We are going to Paris next month!! I’ve been once, but Chris has never been before. I love to see a new city through his eyes. Our friend Jamie is also coming along. Y’all, she’s never been out of the country! I cannot wait to see this beautiful city through the eyes of these babes.
I wanted to talk a little bit about my planning process. Planning trips is as much a part of the fun for me as the trip itself. It really is. I love researching and seeing all the opportunities for new adventures. And listen, you can never do it all. Never. Not in one trip or 100,000 trips. And that is ok! I also really enjoy local culture, clothing, shoes, and interests. Safety is always a top priority so researching what to wear so as not to stand out as a tourist is something I always take time to do. Plus, I’m a woman that loves fashion. What can I say?!
I start with the big things everyone wants to see. Then, and this is important, I self test and I ask my travel companions to think about if those things are something they really want to see, or if they have FOMO because other people think we need to see them. Once that’s done, I list the days of the trip and start an itinerary. If traveling somewhere with a time difference and jet lag is a concern, you want to plan for that. For Paris, we will take an overnight flight and arrive at approximately 11am on a Friday. I will plan an outdoor activity, most likely a walking tour of some kind, and an early dinner. No naps for us. We want to acclimate as quickly and as easily as possible to maximize our time in the City of Lights!
An itinerary is important for me. I am a planner. I don’t jam pack my schedule because you have to leave time for real, authentic experiences that crop up and can’t be planned for. But, I need to know the gist of when I’m going to hit my must see sites. I like to sort all of the logistical details beforehand. The last thing I want to do on vacation is think like a project manager and consume my precious time with not fun things like figuring out bus/ train schedules. I try to take care of as much of that as possible before my feet ever land in the country I’m visiting.
For my travel experiences, I like to have bit of the popular mixed with a bit of the off the beaten path, with a heavy sprinkle of experiences over museums, sites, or places. What’s that mean, experiences? We’re going to Versailles this trip. Instead of hopping on the train and going on a self tour, we’re going to book a bike tour. Specifically, a bike tour that will take us to a market, Marché Notre-Dame, where we’ll buy lunch items to enjoy on the lawns of the beautiful gardens at Versailles. We’ll be able to pick up freshly roasted chicken, delicious and aromatic cheese, wine, fresh fruit, pastries, and anything else that strikes our fancy, all while rubbing elbows with locals. Now that is an experience!
You’re probably wondering where I learn about the places I’ll be visiting. Google. Yep. It’s true. I Google everything. If I find a resource I really like, I book mark it for later and return to it over and over again. Also, for European travel, there is no better resource then Rick Steves Travel Forum and Website. He is a wealth of information and his travel forum is a great place to ask real people for their thoughts, opinions, and ideas. I also like to pull up a blank document and note (copy/paste) anything I find interesting. I can always go back to that list and see if there’s a must do that’s cropped up on there. When my itinerary starts to take shape, I can also find other interesting things to plug in throughout our trip.
That’s a bit about my process. When I get back from the trip, I’ll post my itinerary with comments on our personal experiences. If you have an upcoming trip, don’t hesitate to contact me. I love to talk travel and am happy to help you have a trip of a lifetime!