, I said Rock Climbing.

Sandals, Sports Shoes and Boots

  • Sandals for summer
  • Boots for winter

There are many activities in IAE that might require us to wear sport shoes or just socks.

circus class

Toiletries

If you are allergic or prefer to stay with a particular brand, I would suggest to bring your own toiletries for 4 months.

I was not able to see most of the brand that are available in the U.S. I saw the brand Dove, but it was not the same one we would find in the U.S.

Note books

Alert! Please bring a couple of note books. The note books that you get here in France do not make sense at all. We had difficulty finding regular note books.

More about note books here  – 6 Crazy and Real Facts About France. #3 is All About French Kiss.

Formal Wear

There are few days in IAE where you have to wear formals like

  • Career days
  • Project presentations
  • Onsite meeting with your sponsors.

Ethnic Wear

We had an international day and I took an traditional salwar for that one evening. It was fun.

Laptop

Everyone should have one already. If not, buy one before you come.

To give a price comparison:

  • Cost of 13″ Macbook Air in USA – $999.00
  • Cost of 13″ Macbook Air in France – €999.00

If you’re planning to buy a new one, then buy a light weight one as you might have to carry it to school everyday.

I got a MacBook Air and loved it. It fits perfectly in my tote, was lightweight and easy to carry to school daily.

Plus, keyboard layout in laptops is different from U.S. Version.

Backpack

I loved my Swiss Gear back pack. It came handy for short trips during the weekends and day trips.

We had bigger Cabin Zero backpack and used smaller backpack during the day.

Let me know if you have any questions about any other items you like to take with you.

MGIM Blog Series

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