Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Planning for Paris

Oh Hai! Yes, I disappeared from the blogosphere for a while..but I have a good excuse.


For the past 2 weeks month all I wanted to do was blog about my trip, but I am still a little bit hesitant to tell the world that my condo would be empty for a week. Paranoid…just a smidge. Anyway now that I am back I give you deats..this will definitely be a multi-post post so here is part 1:

Back in November my friend Trish and I (and Mike) decided to go visit our high school bff Brittany who is teaching English in the south of France. We had to wait a whole month to tell her at Christmas, but after that point the trip planning went nuts.

We decided to go in May, and we knew we had a week to fit it all in. We had never been to Europe before and wanted to do as much as possible. This meant that are trip was going to be a little on the amazing race side of things, and less laying on a beach. I think in one facebook planning message the comment “no sleep allowed” was brought up.

Now I am a savage trip planner. I don’t necessarily have an hour by hour schedule, but I know to a point what I am doing each day, what is the most logical way to do things, what train/bus route to take etc. It also helped so much that Trish was super willing to go along with the crazy plans, and Brittany had been to these places before and could give us tips.

So the plan was made…Arrive in Paris on Saturday, Paris on Sunday then Train to La-Seyne-Sur-Mer (a little town near Toulon), Monday and Tuesday relax in that area, Wednesday Monaco/Nice, Thursday Nice, Friday and Saturday Paris…and back to Toronto on Sunday. Whew.

We booked the plane tickets in January so we knew we had to fit around being in Paris on our arrival and departure days.  Then we booked our trains to and from Paris and around. Next we booked our hotels, and then finally made a plan. We wanted to see most of the sites in Paris, so it got quite detailed.
In the end (as you will see in an upcoming blog post) we did manage to see everything on our list (most of it anyway) and I think that comes down to a few good trip planning tips.

1. Be organized. Know what train takes you to what spot. For example, when you have 24 hours to see Paris, taking a wrong subway for 1 hour does make a difference. Print all of this info so you don’t forget..or save a tree and have it on your tablet..(Side note, I want a tablet bad)

2. Do your research. Wikitravel the city/country you are going to..look at the maps, read a travel book. Google the heck out of everything. (Can you drink the water? What is the best way to get to the airport? etc.)
Crazy Subway System! (Source)
3. Hit the highlights first. We tried to block our last weekend in Paris by a block of time..not specific times. For example. AM Arc De Triomph/Effiel Tower, Lunch, PM Shopping and Notre Dame, Pre Supper Mont Parnesse Tower, Supper. That way you do have some order, but it isn’t the end of the world if you don’t get to it all. And the last thing on the list wasn’t a priority so if we didn’t make it, it was ok.

4. Communicate. This especially important when trying to plan a trip from Toronto, North Bay and La-Seyne Sur Mer. It may seem extreme but we actually made a quite detailed itinerary for the trip so that everyone was on the same page with what we were doing. It was a huge help. It is also important when planning a multi city trip. If we had spent the whole time in Paris it wouldn’t have been as important.

And taddaaa you have trip planned! Chances are by following the tips above you will also save money..which is the topic of my next travelling post..with more pictures to come!

Does anyone else have trip planning tips? Anyone else a savage trip planner?