There is nothing more glamorous and exciting for a young woman than traveling abroad for the first time on her own. In my case, this was also my first trip abroad ever. I had never flown in a plane or been overseas before, and I was fortunate enough to be invited to my college friend’s French home after my freshman year of college.
Know How to Pack
When I reflect on my time in Paris, the first thing that springs to mind is the beauty and history that enrobed the city like a fine chocolate drizzling. The second thing that I am reminded of are the throbs of pain in my feet from wearing the wrong shoes.
The sheer amount of walking you’ll be doing means that you need shoes with supportive soles. My collection of flimsy slip-ons and flip flops did me no favors. A lot of the time that should have spent on taking in the breathtaking views of the city were refocused on annoying foot pain.
Learn About the Culture
It would have benefited me a lot to do some research before I went to France. I had done absolutely no research on French culture and was taken aback by some things I encountered. For example, the wait staff in Paris is notoriously cold and will not come to check on you often. The serving sizes in France are also considerably smaller than they are here in the States. As a Diet Coke-a holic, I didn’t take this into account. It was a minor inconvenience, but most of my meals were mainly beverage-less after I drank all my soda in one or two sips right when I received it. This is definitely a small thing and not a trip-ruiner, but cultural differences are easier to take in when you’re prepared for the experience.
Take Photos, Write Things Down, Make Memories
The one thing I’m glad I did was take a copious amount of photos. I created a scrapbook within a few months of going on the trip and was already finding myself questioning if we went to the Eiffel tower on the fifth or sixth day, and where was this random cafe again? It’s better to have too many memories than not enough.
Making several stops across France? Make sure to visit Strasbourg, a gorgeous city and France’s hidden gem.