My Paris Travel Adventure
Hi just wanted to share my adventure of leaving Minneapolis and going to Paris in August of 2017.
Trip planning. I always try having my suitcase packed a week a head of time. When traveling I usually just buy new underwear and socks. No sense in having old things, plus it gives me an excuse to upgrade my ward robe also.
I am not the most photogenic person, so I get my hair cut and also my toe nails trimmed before leaving. I know, what guy gets their toenails done? But it is a great thing to have done, especially if you end up at a pool or beach! Who knows who you will meet, first impressions are usually the ones that make the biggest and most lasting difference!
This is the flight plan from MSP to CDG and back!
My Travel Planning List is This:
* Vacation Trip and Travel Planning
Planning your trip and the dates of when you are arriving and leaving on is important!
Some things to consider before making your vacation or trip plans revolve around how you will travel. Consider your vacation dates before hand to help with your traveling costs.
Before purchasing your airline tickets, you may want to find out about the RER service. When I was there it was shut down going to Charles de Gaulle airport when we were going there to pick up a friend of hers from Belgium. We were talking to a man while waiting, and he said they do this with their maintenance quite often.
I would try finding out in advance if there may be some routine maintenance going on during your arrival or departure. What was supposed to be only a half hour train ride, ended up being almost two hours to get there because of train transfer and also waiting to get on a bus to go to CDG. The bus experience was bad and disorganized, there were many people just pushing other people aside who had been there before them. After picking her friend up, we just got on the last bus which was leaving CDG before it left, otherwise we would have ended up being stranded looking and waiting for a taxi.
Make sure it is in excellent shape and up-to-date before traveling
* Making Sure I am Checked in before arriving at airport
I usually check in at home on my computer. It saves me time at the airport and keeps my stress level down, I don’t like the feeling of being rushed or in a hurry.
- Confirm your flight
- Arrive early
- Find your airline
- Check your bags
- Check flight status in case of delays or a change in gate
* Charge Cards
Make sure you have your charge card with that you used for the purchase of your airline tickets. You will need this to verify your ticket purchase.
Make sure if you are planning on using your charge card(s), you have notified your card companies with your date of travel and return, also places of visits on your itinerary.
When traveling I do take some cash, but a limited amount. It is a good idea to have some converted to their monetary system in case your card will not work at the kiosk, at least then their money will.
* Transportation to and from airport at MSP
I use a service from Chippewa Valley, it is a van which picks you up and takes you to the airport. It also picks you up from the airport and then drops you off at the destination you left from.
The cost of the service is more reasonable than using a taxi to get to and from a friends house in St. Paul, or leaving your vehicle parked at the airport. So I would check the area in which you live, to see if a service like this is available if you do not mind traveling or leaving the airport with a group of others.
I had a bad experience two years ago with one of the Somali-an taxi drivers when I left MSP. My friend let me drive to his house and then took me to the airport. He could not pick me up, so I needed to hire a taxi to get back to his house. I had everything map quested, but the driver refused to use it, said he had his own map quest set up on his phone. What should have been only a 15 minute ride ended up being a half hour. He got lost, would not listen to me, I had to make him shut his meter off which he did for a bit…..ugggh. Never again! Costed more than the van service round trip!
Consider a Navigo Monthly Pass if you are staying there for two weeks or more. The Navigo Monthly Pass starts at the beginning of each month, so if you are traveling the last week of the month it will not be worth the fee. The cost of the Navigo Monthly Pass is €75, plus €5 for the card, for zones 1 thru 5 which will include all 20 districts of Paris. This also will include traveling to Versailles, Disneyland and the train travel to and from CDG or Orly, and anyplace else outside of Paris within these zones.
The Navigo Monthly Pass also has some perks, it allows you to travel to any zone on weekends, from midnight on Friday to midnight on Sunday.
Some things to consider on purchasing a Navigo Pass, you will need a photo, so make sure you have a few with you without smiles, similar to what is on your passport or drivers license or pay a fee of €5 at one of the photo booths.
If purchasing a new Navigo Pass at the airport; you may be stuck in a long line, sometimes for over a hour. If time is more important to you than money, a option may be to purchase a ticket at one of the kiosks to your destination point, and then purchase your Navigo Pass at the ticket booth of your destination point.
If you are planning a one week vacation at the end of the month, or if you are planning a two week trip which begins one week before the end of the month and ends at the week of another month you may want to consider a weekly pass. You will need to purchase a photo if you do not have one, the cost is €5. You will also need to purchase the pass which will cost €20.40, plus €5 for the card that needs to be purchased from a ticket booth. You can renew this pass for another week, which will cost you another €20.40. The weekly pass starts on a Monday and ends on a Sunday.
Another item to note is your arrival date, if it is in the middle of the week, this also will affect the type of traveling pass to get and how you will travel.
RAF Paper Ticket
* Suitcase Scale
I also carry a suitcase scale with, this you can pick up almost anywhere. I use it so that I can weigh my carry-on suitcase to avoid having to wait for it at the baggage claim and to also avoid extra charges!
When leaving the U.S.A you are allowed to have a checked bag which you can carry-on (provided it meets the size and weight requirements) and also your laptop or photo equip bag.
When leaving Paris, the bag which you had as a carry-on departing from the U.S.A. will more than likely end up in the cargo area leaving you with just your laptop or photo equip bag as the carry-on from CDG. Unless from some amazing act, all your bags meet the total weight and size requirement limits!
Make sure you weigh your suitcase before leaving to the airport! I have seen many people there dumping clothes or other items and leaving it there, so they can carry their suitcase on!
* Suitcase Packed
I know it is tempting to bring big bottles of perfume or things of that nature in your suitcase for your own use or also for friends as gifts. I know it is possible, but is it worth the risk, especially in today’s times.
I did observe something like this at MSP, a person ended up being pulled aside when their suitcase was going through the machine. I do not know what was in their suitcase or what happened to them, but off they went with a couple of kindly men!
If you do not speak French, you should learn some! At least you can be polite by saying please and thank-you. You also have the ability to introduce yourself. But most important, you will have the knowledge to ask where the toilet is! Où est les toilettes ? LOL………
When I was in Paris this last trip. One of my friends friend had two cell phones with her. I asked her friend about this and I was given this answer. She said she did not have just two but had three altogether. She had one for her personal use, the other two she had set up for traveling to other areas so she could have Internet connection. This reminded me of Hillary with the story of her multiple phones, now it made sense to me. No matter where she was traveling she had Internet connection. Her friend also told me that it was also nice to have the extra phones for picture taking. Another aha moment for me, for when I was at the Château de Versailles my cell phone died after being there for about 6 hours. My cell phone picture taking ended, and her friend was on her second phone now snapping away. Her friend said you can pick up a second phone rather cheap, she only paid $50.00 for each phone and all she needed to do was swap out the card for service.
*Google Map App
Make sure you have this app on your phone(s). It is great for helping you get around easily. It will give you walking distances to where you are going, what trains to take, what buses and the routes you will take. It will also tell you how long it will take to get to your destination for the desired methods of travel. So make sure you have this app! You can forget the tour buses, and just take the transportation system there and travel like a pro!
*Cell Phone Service
If you do not want to pay for service, one way to cut corners is to find a Burger King, McDonald’s or something along this nature. At least you can plan trips for the day, leave them on your phone and then use them later.
*Selfie Stick & Tripod
I also would make sure that you consider having a selfie stick with a remote for picture taking and also one of the flexible tripods such as a one of the mini flexible Gorilla tripod stands. Make sure you have these two items where ever you go.
They are great at parks, restaurants, museums, and of course with friends!
* Reading Material for killing time at the Airport
I thought I would throw out a few reading ideas for a little humor, while sitting in the airport people watching. Who knows, maybe they will be watching you with a collection of books like these on your table!
* If visiting friends
Bring something for them. Mine like chocolate Hershey Kisses!
* If staying with friends
Make sure you can help with things such as buying food, laundry, taking them to dinner, or even tidying up around the place so it is not a burden to them on your visit.
* Have an itinerary
Great planning makes for a great trip!
* Have fun! Remember that is why you are there!
When traveling on the trains make sure you are paying attention to your surroundings! There are people there that will try taking items such as your cell phone, the most common. When waiting to get on the train make sure your phone is in a secure place with you, do not take it out until you are on the train and the doors are closed! The most common thing that happens is when people are getting on the train, someone is waiting to grab your phone just before the doors close, leaving you in the train with no phone and them with an escape with your phone!
Sometimes they will also wait next to the doorway of the train, waiting for someone to not pay attention, grab their phone and out the door they go!
When standing in lines waiting to purchase tickets or waiting to get in, pay attention to those who are around you. We were waiting in line for the Eiffel Tower. While waiting to women were trying to open my friends back back to get things out of it. I casually removed myself from the line, and then went behind the two women, one would bump my friend and then the other would try opening the back pack. I gave the one woman a little tap on her shoulder when she was doing this and they quickly disappeared!
I remember the first time I arrived at Paris, I was taking the shuttle to get to immigration at the CDG airport. I ended up at the wrong stop the first time. Since then, their CDG airport map has gotten better! The second time I was there, I was befriended by a Ukrainian man. He said, “I just follow the signs which say ‘Sortie’ on them.”
Hope you enjoyed my travel itinerary!
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Thanks again for the visit!