If you missed my post yesterday I made it back home yesterday. I made it back one piece, but my luggage didn’t. United got a little rough when handling my luggage on the flight from CDG to EWR, but it reminded me of one of the things I learned on this solo trip. In fact, there were a few lessons I learned on this trip that I wanted to share with y’all.
Go in with an open mind – I knew that I would have to do that when I realized that this would essentially be a solo trip. I have friends in both Paris and London, but I was by myself for the bulk of the trip so I had to keep an open mind when it came to a few things like lodging and meals. I ventured outside of my comfort zone and stayed at a hostel while I was in Paris and truly enjoyed myself. It was my first time doing that so in order to ease into the experience I booked a double room with an en suite bathroom. I wanted the hostel experience without sharing a bathroom, and that’s exactly what I got. I got to hang out with other solo travelers and I can totally see myself staying in another hostel in the future; I might even share a bathroom next time.
Have a loose itinerary – In true London form it was foggy for most of my time there. In fact, not only was it cold but the sun set early too. Like 4PM in the afternoon early. I had a list of places I wanted to see and a limited time to see them, but I didn’t want my schedule to be too strict. I actually found a way to hit most of my “must-sees” in one fail swoop.
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Don’t sleep on the hop on/hop off bus tours – Yeah, they might seem really touristy but that’s what I was! I did one in Paris and London and they were great deals. I was able to see the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc d’Triumph, Champ d’Elysees and the National Museum of Modern Age for less than 60 euro including museum entry fees. I was also able to see the London Eye, Kensington Palace, Parliament, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Harrods, Tower of London, Millennium Bridge, Piccadilly Circus and Platform 9 3/4’s at King’s Cross for a great price too! In fact, I found it was easier for me to get around on the hop on/hop off bus in London than it was with other forms of transportation, especially around Harrods.
Google Translate is an amazing tool – I started studying French using the Duolingo app shortly after I booked my flights this past summer, but I wasn’t progressing as quickly as I’d liked. No fault to the app, I just didn’t have the time to study it as intensely as I should’ve. I knew that I’d have unlimited data in Paris and London thanks to T-Mobile’s awesome international plan so I put that data to used my Google Translate app whenever I had any questions. Voice to text translations and being able to hold my phone up to a sign and have it translate the words I was unsure of made my visit go so smoothly.
Pack and then take two things out – I ended up having to check my carry-on on both legs of my flight. I think my suitcase could’ve fit if I hadn’t packed so many unnecessary things. I was so happy I packed both pairs of Angels Forever jeans and some comfy yet warm leggings, but the pair of flats and long dress could’ve been left at home. I spent most of my time in my bean boots and sweaters. I also could’ve left some of my makeup at home too. I traipsed around those cities makeup free and it for most of my trip and it was so freeing!
I still plan on doing a recap, and possibly splitting it into two posts so I can give each city the shine it deserves. I was able to use my social media accounts as a travel diary of sorts so forgive me if you see some similarities.