Updated: Oct 7, 2019
How I decided my trip to London and Paris was by searching different European cities roundtrip on Google flights and seeing what was the cheapest option. I saw in August a roundtrip flight to Paris was only $525, I asked my friend if she wanted to go and she said yes then we booked our trip that night! When booking flights in general, it's always cheapest to fly on a Tuesday-Thursday. For flights overseas, my favorite times to book are overnight or red-eye flights because it helps me with the time difference. If you do an overnight flight, definitely try to sleep on the plane and stay awake once you've arrived. Taking an hour nap is okay once you get to your hotel but in order to not waste your time, chug some coffee or something! Being tired the first day is worth it so that way you can enjoy the rest of your trip once you've gotten past that first day of the time change.
Picking the right hotel/AirBnb is important.
We stayed in an area called Le Marais and I thought it was a nice area! We were really close to the metro so commuting was extremely easy. If you're wanting to be close to the Eiffel Tower, then I wouldn't recommend this area. However, I think staying in the non-touristy areas is a lot more fun because you discover little streets and whatnot. It also gets you to explore different areas and take advantage of using public transportation. Click here to look at the top neighborhoods to stay in Paris.
Finding places to eat was easy.
Most of the places we ate at during our trip were found just by walking around different areas and picking a spot we liked. I personally enjoyed eating at where ever we stumbled upon, it was more fun that way. We did search for a couple of places online and specifically went to those, however, ones that are online are very popular and you should 100% make a reservation for that place. One of our favorite spots was Pink Mamma. It was such an instagrammable spot and had the best food! They also have a speakeasy downstairs called "No Entry", the entrance was a huge walk in fridge and behind the door it was a dim-lit place with the most creative cocktails. For the most part, our lunches were on average about 11 euros per person and dinner was around 20 euros per person, finding lunch/dinner for decent prices was not hard in Paris. A lot of lunch/brunch spots had good deals too, all of the food and drinks in the picture above cost around 9 euros each! This was a spot that we found by walking around our hotel.
Traveling around Paris was so fun!
Maybe it's because I'm used to living in New York but taking public transportation, walking and scootering is how we got around and I honestly would not have done it any other way. If you're strategic with your planning, walking around is extremely easy if you pick different areas to focus on every day. With all of the walking we did, we saw and did so much. On one of our most productive days we accomplished over 20,000 steps and almost 9 miles! The Lime scooters were $1 and then 15 cents per minute or so, most of our trips were only like 3 euros. The metro was around 2 euros and easy to use, we just used Apple maps for directions and it was our most useful tool for sure.
So how did we plan everything and see everything we wanted to?
Honestly, the most useful part of this trip was google maps. My friend and I created a google maps document and shared it with each other. We researched some specific places that we wanted to go to like restaurants or good picture spots in Paris and pinpointed them on the map. We then color coded all of the dots so we could decide which places we wanted to go to on specific days. It really helped us manage our time and we got to make sure that we saw everything we wanted to see!
Buying designer bags in Paris
If you're traveling to Europe and have been wanting a designer bag forever, definitely buy it there! When saving up for my trip, I have a separate savings to buy something designer that I have my eye on. In Europe, anything that is made there(Gucci, Louis Vuitton, YSL, etc.) is cheaper than buying it in the U.S. I got the Alma BB bag, which would have been $1,339 with tax, in Europe it cost me less than $1,000. When you buy a bag or whatever it may be, they give you tax forms which you can then use to get a tax refund at the airport when you're leaving. I think the tax refund process took me about 15 minutes about the airport, I quickly did it before heading to my gate and it was worth it because I got about $100 or so back! Specifically, we went to the Galleries at Lafayette, which I would recommend going to because the LV flagship store runs out of everything in seconds and the wait is ridiculous. The Galleries also has a bunch of other designer stores there like Chanel, Cartier, etc. I think we waited about 30 minutes in line at the Galleries and the lady who took care of us was so sweet, we shopped for about an hour and a half, we were served champagne and everything. There's also a rooftop at the Galleries with gorgeous city views!
Our favorite part of the trip
The Eiffel Tower was easily our favorite spot, something about it was just so peaceful and nice to sit there and watch it. I think we went to Eiffel Tower about 6 times during our trip and it was even more amazing each time. I would definitely recommend going on the ferris wheel in Paris, we got the best views! Below is the view we caught from the ferris wheel.
So how do I save up my money for traveling?
I work at a restaurant, where we make cash tips, so what I do is I never deposit my cash tips. I keep them locked up in a box and that's how I save up my money for trips! Out of sight, out of mind is what they say. It'd be the same as taking out of your paycheck weekly, I roughly make around $100 in cash tips weekly, so basically pick an amount that's comfortable for you and start putting it away weekly and you'll see it grow! Definitely create a budget for yourself and try to stick to it. Excel is always a good way to track your spending while traveling, it might be a little bit of work but to see everything that was spent on food, uber, etc. helped a lot. At the end of the night, just put everything into excel that you spent and make one column show where the money went under categories like "food, uber, shopping, drinks", etc. to help keep tracking of where your money is going on the trip.
In general, Paris is amazing and you should go if you can!
I definitely had the time of my life there and I'm already itching to go back. Life is too short to not experience everything you possibly can, work hard and save up towards your dreams and you can do everything you ever imagined doing in life!
Click here to watch my Paris & London Vlog on YouTube!