Visiting Paris... not as Kim Kardashian

Here's the thing. I went to Paris when I was 20 and it was a magical city of lights. To be clear, I wasn't paying for the trip, I was champagne drunk, and at a wedding the whole time... so everything was beyond magical. I couldn't wait to go back. I was giddy and almost talked my husband out of visiting London just because I couldn't wait to be in Paris for as long as possible. Friends of mine are obsessed with the city. I packed as if I was heading out on a press tour. 7 pairs of high heels, including two pairs of Christian Louboutins, 6 dresses, clutches, light weight coats. I put together outfit after outfit like I was Kim Kardashian. And then we arrived. After 4 days in London (my new love), we were dumped off a gorgeous train ride into the most overwhelming filthy train station. Jeff and I turned to each other and panicked. We were not in Kansas anymore. That was for sure. 

We hopped in a cab to the hotel and spent the first day baffled, lost, and overwhelmed. That's when I decided I would take mental notes and share with you:

What you need and don't need when visiting Paris... not as Kim Kardashian.

*An International Credit Card. Living in the Bahamas, we already use our International Bank of America card all the time. There are no extra fees or charges and that's a miracle. I have heard straight horror stories of friends going broke over fees. Make sure to call your bank and find out what the fees are and what their sister bank is over seas, just incase you need to run in and grab cash. In London, Bank of America is partnered with Barclays. So it's easy to get cash out. Also! When they ask if you want to check out in US Dollars or Euros, choose Euros! They pick an extremely high exchange rate if you pick to do it in US Dollars. Let your bank back at home help you out. They'll use the current exchange rate for the day. It'll save you a ton in the long run. 

*Cash in Their Currency. In Paris, as well as London, you pay for the public toilets. I honestly think this is a brilliant idea, and in London that meant they were clean and well managed. Not in Paris. Regardless, make sure you have some cash on you incase you need to use the bathroom. 

*Closed Toed Shoes. Thank baby Jesus I packed converse and my motorcycle boots. The city is filled with dust in all of the "magical" areas. The Eiffel Tower. The Louvre. Normandy. Surrounded by dust. My shoes were filthily and those who braved open toed shoes for the sake of their outfits found themselves disgusting by they dirt on their feet. Plus theres a lot of dog poop on the streets. Remember Carrie Bradshaw in Paris? White heels? Dog poop? True story. 

*Layered Clothing. Here's how outfits went... Skinny jeans with boots or boyfriend jeans with converse. A shirt. A sweater. A jacket. A scarf in my bag. All day. Everyday. Sometimes it would get warmer and I would take the layers off, and sometimes I would be freezing to death. Don't forget how north Paris is. 

*An Unlocked Phone with Data. The first thing you need to do when you arrive in a foreign country is head to a phone store (Orange in Paris) and get data for your unlocked phone. In Paris 3GBs was about $34. It saved our lives. Access to maps, subway apps, and yelp will change everything. The first day in Paris we arrived too late for a phone store, and we felt the stress. We ended up at some tourist trap restaurant and wanted to cry. In 2015, we are so used to having it all at our finger tips. Nothing having that, in a country you don't speak the language, is a nightmare. So, next time you upgrade your iPhone save your old model for international travel. 

* A Backpack or Adorable "Everything Bag". More so because we carried around our camera, an umbrella, tissues, medicine (I got a major cold in Paris), sunglasses (It doesn't get dark in May until around 9:45pm), wallets, etc. Having a comfortable carry-all bag was so important. One day I even ended up carrying a recyclable bag that I had packed my make up in because it was the only thing that fit everything. All those clutches were for nothing.  Oh well. 

**IN YOUR BAG! You'll need a small foldable reusable bag, a wine key, plastic cups, and a butter knife. The best thing to do in Paris is grab a baguette, a bottle of wine, and some cheese and just chill in the parks. It's gorgeous. The wine it great. The cheese is great. It's relaxing. And when you are doing that, you just get it. Be prepare that while you are doing this, multiple people around you will be making out... they don't call it French kissing for nothing. 

*Extra Phone Charger. Although we actually never really used it except for one day, I think it's a life saver. Knowing you have a charger for your phone relaxes you when you have been walking around for 12 hours and you want to grab dinner before heading back. Knowing you'll be able to turn the phone on and find your way home is priceless. 

*Metro Card. Traveling to other cities makes me appreciate transportation systems. I love a great walking city. The Metro in Paris is easy and drops you off at all of the best spots. Grab a card for the amount of time you'll be there. You won't regret it!

*FitBit. The one thing we wished we had bought before our trip was a FitBit. We walked all day, every day, and I'm convinced we did a good 8-10 miles a day. I wish I knew for sure. Learn from us... Get one before you go. If we could have found a Best Buy equivalent we would bought one, but as far as we could see, there was no such thing.  

I love traveling and hope to do more of it again soon. I definitely think these tips are helpful on any foreign vacation. Have you been to Paris? What are your favorite tips? 

I'm putting together a list of our favorite spots in London and Paris ,including all of our favorite restaurants! I'd love to hear about your top spots!

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