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Getting gifts back to US from France

I'll be picking up some gifts, likely clothing, for my daughter and granddaughters, while I'm in Paris this spring. I'm traveling light myself, so it would mean an extra bag on the return flight. Is it better to just bring the extra bag back with me rather than mailing the gifts? I'm thinking of time, cost, and reliability. Thanks.

Posted by
164 posts

Hi John, what a thoughtful dad/grandfather you are! I have one of those thin duffels that folds up into a little ball. I always pack this when traveling, and often use it to carry home gifts. I personally don't mind checking a bag on the way home - usually on international flights, I've been able to check one bag for free. That way I can present gifts immediately on my return rather than having to wait. But if you won't see your daughter and granddaughters right away, and don't want the hassle of checking a bag, mailing is a viable option. Whichever way you decide, have a great trip!

Posted by
8174 posts

Just put the gifts in an extra bag and check it for your flight back. Postage from Europe to the States is so expensive!

Posted by
2081 posts


you should crunch some number on this. If yore going to travel after France, that could add charges to it.

if i remember correctly, on international flights for one checked baggage there usually isnt any checked baggage charge, but verify with your carrier(s) on your return trip.

if you look at you can find rates there. i shipped stuff home from every country i go to. since im traveling alot its cheaper to ship from each country than to bring with me and have charges add up for each flight.

as far as your time, cost and hauling around with you while youre there, thats up to you. thats why i would find out HOW MUCH it cost so you can weigh it against you.

as mentioned it can be expensive.

happy trails.

Posted by
8871 posts

I always take one of the Rick Steves Hideaway tote bags (available for sale on this website in the Travel Store). It's lightweight, folds up small, and can also come in handy to transport clothing to a laundromat. On the way home I can check it with my dirty clothes.

Posted by
8700 posts

When I need it, my Eagle Creek packable duffel bag works well for me. Anything I buy that's breakable I put in my hard-sided carry-on roller bag. If the roller bag gets full, I put dirty clothes and/or other soft items in the duffel bag.

TravelSmith also sells a packable duffel bag.

Posted by
4740 posts

If you don't want to carry the gifts, you might consider buying all the gifts at one store and having the store ship them. It is likely that the department stores would offer this service. If your purchase is over a certain dollar amount, you can get the VAT back. In the times where I have shipped purchases back, I've often found that the VAT savings offsets the shipping costs.

Posted by
8410 posts

We've done both, shipped things and brought things home in an extra duffel bag. If you're coming home from Paris I would bring everything with me in a duffel bag, if traveling on I would mail. As Jo said, it's very expensive to mail things. If you are going to mail though... the least expensive way is to buy one of their pre-paid boxes (they come in many sizes) at a post office, you can cram as much as you're able to into a box and the weight doesn't matter.

Posted by
19 posts

Thank you all. I'll be in Paris the whole time (just walking around enjoying the sights), so I'll bring a duffel.