Last minute tips and tricks prior to departure

48h until Departure. Are you ready?

Paris is only a few days away and the realization of a semester or year away is starting to hit you. The SMELL of macaroons is almost possible but tasting one will not happen until you PACK!


PACK FOR ARRIVAL --2 Nights of Hostel Living

On arrival you will spend the first two nights at BVJ Opera Hostel in the heart of the city. Beautiful, great location, not practical for large suitcases! The rooms are at the top of a flight of stairs. You will not want to lug your things up and down. Securely store your suitcase on the ground floor and plan accordingly.


1. Pack a small carryon that you bring with you or that you can quickly pull out of your suitcase (ie-your toiletry bag if needed)

2. Add only a change of clothes for the two nights and perhaps a small towel.

3. Don't bring a lot of valuable jewelry or things.

4. Be sure to keep a copy of your passport/visa and have the equivalent of 200euros on hand


  • Leave a copy of your Passport and visa with your parents.
  • Keep several copies of your insurance info and who to contact if you need to.
  • Bring copies of any Prescriptions for medicine or glasses/contacts (leave copies with your family in obvious places)
  • Save your bank/credit/debit card hotline phone number (international) in case your card doesn't work or is stolen. (Know what to do in the first few hours of a theft...other than calling your parents due to the time zone difference.)
  • Provide your family with the phone numbers to the Paris office and the US office.
  • Extra charger and eventual adapter....

"WHAT ELSE?" You ask.

  1. Heavy winter coats and boots/shoes are not needed it rarely gets below 40F during the fall semester BUT.....
  2. Rain coat/trench coat or umbrella- some prefer light wool coats help to keep the moisture and damp humidity out as the city can be what (BUT DON"T BRING RAIN BOOTS, these are not needed and not worn.
  3. No need for sheets or towels
  4. Toiletries, beyond what you would need for the first few weeks, are bulky. You can find just about everything there or discover something new that is just as good or better and it will cut down on weight in your baggage.
  5. Paper/notebooks etc... DO NOT bring. The paper size used in France is not the same so any folder, binder, notebook etc will be of no use to you. These are rather inexpensive in France and you will need less of them now.
  6. Bring STAPLES- ie: your favorite jeans, layering sweaters and shirts. Most students wish to quickly "blend" into the student environement by picking up inexpensive items found in trendy boutiques around the city. Most realize their "favorite outfit-statement piece" is out of place in Paris so they are glad to pick up items to "complete" an outfit. (Also remember that washing machines are 1/3 of the size of a US machine and dryers are very rare therefore students tend to wear a pair of pants or a sweater more than once before washing them etc..)
  7. Be careful packing shoes- cobblestones, lots of rain, LOTS of walking, lots of stairs tends to wear shoes out much differently than on a college campus. -Know that city life can take a toll on most shoes so bring only ones that you think will stand up to the onslaught and be prepared to see the cobbler to resole or repair if need be.
  8. GIFT for your host. Bring something small and that you can "share" with them. Often a book with pictures of your home, your college town or a place you know a lot about and like and want to "share" your experience and your story with them. This is a great icebreaker and it allows you to create a connection with them.


  • Try and stick to One suitcase and a carry on that has enough for two nights and some travel toiletries for the hostel.
  • I promise you, if you are hesitant about an article of clothing that you think you CAN"T live with out. Set it aside in a place easy to find and then on arrival if you think you still CAN"T live with out see if your parents will ship it to you. This is when the real test begins- is it worth the shipping?
  • Also know that many students bring too much over and then are forced to pay steep baggage overage fees on their return that can reach 150-200$. Not something you want to do at the end of your stay.
  • Email your parents on arrival....then....disconnect. Bloom where you are planted. Live in the here and now, home will be there when you go back. Promise!