How I am Packing for 8 Months Abroad

There is no beating around the bush—packing for TAPIF is a daunting task. Trying to fit my life into a checked bag, a backpack, and a purse, all while staying under the bag weight limit, is not an easy task! Being the chronic over-packer that I am, I knew that I was going to struggle with reigning it in when deciding what I needed to pack versus wanted I want to pack. After scouring Pinterest for packing tips and reading many, many TAPIF blog posts about how and what to pack, I finally hunkered down, made a packing list, and got to it!

While this may be a less-than-thrilling blog post for current TAPIFers to read, I am hoping it will help out future TAPIFers who are worried about packing and/or don’t know where to start. I’m hoping to do a second blog post on this topic toward the end of my contract, going over any changes I would make in this process if I were to pack for France all over again.

**Any item on my list that is underlined is linked to the product website!

Luggage and Packing Essentials
I went back on forth on the types of bags to bring with me, in addition to the packing essentials I should buy, but this is what I decided on:

The weather in your region should have a huge influence on what and how you pack your clothing. For example, the weather in Clamecy is relatively cool and rainy most of the time. As a result, I’m not packing any shorts, sandals, or sundresses. On the other hand, that means I am packing things like my raincoat, sweaters, and leggings. I am one of those people who need options when it comes to clothes, so I packed in a way that reflects that. Also, I know the dress code is rather casual in French schools, but I prefer to dress up than dress down. Therefore, my clothing choices reflect that!

All my tops in a packing cube
Trying to get everything to fit!


  • (3) plain long sleeve tops
  • (4) long sleeve blouses
  • (1) flannel
  • (4) sleeveless blouses
  • (1) short sleeve blouse
  • (2) heavy sweaters
  • (1) light sweater
  • (3) layering tanks
  • (2) long sleeve t-shirts
  • (3) short sleeve t-shirts
  • (3) cardigans


  • (1) pair leggings
  • (2) pairs of running leggings
  • (2) pairs running capris
  • (2) pairs running/comfy shorts
  • (4) pairs of jeans (dark wash, light wash, black, and white)
  • (1) mid-length skirt
  • (5) dresses—probably a bit excessive, but I would live in dresses if I could!


  • (1) swimsuit
  • (1) pair of pajamas
  • (1) pair of tights
  • (1) belt
  • A plethora of socks/underwear/bras/sports bras


  • Riding boots
  • Booties
  • Running shoes
  • Toms
  • Canvas shoes
  • Flip flops
  • (2) pairs of flats


  • Raincoat
  • Fleece jacket
  • Sweatshirt


  • 4 scarves
  • Winter hat/scarf/mittens
  • Jewelry
  • Watch
  • Sunglasses
  • Small purse

I tried to minimize the number of toiletries packed as much as possible, as I know I can buy a good majority of it once I get there.

  • Travel shampoo/conditioner/bar soap/toothpaste/contact solution/face wash
  • Toothbrush
  • Comb
  • Makeup
  • Medication (OTC and prescription)
  • Contacts and case
  • Glasses and case
  • Deodorant
  • Lunette cup (females—these are literally amazing and SO worth the investment)
  • Washcloth

Pretty self-explanatory:

Non-Clothing/Non-Toiletry Items
A good majority of my luggage space is devoted to clothing, but I still have a handful on non-clothing, non-toiletry items.

I ❤ spicy food

Things I am Not Packing

  • Hair dryer
  • Curling Iron
  • Flat Iron
  • Towel–I may regret this later, but I can buy one once I get there
  • Winter coat
  • Rain boots–I so badly wish I had room for them!
  • Full-sized toiletries

(Almost) 100% packed!

And there we have it—my TAPIF packing list. Did I probably forget a few things? Yes, most definitely. Will the list change over the next few days? Most likely. Is my checked bag over 50lbs? Tune back in next week to find out!

If you read all the way to the end, thank you! I hope that this was helpful in some way, shape, or form (or at least a smidge interesting for my fellow assistants who are already in France)!

Until next time,


8 Thoughts

  1. I was working on my “Super Ultimate Master Packing List for France” yesterday as well! My city definitely has seasons (though it’s more moderate than my hometown), so I’m trying to figure out how much winter/summer clothing to pack… Looks like you have a great list! (And I totally sympathize with the “living in dresses” sentiment 😉 )


  2. Reminds me of this time (ish) last year when I was packing for a stint in France and couldn’t resist packing a bottle of Nando’s sauce…! Hope you have a smooth journey over to France and that your luggage is within the weight limits 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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