Things To Add To Your Packing List
Working three seasons as a camp counselor and two as a camp director, you pick up lots of tips along the way. Every year counselors are sent the Counselor Handbook which contains a packing list. Some of the items on my list feature on the packing list, others are the first things I pack no matter where I am going.
On more than one occasion a power bank has saved me (mostly from boredom) when travelling. When I travel I use my phone to listen to podcasts, book a place to stay or use it as a digital ticket. So keeping your phone charged is immensely helpful. Most major French train stations sell power banks in the Relay stores and some even have vending machines!
It is not much use having a power bank (or any other electronic device) if you can't charge it. France uses a round two pin plug and unless you already live in France, none of your plugs will work here. You can get a simple US to EU adapter or a UK to EU adapter, but I would recommend getting a universal adapter as this can be used in your future travels no matter where you go and you can plug things from all over the world into it.
Oui SNCF app
In all major French train stations you will find an information office, ticket office and ticket machines. If you buy a paper ticket, don't forget to validate your ticket in the little yellow machines you'll find on your way to your train. If however you wan't to skip the queues and head straight for the train then the Oui SNCF app is for you. It allows you to book your ticket simply with a few clicks and your ticket will be on the app letting the ticket inspectors scan it directly from your phone.
Throw a backpack into your luggage and you won't regret it. During day trips a backpack will be your best friend. Throw your a bottle of water, some snacks and anything else you might need into it and off you go. If you are going to the lake or going on a hike with campers, it is a lot easier carrying everything in a backpack then under your arm.
Being conscious of time is important at camp and during the day you will not always have access to your phone. A good way to make sure the day runs smoothly is to buy a simple wristwatch. My go to is a simple black rubber Casio watch that usually costs no more than 10 euro.
Being a camp counselor means you'll be up on your feet, moving about each day. Drinking water will be a big help especially in the hot French summers. Buying a single use plastic bottle is not the best for the environment so I recommend making the investment in a good one that will last you years. Some bottles ones will keep your water cold, but even a basic one will help keep you hydrated throughout the day.
A good book
During a sunny day off, I can think of nothing better than finding a quiet spot and reading a good paperback. During my time at camp I have read many books and swapped many with other counselors on my team. Some of the train stations I passed through even had little free libraries where you can leave a book and take a book too.
Don't forget to check the packing list in your Counselor Handbook to make sure you have everything you need for camp. Hopefully you will find the items I listed here of use to you during your travels. Bon voyage!