Traveling to France

posted in: Travel | 2

When I travel by air — especially when traveling to France — I am meticulous in my planning and my packing. Packing is serious business for me. My goal is to pack light while taking all the essentials.

A high goal really.

Not an impossible one.

By the way, if you are wondering if I am that careful when traveling by car. Not. At. All.

By car, I am a bit lazier and certainly more chaotic.

You can find Part 1 of this post here.

 

More Luxury Items for Travelling to France

Noise Cancelling Headphones

While flying, I don’t like listening to Audible books because I have to put the volume a bit loud in order to drown out the noise of the engines. The constant hum combined with the louder sound of my earbuds is exhausting and makes my head hurt. Moreover, I can’t imagine what this recipe (hum + increased volume) does to my eardrums.

On occasion, I have the same issue in the car, and on the train.

This year, for our over twelve-hour flight and many train rides, I decided to splurge and buy some noise canceling earbuds.

By all accounts, the best of the best are the Bose headphones. Except, I was not prepared to fork our $200.

After much research, I ordered a cheap pair from Amazon. When we — my daughter and I — tried them upon their arrival, we did not notice any difference from the pair I already owned. Therefore, the logical solution was to send them back, which I did.

After further research, I ordered another pair with ANC (active noise canceling). I am happy to report that they seemed to work well on our trial run. Again, I will report further upon my return when they have been truly tested.

>>> ANC earbuds

 

Blanket

The in-flight blankets (if I can even get one) are tiny and often dirty. Moreover, they either cover my arms or my knees but can’t seem to stretch enough to cover me as a whole.

Hubs gave me a super thin and light blanket a couple years ago for Christmas — for under ten bucks at Wal-Mart. I am going to try to take it. I can roll it pretty small and if I hold it with a few rubber bands, I should be able to take it in my carry-on. We shall see.

 

Traveling to France

 

Other items I will take while traveling to France:

  • My pillow: I hope to stow my pillow away in my luggage. I have slept with a Therapeutica ergonomic pillow for quite a long time now. It is worth it to me to lug it to France and back (no neck pain).
  • iPod
  • Kindle Paperwhite
  • Laptop
  • Splitter
  • Natural hand sanitizer
  • Pique Tea:  I like this tea for multiple reasons. It is very convenient, can be used in hot or cold water, is organic and clean, and it has the best jasmine tea flavor and aroma I have ever tasted. Their earl grey is also amazing.
  • Kleenex:  I hate to say it but France does not have the cleanest bathrooms, it is always good to be prepared.
  • Plenty of Audible and Kindle Unlimited books
  • Sugar-free and aspartame-free mints and gum
  • A bottle full of dirt from my backyard. This was my brother’s idea and I loved it. I will pour said dirt on my parents’ grave

 

Traveling to France: Moving About

When flying to France,  most of the time, you will be landing at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport (northeast of Paris). From there you can take a cab (pricey), a shuttle or a bus. There is also a train station right at the airport (which is usually the way we travel).

France has an amazing train transit system, which we intend to put to good use on this trip.

I usually go to the French site directly (for the SNCF). Knowing some French would be helpful to navigate the site. If you get your tickets far enough in advance prices are very reasonable.

Travel Insurance

At this point, I must mention travel insurance.

I highly recommended you purchase some. It has proven invaluable to me. France is known as the country where there are the most strikes in the world. I have gone for a visit when the airlines were on strike, or the train, control tower workers, etc. For this reason — as well as many others — travel insurance is a smart idea.

When my father was sick and I had t stao change my plane reservation it costs me a small fortune…as in $800 I did not have. On the other hand, insurance was only 100 bucks.

For me, considering the investment of traveling to France is, insurance is an easy choice.

Car Rental

As I mentioned above. We will be doing 75% of our travel by train. There is a small portion of the trip for which I have rented a car which in all honesty makes me nervous. Driving in France is not as easy as driving in the States. My brother is in total agreement with my last statement. He was ecstatic while visiting here about how curious American drivers are and how convenient our roads are which makes me all the more nervous for what I am in for in a few weeks.

Out of habit, I — at first — went with Enterprise. However, in France, the company did not have really good reviews compared to other car rental companies with which I am not familiar. Upon further reflection, I decided to go with the company which had the best reviews and I rented a car with Sixt.

We shall see how it goes and please pray for me!

To rent a car, all you need is your passport, your American drivers’ license and of course some money.

Note: yes you can rent an automatic transmission.

Security Blanket

On a side note, I am taking my GPS with me. I could rent one but it will probably “speak” French or British. Granted I am fluent in French and British is English so what’s the big deal?

The big deal — for me — is this: my co-passenger does not speak French. Moreover, British and American English do have some significant differences at times as I quickly discovered upon landing in the US. I want both of us to be able to understand the instructions.

As I already mentioned above, driving in France is not like driving in the US — especially in the Southwest where I live — with large mostly straight roads and towns based on the grid system.  My hometown alone is confusing to navigate even for the natives.

So, I am bringing my security blanket (aka my GPS).

 

 

Money Talk

Let’s talk about money.

It is a very good idea to get some Euros, before your departure, from an American bank. There are changing stations peppered around the airport but they will cost you more.

Most large American banking institutions should be able to exchange some money for you if you give them enough time.

 

Airfares

Finding cheap tickets is not always easy although it is possible.

There are two sites I prefer to use: Skyscanner and Justfly (listed in my order of preference).

For this trip, I booked a flight from a major US city and then separately booked my connecting flight from my town to that city. It was cheaper this way although this is not always the case.

Traveling during the week is usually cheaper although not always. Having somewhat flexible travel dates usually gives you the best deals as if traveling offseason.

 

Cell Phone

Your cell phone will not work once you arrive in France.

There are two apps which help me to communicate with my family as long as I am within WiFi distance: What’s App and Messenger.

 

Where to Stay

We will be renting a room in every place we will be visiting. In one remote country area, we will be staying at a BnB.

I like to use both VRBO and Airbnb to make rental reservations. Each site enables you to really fine-tune your searches.

For me, WiFi is a must since that is the only way I can communicate with my family.

I also like to have a washer since I travel without too many clothing options.

The use of a kitchen is also very convenient and helps keep the cost of food down.

 

Snacks

I have been working really hard at healing my metabolism. Following Dr. Peat’s recommendations has been very useful to me on my healing journey, therefore I prefer to take some pro-metabolic “Peaty” foods:

 

Traveling to France

I plan to report further upon my return on what items worked well for me and on which did not.

Blessings to all!

 

 

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