No one wants to go home from a holiday with regrets, so my vacations are always planned with military precision.
I just got back from Paris (again—Paris is always a good idea), and as well as my usual post-trip recommendations roundup I thought it’d be useful to share my tips for planning a short break to la Ville Lumière.
Booking travel + accommodation
As a Londoner (and aerophobe) my preferred way to get to Paris is by Eurostar, which takes just 2 hours and can be as cheap as £29 each way. Tickets go on sale 6 months in advance and you get the best price when booking as early as possible.
You’re spoilt for choice in respect of accommodation. There are some great options on Airbnb (get £25 off with my link), and hotel-wise we prefer Hotels.com so we can collect Rewards (credit towards future bookings).
You can find more essential things to see and do in my Paris tips posts, including places to eat, where to stay and local places you can visit by train for a day trip.
Getting more ideas and inspiration
These days I’m always finding more things to explore via Instagram and Pinterest.
Besides keeping my Paris Pinterest board updated with new discoveries, I have a Google Map full of places to shop, see and eat. I add to it all the time and it really helps to plan each day, as I can easily see things that are close to each other.
Planning an itinerary
Once I’ve shortlisted vital things to tick-off I use my Google Map to draw up an itinerary, complete with map screenshots, on Google Docs (so I can update it from anywhere). It can be as precise as “7.55-11.29am: Eurostar”, or vague as “p.m.: Le Marais”. Just make sure everything is listed with time set aside for must-dos.
There’s also an ‘Extra’ section, where I put non-essentials that it’d be nice to do if we have time, plus alternative eateries in case our preferences are closed or too busy.
I then export it to my iBooks as a PDF so I have it to hand wherever I am.
Roaming without the roaming charges
I’m on GiffGaff, which is a great pay-as-you-go mobile network but it means I’m charged for data when outside the UK (mobile roaming charges are being abolished within Europe from June 2017—though who knows post-Brexit).
Besides the Instagram withdrawals, being sans-4G means I can’t map specific routes when I’m out and about—but I’ve found a hack that’s a handy free way to not get lost:
- Connect to WiFi (at your hotel or a café)
- Open the Maps app
- It’ll load the city you’re in so you’re able to use it offline
You can then at least keep track of where you are, by looking for the little dot.
Set yourself a French-themed alarm clock :)
I’ll be back with more Paris tips soon. À bientôt!