Packing for a week of sailing in the Côte d’Azur

With a backlog of travel over the last two years to write about and several upcoming trips in 2018, I’m going to attempt to revive my blog with new posts and pictures from our travels. I will go back and write about our amazing first sailing trip last summer in Greece, but first, I’m going to attempt to live blog about our second sailing trip coming up this week.

#sailingpartdeux is a bit of a last minute trip, sailing from Marseille to Nice along the Côte d’Azur in the south of France. The trip is a small group tour with Intrepid, which is the tour operator we used in Greece last year. We had an amazing experience with Intrepid last year, so I didn’t think twice about booking a similar trip with only 4 weeks’ notice and very little research. Josh and I will be joined by one other couple we know, and the rest of our boat mates will be strangers. I don’t know much about our itinerary stops, but last year our boat captain had great suggestions for every port, so I’ll be relying on him or her again this year to help us find fun things to do along the way.

There will be much more about the trip and itinerary in future posts, but for now, I’m going to focus on what I’m packing, based on my experience from our first sailing trip. We are traveling at the beginning of the summer season, so I expect the weather to be on the cooler side. The forecast for Marseille when we land on Saturday is sunny and 76° with a breeze of 10-15 mph. That seems to be what we should expect most of the week, with some chances for showers each day. With that in mind, and also knowing that the French tend to dress a little nicer than Americans, even at the beach, here is my wardrobe for the trip:

  • Four nice t-shirts – one solid navy, one white with black stripes, one silky pink with shoulder cutouts, and one navy with sailboat pattern
  • One long sleeve t-shirt – mint, especially nice for evenings on the boat
  • Two pairs of shorts – one cream linen blend and one white denim
  • Two pairs of pants – khaki chinos and white jeans
  • One nice sweatshirt – green with anchor pattern – again, great for evenings or just hanging out on the boat
  • One rain jacket – doubles as a wind breaker – wore this a lot last year while above deck when sailing due to the salt spray
  • Two dresses – one white floral wrap dress and one sleeveless navy with white polka dots
  • Lounge/sleep clothes – striped shorts with pockets, sleep shirt, yoga pants, and one athletic shirt
  • Under garments – underwear, bras, and socks – I bring as many as I need but you could also half and do laundry as needed
  • Two bathing suits – so I never have to put on a wet bathing suit!
  • One bathing suit coverup – used this a lot last year when sunning on the boat
  • Turkish towel – super light weight beach towel – not a must but a nice-to-have
  • Oversized floral scarf – multipurpose giant square of fabric that can be a scarf, belt, shawl, or sarong in a pinch – the single best thing I packed last year – also spruces up a plain T-shirt!
  • White sandals – comfortable and they go with everything
  • Sneakers – super light weight, can get by without them but a nice-to-have for exploring and hiking
  • Boat shoes – super comfortable, go with everything, won’t mark the boat (though our captain last year made us go barefoot on the boat), will wear these on the plane since they are the heaviest shoes
  • Water shoes – another nice-to-have, especially on rocky beaches – super lightweight
  • Not pictured – a medium weight white jacket with good pockets and a hood – this is the same jacket I took to Greece last year and it was a good weight for the weather. I’ll wear this on the plane to save weight and space in my bag. Also, I’ll wear regular jeans and an Auburn T-shirt on the plane. Since I’ll be in these clothes for close to two full days, I don’t plan on rewearing them unless I do laundry.

Clothes are only half the battle. Here’s a peek at what else I’m packing between my backpack and shoulder bag:

  • My Sony a7ii camera and 35mm f/1.8 lens – my favorite lightweight combo for travel
  • Nikon underwater digital camera
  • Extra batteries, memory cards, and chargers for the cameras
  • Adapters and charging cables – multi-usb euro plug and car plug in case the boat has those kinds of plugs
  • External battery – this new one does wireless charging with our iPhones and will charge them 3 times – good idea to keep a charged external battery in case you’re sailing without the generator on. We only ran it occasionally last year because it was noisy, which means the power plugs in our cabins were useless much of the time. We did have shore power each night, though!
  • iPad and Kindle – iPad is mostly for the plane since we are on Air Canada Rouge – I’ll download some Netflix entertainment before we go for the 7 hour leg. Kindle is mostly what I use on the boat since it’s readable in sunlight and who doesn’t like to read while sailing the Mediterranean?
  • Toiletries – we are doing carry-ons only, so travel sized shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, sunscreen, more sunscreen, tinted moisturizer with spf 30, face wash, hair spray, and eyedrops are in my TSA approved bag. My other toiletries are of course a toothbrush, deodorant, bandaids, alcohol pads, Neosporin, chapstick with spf, and a razor (plus my hairbrush, hair ties, powder, and blush that aren’t packed yet).
  • Moist wipes – face wipes and deodorant wipes for the plane and quick morning wash and go – you definitely won’t showering twice a day on the boat, so wipes are a must for me to feel clean between swimming, sunscreen, and heading out in the port
  • Medicines – tummy meds are handy when traveling since different food tends to cause upset stomach, ibuprofen (or any NSAID) for aches and pains from walking a lot or hiking, sudafed because I never go anywhere without it, and not pictured is my regular allergy medicine. Also not pictured is Dramamine, which I’ll take for the first day or two until I get my sea legs
  • Laundry bags – great for dirty laundry on the boat and repacking for the trip home
  • Laundry soap – in case I just have to wash something, these dissolvable strips can skip my liquids bag and weigh almost nothing
  • Selfie stick with Bluetooth remote – my first one ever, but I plan to use it!
  • Dry bag for my kindle – for when I need to read while floating in the sea
  • Earplugs – a necessity on planes and boats with thin walls and snoring boatmates
  • Reusable shopping bag – another nice-to-have, especially in countries that are more environmentally conscious and shun plastic bags. Great for picking up souvenirs or snacks in port
  • Rechargeable portable bluetooth speaker – the smallest, lightest one you can find. Great for beach days or hikes but be courteous to those around you!
  • Phone case with lanyard strap – my phone is waterproof but not drop-proof, so I have a lanyard strap to hold on to it in the water
  • Sleepmask – mostly for the plane but also helpful for a mid-day nap on the boat if your cabin hatch doesn’t have a cover
  • Passport and travel docs – I still need to print a copy of our itinerary and travel insurance info to pack with out passports
  • Not pictured – baseball cap and sun hat. I’ll pack the ball cap and wear the sun hat on the plane

Listed out it seems like a lot, but it all fit in my bags and they’re under weight! Speaking of bags, here are my bags for this trip:

I got the internal frame backpack from Amazon for about $55 and so far I’m impressed. I used it on a weekend trip to Memphis and it did great. I wish I was someone who could pack all in one bag, but I just really like having some things handy on the plane. My iPad, camera, sunglasses, and plane essentials go in the smaller Vera Bradley bag I picked up at TJ Maxx just for the size and pockets. It doesn’t look bad with my backpack either. Also, you can see my cute new sunglasses case sticking out of the pocket. I’m bringing two pairs, since I’ve broken too many sunglasses on vacation in the past! I also stuffed a small purse in my larger bag so I can throw my money, phone, and chapstick in it for dinner off the boat.

You may be wondering how I got everything in the bag. I didn’t just stuff everything in! I used packing cubes.

The lower left is shirts, teal is pants and shorts, the shoe bag is shoes, the smaller compression cube is underwear, socks, and bras, and the large packing cube is bathing suits, towel, sweatshirt, coverup, and rain jacket. The cubes are really nice to have on the boat since you don’t have room to unpack into a closet or dresser. They helped me stay organized the whole trip.

That’s all for packing! I’ll post an update after the trip on which things were useful and which weren’t and what I’d do differently. I have a few more posts planned for this trip, including a detailed review of the tour, sights, and food. But for now, let the countdown to France begin!

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