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Last week was a doozy!  And I’m sorry for missing you all a few days there.  I will do better this week, I promise!

I was recently asked about my international travel experience from a company called Smartling, they are a language translation software company, and what I would recommend about traveling abroad, etc.

So this is a little off topic for me, but a nice way to end the summer. Can you believe this is the last day!!!?

I can’t say that I have tons of experience traveling abroad.  But I have taken a trip to France in the last five years!

Packing for that trip was stressful for me.  I didn’t want to show up looking like your average tourist.  But I had little experience for how real French people dress.  That left me staring at my closet unsure of what to take.

I ended up packing several skirts and also several pairs of shoes that went along with a color theme.  If you pack all of your items in the same color family, you can easily mix and match however you need to.  I rolled each item in my carry-on so I could fit as much as possible and the items weren’t so wrinkled.  And I never checked a bag so that I knew I would have what I needed when I arrived.

If I had to pack for the trip again, I wouldn’t change much except my shoes.  Find THE absolute most comfortable pair of shoes you can find for the daytime, while still remaining stylish.  Jogging sneakers or flip-flops are not a great way to make an impression and peg you for a tourist immediately.

Our trip was in June.  The weather was moderate temperatures and sunny days.  I was nervous about all I had heard about the French and their attitudes but was excited to travel internationally and to see the most beautiful city in the world.

Of course, part of that nervousness was the language barrier.  But many of the people spoke at least some English.  I do recall on the plane sitting by a Parisian couple who had just returned from a visit to the U.S. to see the Grand Canyon.  I was discussing with them what things to see in France and I asked about Notre Dame.  Here in the states, most people pronounce this- No-Ter Daim.  They had no idea what I was talking about because of my pronunciation. And when they figured out what I was referring to- No-Tre Dom, they laughed and laughed.

Sitting by this couple on the plane and interacting with them really helped me feel more confident about my travels.  They gave me tips on what to see and do, where to eat and what to expect.  I recommend engaging in some conversation if at all possible with some locals before you get to your travel destination.

I also really enjoyed eating out because in France, that is what you do for your evening entertainment.  It took several hours to eat a meal and that’s just not the case in the U.S.  It was nice to sit down after a long day of walking and touring and enjoy a meal and some company.  And while in France, I had to enjoy the wine.  But I also loved the fresh bakery items every morning.  Their pastries are so much lighter and less sweet than in the U.S.  And the chocolate is much, much better.

We only encountered rudeness a few times.  One of those times was the concierge of our hotel.  He was not very helpful when we were asking for directions.  Also, our taxi drive on the way back from the Eiffel Tower tried to scam us for more money.  I recommend walking as much as possible when in Paris.

We crammed in so much siteseeing in a week’s time that it was hard to enjoy it all.  Next time I visit France, I’d really like to spend the majority of my time in Paris, visiting places that I had to skip over the last time.

Overall, we had a successful trip. My recommendations are to give yourself time to relax and enjoy where you are.  And of course, look stylish doing it!


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