When you travel to Europe, especially in the winter, and you have a herniated disk like I do, you want to be a liiiiiittle bit more careful about how much you stuff in your suitcase.
First off, if you’re planning to take one of those cheap European airlines, you have to consider their ridiculous baggage allowance fees. (Last season I paid €180 extra to travel from Milan to Paris. It’s €10 per extra kilo. Where are those 18 kilos coming from, you ask? Don’t.)
If you’re planning to take a train – I’m going from Paris to London after PFW – you must remember that people are not as courteous and considerate on the mainland. I get stuck having to hike up my suitcase on the train car myself with four men watching from the platform, not one lifting a finger. I can just hear them thinking in their French accents: “Serves her right!” Alternatively you could ask for a porter. He’ll walk with you until you’re on the train in one piece.
Then. You must also think of where you will be staying. I always rent an apartment with a friend. Elevators are a thing for the very far future in France. They are pretty much non-existing in apartment buildings, especially in Le Marais. So if you’ve booked yourself a nice little one-bedroom on the 5th floor, bring a back brace and book a chiropractor. Or, pack lighter…?
If you’re taking an overnight flight, try to fly business class. There’s nothing worse than having a bad back and trying to sleep sitting up. It’s basically impossible. I always fly the same airline (Continental, now United) so I’ve racked up enough miles and loyalty bonuses to become a platinum member. And business class is not expensive if you upgrade. You use 20,000 miles each way and pay an extra $550. It’s SO worth it! I’m flying business on Brussels Airlines this time – figure I try out the homeland courtesies. Stay tuned for a report on their flat beds and on board staff. (Have they been warned? Or am I undercover?)
As far as packing the suitcase itself, fold, puzzle and stack (FPS). And think in outfits. How much do you need to spend ten days attending shows, doing meetings, going to dinner and not freeze to death? It’s a simple equation and you should only need one suitcase, a carry-on – get them on four wheels! – and a handbag. If I can do it…