A Carry-On Only Packing List For The South of France


Why the capsule wardrobe advice you're reading is wrong - Jessica Rose Williams

Travelling light with just a carry-on suitcase has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I love the feeling of freedom it brings with it and I’d never go back to lugging a huge case full of stuff I don’t need around with me again.

When I went to Copenhagen a few weeks ago I made a huge mistake and checked my carry-on case in after being offered a freebie by the airline. Your case not coming out onto the carousel is everyone’s worst nightmare right? Well, that was me on arrival in Copenhagen! I was told my case had been lost.  I was kicking myself for agreeing to let the airline check it in when it was so easy to keep with me. Luckily it had just ended up on the wrong carousel and I found it an hour later but still, lesson learnt. I can add another pro to travelling light – your luggage can’t get lost. I made a promise to myself there and then to never check my carry-on in again.

The south of France (Le sud de la France) has a reputation for glitz and glamour but there is a quieter side to it. My packing list may seem too casual for a lot of people but that’s my travel style and I’m sticking to it. You’ll never find any ball gowns in my carry-on!

I’d planned a very slow and steady 4 nights in Cannes. My plans included lots of laying around the pool at the hotel, drinking coffee in cafes, wandering around the Old Town, shopping some of that French style I’m obsessed with, if I fancied it and eating as many croissants as I could justify.  This packing list served me perfectly. I felt comfortable all week but still felt stylish. I wore everything but not to the point where I felt I’d worn them out.


Carry-on only packing list - South of France - Jessica Rose Williams

Black Cami | Black Tee | White Tee

Stripe Dress | Black Slip Dress | Denim Shorts (similar)

Black Shopper | Black Onepiece | Black Bikini

White Sandals | Black Espadrilles | Fedora Hat (similar)

I’ve listed what else I packed in my carry-on below;


  • Headphones
  • DSLR Camera and charger
  • Laptop and charger
  • Phone charger

Hair and Beauty 

  • Flannels (just because I like my own)
  • Mascara, liquid eye liner, brow gel, lip balm
  • Fragrance
  • Travel size toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, deodorant,
  • Hair brush and comb
  • Sun lotion (purchased at the airport)

Other Clothing

  • 4 x pants
  • 1 x strapless bra
  • Hoodie for the plane
  • A pair of yoga pants and a cami for relaxing at the hotel

Personal Essentials

  • A good book (I’m currently loving Essentialism)
  • Notebook and pen

As always, I was tempted to stuff those just in case items into my case. Things like a hairdryer, extra outfits and hair straighteners were questioned but I knew deep down I didn’t need them. I know that I prefer to forget about styling my hair when I’m away, because it’s one less thing to worry about.  I also know that having too many outfit choices stresses me out and there are never enough hangers for them in the hotel room anyway.  I never needed any of those just in case items while I was away and having proved that to myself will make resisting them next time even easier. I hope that my putting this theory to the test spurs you on to give packing light a go yourself.

What are your lazy holiday essentials? Would this list be enough stuff for you? Let me know in the comments below.

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A carry on only packing list for the south of France. I love to travel light with a carry on only. Find out my packing list from my capsule wardrobe for a week in Cannes | Packing tips | Travel light | Carry on only | Minimalist travel | Packing list

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17 comments on “A Carry-On Only Packing List For The South of France”

  1. I can honestly say I’ve never travelled exclusively for a vacation (because I’ve never had one lol). That being said, when I travel for work I do tend to overpack. I am definitely working on it though. It’s certainly so much easier when dealing with buses and planes to only have a carry-on.

      1. One thing I would add to your list is a pashmina or similar. I feel the cold so find this useful on a plane, in the evenings and it can protect from the sun.

  2. Your posts always make me feel so calm. I think I’d pack a couple more t shirts, mainly because of my ten month old daughter and her reflux. I always over pack on holiday and you’ve inspired me to pack only the essentials for our long weekend to Prague in October (first holiday as a family of three!). What do you usually wear to travel in?

    I was wondering which t shirt brands you recommend? I need items that can withstand alot of washing!


    1. I’ll usually wear my black skinny jeans, a t shirt and a hoodie or jacket if I’m taking one. So interesting you’ve asked about t shirt brands because I’ve been looking to replace the ones I’ve worn to death. I think I’m going to do a blog post on all the ones I’ve tried but good ones are Madewell, Splendid, And other stories and I hear good things about J Crew & GAP too. Also hear girls working for Chanel are fans of Petit Bateau. Let me know how you go! X

  3. Great post as always! I came back from Greece a few weeks ago where we holidayd for two weeks, I didn’t take a carry one but shared my case with my 16 year old ( and we know these teens like to pack a looot! BUT I introduced her to mini-sential packing and we did just fine. I have to admit I’m a sucker for Alexander Wang’s t shirt dresses which is all I felt I lived in but all I needed…and no mountains of holiday washing afterwards either. Definitely the way forward!

    1. Hey you! Sharing a case with a teenager has got to be the equivalent of a carry on. The lack of washing is a huuuuuge bonus. I love a T shirt dress! Invested in an AW white tee last year but washed it by accident and it ruined 🙈 How was Greece for all the introverts out there?

  4. Oh no! I bought a black, white and cream and have worn the hell out of them and they washed perfectly. That’s so annoying when you buy something you love and the stupid washing machine ruins it! Arrghh!
    Greece was amazing thanks, we went at the perfect time before kids broke up ( as my eldest had finished her GCSE’s by the end of June) so super peaceful and quiet and one trying to small talk me!! Thinking of going back but will book Casa Cook Hotel in Kos ( have a nosy!) as it looks like my idea of hotel heaven! But there again, there are so many beautiful other locations to see 🖤🖤

    1. Thanks! I love a recommendation. Big yes to being left alone free of small talk. There’s nothing more awkward. I went to Greece when I was really young but it’s been on my list of places to go for a while now. So glad you all enjoyed it.

  5. Fabulous as always. I am really going to try and follow your tips. I always take far too much on holiday and don’t wear it!!

  6. Such an inspiring post! I’m not able to pack this light – yet, but I am getting better. For my upcoming three weeks vacation to Italy and Greece I’ve managed to get my packing down to 24 items of shoes and clothing for a variety of activities, and I’m quite happy with that. With travel sized toiletries and as little makeup as possible, I should be able to fit it into my carry-on. I do need my hair straightener though, my hair is impossible to tame without it.

    1. So happy you enjoyed it! It’s something that takes time. I feel like I’ve only just cracked it. Everyone’s essentials are different and I love that! 24 items is really good going. Do you feel better for travelling lighter?

      1. Hi, I’m relieved to know that it might take some time to “crack the code” 🙂 It definitely feels better to travel ligth – with planes, trains, buses and boats to reach my destinations, I’d rather not be lugging a big, heavy suitcase around 🙂

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