This weekend I took a weekend trip to Paris with two of my friends. This was my first time traveling out of Italy since being here and the experience taught me a lot about traveling while abroad. So here are a few tips and tricks I learned:
- Read everything you are agreeing to a few times before
- This sounds really obvious but we read everything many times and still were surprised. My friends and I decided to book an AirBnB because it seemed to be the best, safest, and cheapest option. We did not realize that the place we booked was just one room in an apartment that our host was going to be staying at till after the booking! Thankfully we realized this early enough to prepare for that. Also, luckily we did not plan on spending a lot of time in the room so it really did not bother us, but it was still a surprise!
- The Florence airport only opens at 4
- We had a really early flight and had to book a taxi instead of taking the train because the trains only start at 5. We all woke up really early to get to the airport 2.5 hours ahead of our flight because we were worried about customs. It turns out getting through security took 5 seconds and they do not tell you the gate till 15 min before boarding. In other words, still be timely but you do not need to stress too much.
- Be willing to work with everyone
- I have travelled with friends before but doing a trip like this is significantly different. We were in a different country and all had different things that we wanted to do. It is really important to just make sure everyone is on the same page and to just have a general plan before the trip so that no one feels like they did not get to do everything they wanted to. For us, we realized once we got there how big Paris is! And three days to see everything most definitely was not enough, which gives me a great excuse to go back later! But I did notice that traveling with my friends meant doing things differently than how I normally travel with my family and though I did not really sacrifice anything, I did have to occasionally remind myself that this is not just my trip.
- Just accept that it is overwhelming
- When we came back one of my roommates asked how my trip was and what I did. And I looked at her and said that I honestly did not know! It was three days of walking around a beautiful city and seeing so many things. I think I have just seen so much that I have not even really processed it all! But that is OK, just go along with the trip and have fun!
- The weather will not always be ideal
- You know that Lauv song Paris in the Rain? He makes it sound so beautiful and fun. But, rain in Paris in November is freezing and not beautiful. We literally froze on the day it rained. But I think that day was so memorable because of all the strange places we ended going inside to run away from the rain!
Honestly, going to Paris for the weekend was a much needed break from Italy. I think we had all begun feeling like we were ready to go home or that we had seen everything we needed to. And going to Paris refreshed us and made us really excited! It is an absolutely beautiful city with so many things to see and explore!