Tips and What I Learned About Travel Abroad
I recently had the opportunity to travel to London and Paris for the first time. It was a bucket list adventure for sure.
Sadly, my husband became ill on day #3. Nothing serious, just enough to make extensive walking a challenge. While he rallied each evening to have dinner together, for the most part, I was on my own during the day.
Here are a few things I learned about myself and others on my trip to London and Paris:
- I'm more adventurous than I thought I was. I found myself stepping outside of my comfort zone to discover I can navigate through two large cities on my own with the use of only the metro system to get around.
- The French are not snobby or unfriendly. I found just the opposite to be true. They went out of their way to speak be friendly and speak English. The minute I addressed them with "Bonjour!" they knew I was English speaking and spoke to me in English.
- I never felt unsafe in either city, even on public transportation. I was super aware of my surroundings though and carried a small cross-body bag that I kept zipped at all times.
- Paris is not dirty. Again, just the opposite was true. I've seen cities that need a major clean up much more so, here in the states.
- There were a few challenges during my trip (my husband getting sick and getting lost a time or two) but I was able to overcome them. This gave me a newfound confidence in my ability to handle whatever life throws my way.
How about you? Are you afraid to travel alone? Let me encourage you, do it!!
I love discovering a city through it's food
We had outstanding meals from pubs in London to Bistro's in Paris. In London, we stopped at a pub near our hotel (not knowing what to expect) and I had one of the best meals of our London stay; a mushroom chili with guacamole and basmati rice.
Paris is in a league of its own when it comes to food. Just for fun, we made a point of eating French pastries every single day, sometimes two! We found a boulangerie around the corner from our hotel that offered the most incredible pastries we've ever had.
Master the French Art of Baking with our Professional Pastry Classes
One of the best experiences I had in Paris was attending a pastry class taught by a professional pastry chef. We learn to make croissants and pain au chocolate. It was so much fun and I learned the french way of baking!
Roasted Scallops with pumpkin risotto and truffles is pictured here. It was delicious. Contact me if you want names of restaurants at Kelli@ParisiansPure.com.
I also learned 5 days in Paris -really more like 4 with travel time- is not nearly enough to see all that this city has to offer, especially if you want to immerse yourself in the culture (like I did) along with seeing the incredible historical sites.
Of course, the historical sites we did see were nothing short of spectacular!
This photo was taken from a river boat dinner cruise down the Seine River. It's of the Musee d'Orsay.
The iconic Eiffel Tower in all it's lighted glory!
My sweetheart and me in the most romantic city in the world.
And if you're looking for a few tips to make your trip even more enjoyable, here are a few:
- Save money on accommodations by booking through a hotel booking app. We were able to save $100 a night on our hotel in Paris by booking through the Hotels.com app.
- Purchase really good walking shoes. You'll need them! I averaged 19,000 steps a day in both London and Paris. The shoes I purchased a couple months before our trip were worth their weight in gold. The shoes I wore almost daily in both London and France were the On Cloud-Cloudmonster.
- Download the CityMapper app. This app will make it easy to get around large cities.
- Global Entry. If traveling outside the US is something you enjoy, invest in global entry. Customs lines can be long and exhausting at the end of your vacation. Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. We were in and out of customs in under 2 minutes. Learn more about global entry here.
So what are you waiting for?
Start planning your next adventure today! And remember, you are capable of more than you think. As my husband so aptly put it, "Kelli conquered the two cities!" I even surprised myself.