Sunday, December 27, 2009

Insanity is Contagious

La Petite Valise

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. Well I'm about to prove it. My Paris loving friend Mary and her college roommate Mary and I ( or as Mary G. says, "Two Marys and a Virgin!) are about to wing our way to Paris on ummm..........standby. Oh I know I said, " Mon dieu! I will NEVER leave this country on standby ever again." Oh, well.......I am. The worst part of being stranded in Paris last summer was 1. Being all alone 2. No luggage ( no clothes!) 3. It was the peak of the travel season so standby was an exercise in futility. May I just add that as harrowing as it seemed at the time, I learned a lot about how to navigate the RER/Metro system on my own and enjoyed Paris from a new perspective!

This trip we will be a faithful band of travelers three and probably the only people crazy enough to go to Paris in January. Oh, and we've all agreed to fly with just a carry-on bag. Yes, yes, you heard me right. I can hear the guffaws and knee slaps from my family and friends. I'm rather notorious for traveling heavy. Well I survived 4 days in the same black pants, black tee shirt and cute scarf last summer, and I can do this. I can do this. I can do this...but this airline friendly bag sure is *small. Stay tuned.

I'm open to any reasonable suggestions from you seasoned travelers as to how to get as much out of every square inch (cm) as is humanly possible. You guys, you are all disqualified. You and I both know why.

Listening to this makes the packing a little easier. Enjoy!

* 22"x 14"x 9" to be exact.


Anne said...

Traveling light is liberating! If you don't know where to start, check out Rick Steves' packing tips:

Shell Sherree said...

Virginia, I feel I can't offer tips because I've done such a small amount of travelling ~ but I'm ALL FOR the thought of travelling with just a carry-on. The joys of black and some gorgeous accessories. Easier in summer than winter, I suspect... but great quality thermals might do the trick??? Oh, my WV is huggal. Is that the some form of cute carry-one luggage?

Shell Sherree said...

Oh, and gorgeous perfume, of course. ;)

Louis la Vache said...

Roll, rather than fold, your clothes. You can pack more and the wrinkle less.

Thus sayeth «Louis la Vache».

PJ said...

Pack like an engineer, V. Roll, roll, roll, compress. Repeat as needed:

wv calises
I would tell you to take your valises but for carry-on you need calises.

Petrea Burchard said...

It might be easier in winter because no one will see (or smell) anything but your attractive coat and your stylish, practical boots.


You will bring a second bag home, perhaps? You're allowed to shop, aren't you? Jeez, what kind of trip is this?

Virginia said...

I'm counting on my black coat and multiple scarves to disguise the items that I rewear! Yes, a duffle that zips into itself is what will be in the bottom. If I have too much when I return, I open it up, stuff with with dirty clothes and check it through! :)

Gotcha, thanks,

Thanks for the link!

Wish you could fit inside la petite valise! :)

You are one travel savvy cow!

Harriet said...

You CAN do it, but it may take several attempts with the packing to eliminate, eliminate. Undies and such are pushed into corners and other "air pockets" between clothes. If you're taking shoes in there, stuff them with your hosiery/socks, etc. This method is not neat because all undies are not packed together, but I promise you'll be able to get more in this way.

Starman said...

You'd better bring your LongJohns. But then, you're used to the cold anyway, aren't you?
I thought you knew you could follow our mis-adventures here:

Starman said...

Oh, and it's no crazier to go to Paris in Janver than it is in Decembre.

Virginia said...

Like I said on your blog: "It's much more fun to freeze your ninnies off in Paris , than here." Dry those tears and get out there and take some photos for us. Who knows, if you get some good ones, they might find their way to this blog! Since this trip is Paris On The Cheap pour moi, i don't think I'll be dining at la tour Eiffel, but your dinner did sound grand.

Don't you just love the Champs Élysées, all decked out in the white lights?

Virginia said...

And Janvier or Decembre, we're both crazy. Like I said, it's contagious! HA

Laurent said...

Email me when you are here ! And go luck for the standby. ..

Dorothy said...

My husband is an ultra marathon cyclist, he travel with a duffel bag..and can be gone for a month...he uses plastic bags to pack his clothes in the suitcase and it somehow gives you more room.

Dorothy from grammology

Petrea Burchard said...

On second thought, forget Woolite. Take a mild shampoo that can double as gentle detergent. That way you only have one bottle.

Petrea Burchard said...

There are bound to be new security regulations now, too, so be sure to check.

Virginia said...

HA! I'll bet he does. Men are notorious for not feeling the need can I say many undergarments as we ladies do! :)

You are my go to woman for all things relating to travel and shoes. Sadly I don't think ANY shoes are going to feel good but I'll drink more wine and I won't notice! :)

What a novel idea. I'll do it.

I knew you girls ( and Louis) would help me out. I"m feeling very liberated and empowered to go forth and pack light! :)

Virginia said...

You're on. Would love to include you in a Paris blogger meeting! Look forward to seeing you at last!

Anne said...

You can buy Woolite (or its equivalent) in Paris. No need to pack it!

StyleSpy said...

Yes to rolling -- it's very helpful. Take lots of things with stretch to save ironing. Resist the urge to only take one pair of shoes. (Or maybe you won't have that insane urge -- I have a friend who recently went to Japan for over 2 weeks w/only 1 pair despite my asking the very reasonable question, "What if you step in a puddle?") Go grab some sample sizes of any toiletries you like, you can throw them away when they're empty. And find out where the closest Monoprix is to where you are staying -- they're the French Target and have everything but everything you need. Oh, and you want crazy? I went to Paris in February a few years ago. Dayum, it was cold. I have no advice about standby -- I've never had nerve enough to do that.

Virginia said...

I usually travel with multiple pairs of shoes, hence the travel heavy reputation. Unfortunately, my foot issues has left me with limited choices, which is probably for the best, space wise anyway. I still have hope that I can take an extra pair. I ended up with a zillion travel sizes from the trips last summer. I'm also thinking those vacuum bags that you roll and squeeze the air out will be good for the few sweaters. And thank the lord for Monoprix. When I was without luggage twice, I raided that place. J'adore Monoprix!!

Anonymous said...

Virginia, my daughter and I travel to Paris at least every December (first week) and I have been in Feb as well. There are definitely fewer tourists!

We never take more than a carry-on with the flat zippered duffel for the return as you mentioned. If you have your wool coat and scarves you can manage with thermal (thin/silk)unders (one top), turtlenecks and V-neck wool sweaters (2), two pairs pants/trousers. On our last trip a few weeks ago, I only had dark brown and black plus colorful scarves (3). With 2 pairs of shoes and usual underwear you are all set. Do not take a bulky sweater as you will be warm enough with your layers. I would also pack un petit parapluie as you will likely have a bit of rain in January (as we did in Dec). My daughter wears a crushable wool hat but I used my scarf or the hood on my coat.

Best to you on your trip -- wish I was going again!

(from lower A)

Roseann said...

V- Truthfully for me the hardest part of traveling carry-on is the need to rush to the haircare/toothpaste/girl's items store and by all of those liquids that you can't take onboard. It's taken me a long time to find the right combo of hair goo to make me look so good and to have to make snap decisions gives me a tummy ache......

Alexa said...

You've gotten some very good advice here from some (obviously) seasoned packers! I'll add that those plastic bags that let you squeeze all the air out really do save space (if not weight). I take 3 oz. of a combo shampoo/body wash and dress in layers (yes, black w/scarves). My valise de choix is 19" X 13" X 9" and I've never had a problem making everything fit. These days the biggest problem is finding room for all those chargers! Am off to Virginia tomorrow, Virginia. Looking forward to the R&R but must admit I kinda wish I was off to Paris with you and the Marys. Good luck w/standby and have a wonderful time!

Virginia said...

Eugenie, Francine,and Alexa,
Oh my, your names are so so français! :)
Merci for your wonderful thoughts for me to use as I pack. I wish I could take ALL of my Paris loving amis into my petite valise! Wouldn't we all have so much fun!! I wish I could organize a photography trip to Paris for all of my blog friends. Something to think and dream about, oui???

Maya said...

You can do it lady! Pack only one of everything (include very light long underwear to wear under everything) and wear the heck out of them. You can do laundry when you get home... ;-)

James said...

I've only been to Paris in Jan and Feb and I've never checked a bag. (carry on all the way) So I can relate. :) Then again I've always had an apartment with a washer and dryer so no need to pack heavy.

I better leave this blog now before I start planning my next trip.