Planning Your Trip to Paris

Pre-Paris

  • Spend some time thinking about what you want to accomplish on this trip – get in as many famous sights as possible, shop til you drop, or wine and dine? This drives how you will spend your time and allows you to focus planning your itinerary and wardrobe accordingly.
  • Book your dream dinner online, if possible, as soon as you have your itinerary set. If your epicurean delight does not have an option to book online, make sure you contact the hotel concierge to book for you. I use La Fourchette for online bookings.
  • When booking your room take into consideration if you sleep late or a light sleeper. If so, do not book a room with a balcony because the early morning trash pick-up will drive you insane!
  • Exchange enough money into Euro’s for taxi money for the ride to/from the airport once in Paris. Some exchange banks in the US airports give you the option where they will buy back your unused Euro’s upon your return without a fee.
  • Pack a small folding bag (see photo of green and purple pattern foldable tote) into your luggage for souvenirs purchased abroad because European security will not allow you to carry-on the same bag you did going over. For example, the luggage photo shows my two lime green Victorinox pieces that both were carried aboard to Paris, but were not approved for carry-on for the way back to the US. Instead, I carried the green and purple tote, and my purse on the return trip and checked the rest.
  • Check to make sure the battery is working on your digital camera and that you have a large memory stick so you can click away with reckless abandon.
  • Skype is a great way to keep in touch from Europe for free. Download and test before the trip. If you have an iPhone, use WiFi and Facetime with loved ones.
  • Check your cell phone plans to make sure you have International calling included or purchase a throw away phone when you arrive.
  • Start brushing up on your French! Get busy learning the basics with Rosetta Stone or use a free App on your cell phone. I use FrenchLITE by iTranslate on the go and for the Paris transportation info I use Kemtro – both are Apps available through iTunes.
  • As soon as you book your ticket, check to make sure your passport has not expired and then make sure you pack it in your carry-on! If so, go online for info on US Passports. Make copies, one to leave at home and one to put in the hotel safe in case you lose yours while abroad.



6 comments on “Planning Your Trip to Paris

  1. Barbara

    How nice to get a personal note from you! I envy your gal pals…it’s a blessing to have such good friends who are in a position to join you.

    I always check one bag as it carries medications and often a laptop. So it can be larger than the carry-on if necessary. My carry-on changes depending on destination and length of trip. Actually I prefer not to take much on board with me so it is quicker to deplane. I don’t mind going to baggage claim but I hate waiting in a crowded plane while everyone struggles to get their big heavy luggage down from the overheads!

    Barbara

    1. Weekend In Paris

      Hi Barbara,

      This summer my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law are going with me and it will be so great to see them enjoy Paris together.

      This last trip was luxury focused, but usually we do more modest trips. This summer will highlight less expensive hotel options and ways to save money while traveling. The other tip is to go in January. The airfares are almost 50% less and so are the hotels! Splitting the cost of the hotel room with friends also helps. Did you know many have triple and quads which are truly economical. I also know that sharing an apartment can also save loads of money and there are so many great reputable apartment rental companies I work with.

      I had a bag lost once in travel and thus I try to pack what is absolutely necessary into my carry-on bag and check the rest. I agree about the big bags, but realize that sometimes folks have tight connecting flights and so it’s much better to drag those bags on and skip the lines so they make it to the next destination. Each trip I take demands an evaluation of what will work best. I’m just thankful I do get to travel.

      I am so glad to have you reading the blog and I wish you a bon voyage on your next trip to anywhere, but hoping it’s Paris. ;)

  2. Barbara Bell

    When I traveled to Paris and London in September 2012 there was no restriction on the carry-on bag I used. I checked one bag and carried one on board. I’m not sure I understand why your experience was different.

    1. Weekend In Paris

      Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for your note. There are restrictions on the sizes of carry-on luggage and the number of pieces you can carry aboard. Particularly if the flight is full, they will check each piece and adhere strictly to the guidelines. You may bring a personal item such as a briefcase or purse and one bag. Here are the official guidelines:
      1 bag and 1 personal item which can’t be larger than 45 linear in or 114 cm (L+W+H) and cannot exceed 40 lbs or 18 kg.
      When giving advice on packing I always want to ere on the side of caution because I have had problems myself in the past. Many times at the airport, you see people shifting things from one bag to another because they failed to follow the guidelines and the country in question has decided to be strict. My point in the article was that I usually carry-on a roller bag that fits easily in the overhead on the way over and another bag, but that on the way back the French have sometimes told me that it does not fit into their metric and thus I must check the bag. I always go prepared for either scenario and have since purchased a guaranteed International roller bag to avoid this in the future, but had to point it out for my readers. Make sense now?
      Thanks for reading and taking the time to chime in.
      I look forward to hearing from you again.
      Cheers,
      Priscilla

  3. Jacquie Proctor

    Re: “Pack a small folding bag into your luggage for items purchased abroad because you can’t take a bag larger than a large purse or backpack back on the plane with you. European security will not allow you to carry-on the same bag you did going over.”
    Are you saying we will be required to check our carry on suitcase upon return to US from France because we won’t be able to bring it on the plane? I also carry an expandable large purse bag and are you saying that I can’t bring that back inside the plane either?

    I have never heard of this and will have to pack very differently. Thanks for clarifying the details.

    Jacquie

    1. Weekend In Paris

      Hi Jacquie,
      Yes, you read this correctly. What you can carry on when returning from France is very different from the ride over from the US. Very small rolling bags are allowed, plus your purse or small carry-on. My advice is that you check a large bag going over that is not full and pack your expandable large purse bag that you can bring onboard along with your regular purse for the way back. Does this make sense?
      Cheers,
      Priscilla

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