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Top 11 Tourist Mistakes in Paris
(and how to avoid them)

Continued from previous page

Gare du Nord

ABOVE: Heavy suitcases may seem manageable at the railroad station or airport, but they're a nuisance when you're going to or from your hotel.

Mistake #5: Lugging overloaded bags

Vintage luggage"Travel light" is often presented as a moral choice: the traveler's equivalent of "Don't smoke" or "Scrape those sausages and eggs off your plate and eat a bowl of MŁesli."

Not being moralists, we prefer to think in terms of convenience. When you're rolling a lightweight suitcase of carry-on size, you'll find it much easier to squeeze onto a crowded train or bus from Charles de Gaulle or Orly Airport, and you'll be grateful for your choice of baggage when you need to climb stairs in the underground station or your hotel.

Our advice:

  • Antler Size ZeroTravel with one small upright suitcase of carry-on size (even if you check your bag), plus a lightweight tote or backpack. (The bag in the photo is a Size Zero carry-on from Antler, which weighs only 5.3 pounds or 2.4 kg.)

  • To lighten your load, bring clothes that weigh little and are easy to drip-dry. Blue jeans are heavy and bulky, and they can take days to dry in a hotel bathroom. In contast, lightweight travel trousers, shirts, skirts, and underwear take up little space, are easy to wash, and often will dry overnight.

  • If you insist on hauling a large suitcase, consider one of the new four-wheeled upright bags, which can be turned and rolled sideways for easier maneuvering in train aisles.

  • Live Luggage Hybrid AG suitcaseContrarians who want big suitcases that perform like SUVs should consider Live Luggage's over-the-top Hybrid AG bag with powered wheels. (One caveat: The owner may need to call a tow truck if the Hybrid's battery isn't fully charged.)

Your bonus for traveling light:

By limiting the number and size of your suitcases, you'll be less vulnerable to pickpockets, purse-snatchers, and luggage thieves. Here's why:

  • Less luggage means fewer items to keep track of, and reduced vulnerability to thieves.

  • With a lightweight bag, you'll be less likely to get distracted in the airport or on public transportation. (When you're trying to bulldoze a monster three-suiter into a crowded RER train, you probably won't be thinking about your wallet, purse, or backpack--which means you'll be the perfect target for a crook who preys on jet-lagged or frazzled tourists.)

Next page: Mistake #6: Sightseeing by the numbers

Top 11 Tourist Mistakes in Paris:
1. Here, today, gone tomorrow
2. Arriving in high season
3. Staying in the wrong arrondissement
4. Commuting from the suburbs
5. Lugging overloaded bags
6. Sightseeing by the numbers
7. Booking unnecessary tours
8. Driving in Paris
9. Overspending on local transport
10. Being easy prey for pickpockets and purse-snatchers
11. Saying "Adieu" instead of "Au revoir"

About the author:

Durant Imboden photo.Durant Imboden is a professional travel writer, book author, and editor who focuses on European cities and transportation.

After 4-1/2 years of covering European travel topics for About.com, Durant and Cheryl Imboden co-founded Europe for Visitors (including Paris for Visitors) in 2001. The site has earned "Best of the Web" honors from Forbes and The Washington Post.

For more information, see About our site, press clippings, and reader testimonials.

1st inset photo copyright © Gary Alvis.
2nd inset photo copyright © Antler.
3rd inset photo copyright © Live Luggage.