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Have guidebooks, will travel

Guidebooks

If I had known how much preparation goes into planning an international vacation, I’m not sure if I would have decided to jet off to London and Paris on a moment’s notice. However, the plane tickets are booked and the Eurostar train pass is purchased, so it’s full speed ahead and damn do those hi-speed trains go fast!

I have 9 days left until my departure and the last two weeks have been a crash course on how to travel. For instance, make reservations early. I kept putting off making reservations until I had time to read the guidebooks and suddenly it was less than 3 weeks before departure and OMG I NEED TO FIND A PLACE TO SLEEP THAT IS NOT A PARK BENCH. I spent a whole day in a panic trying to find a hotel that wouldn’t bankrupt me or give me bedbugs after reading that the Paris hostels were maybe not the best. Similarly, I kept putting off buying my train ticket through the chunnel from London to Paris until I could figure out my itinerary and suddenly there were almost no cheap seats left.

I’ve been spending what little free time I have reading the guidebooks, browsing a bazillion travel sites, and finally reading everyone’s comments on my vacation entry about three weeks after y’all left them. I feel like I can tell the right bank from the left bank now and have a list of things I’d like to do and see, so I’m feeling better and not like I’m going to gnaw my fingertips off in anxiety. I just have to figure out the public transit systems, alert my bank that I’ll be in Europe so they don’t freeze my accounts when I hit a London ATM, buy a money belt, buy packing cubes, buy an electric plug converter and about another million things which I have carefully written out in a list so I will not freak out about them. Not freaking out here.

Thank you to everyone for all your tips. As my mom said, “You have so many more resources available than I did when I traveled around the world. I went in so blindly.” It’s true. I booked my hotel online after reading reviews and didn’t have to speak a syllable of French. I’ve looked at Tube maps online, gotten kindly invitations to grab a pint from readers, and even though I have a lot to do before I go it’s only because I have so much information available and KNOW I have a lot to do instead of just flitting across the ocean and freaking out AFTER I’m able to do anything about it.

The only piece of advice I am totally turning up my nose at is the “Don’t wear sneakers” suggestion. I have bizarre feet. Most shoes are uncomfortable. If I’m going to be walking miles and miles across Europe I’m going to damn well wear my running shoes. I don’t care if this is the equivalent of tattooing the American flag on my forehead. I refuse to bleed in my shoes like Cinderella’s sisters (Grimm fairy tale version). There is also no way I’m going to try to find a pair of comfortable non-sneaker walking shoes a week before I leave and simply HOPE they do not cut into my skin and leave me with blisters. So, thanks for the advice on the shoes, guys, but I gotta’ go my own way on this one. Walk a mile in my shoes with my feet and you’d understand.

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51 Comments

KateG • May 1, 2009 at 9:48 am

So excited for you! And a bit jealous I have to admit. But excited. The first trip to Europe is the best. You’ll be fine with the sneakers, and it really is best to wear shoes you know will be comfortable for lots of walking. Probably everyone will know you are American anyway. When I went to Italy and Greece a couple of years ago, I consciously tried to pack clothes that looked less American, and people still knew I was one anyway. Well, there were a couple of times when my friends and I were mistaken for German (we were all blondes) which was amusing, but ultimately unhelpful as none of us spoke German.

And finally, yay, you got Lonely Planet!

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Tara • May 1, 2009 at 9:59 am

You should look into Blundstones for your feet if they’re weird. I don’t think you’d get them broken in by the time you leave on this trip, but you might like them for kicking around Indiana too!

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Cathleen • May 1, 2009 at 10:13 am

I wear sneakers every time I travel — and trust me, I’m not the only one! I have a friend who sometimes goes with me; she always wants to look cute so she wears dress shoes or boots with heels, and she routinely ends up in GREAT PAIN.

Besides, people will know you’re not from there as soon as you open your mouth anyway. Why try to hide it?

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cathleen • May 1, 2009 at 10:14 am

I clicked on submit before I remembered that what I really wanted to say was, have a GREAT great great time!

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town mouse • May 1, 2009 at 10:49 am

It’s all right – we all love Americans again anyway, because of your new pres…

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Allison Ball • May 1, 2009 at 11:11 am

I’ve been to Europe twice. The greatest tip I have ever received was to take old clothes you don’t really care about anymore and leave them there! It works well, because you have plenty of space in your luggage for souvenirs on the way home. If you don’t want to do that I would recommend doing laundry in a country you can read and understand the language. I tried to do laundry in Paris…it did not go so well. I do not know French, why did I think I could read and understand the instructions at the laundry mat? Also, if you are staying at hotels with continental breakfasts, take ziploc baggies and “pack” your lunch and snacks at breakfast. It sounds cheesy, but it will save you plenty of money in the long run. Other than that, enjoy yourself and drink plenty of water. Also, use the bathroom whenever you have the chance. Sometimes the bathrooms aren’t easily accessible and if they are accessible you have to pay to use them:(

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jennywenny • May 1, 2009 at 11:26 am

Have a wonderful time! Dont try to fit in too much stuff!

Sneakers sound good if they keep your feet happy.

I love my simple sneakers, they do take a little wearing in but they are cute and comfy.

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Rachel • May 1, 2009 at 11:28 am

Yea! Leaving on a jet plane….. okay so I’m not John Denver. :) My only request is take lots and lots of pictures and share them all with us. Oh, and have a great time. My MP3 player makes a huge difference on long flights too.

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Aline • May 1, 2009 at 11:56 am

There are sneakers and there are sneakers – I wear these a lot right now:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41VByTuNOML._AA280_.jpg

And they are comfortable as hell and fit my wide feet. Those are not sneakers which would make you look American.

But hey, it’s not the worst thing in the world to be recognized as American. At least nobody will try to speak French to you.

And I agree with the majority of the posters of your previous post – French men are HOT. Don’t smile at the old dudes but there is nothing wrong with a cute, young Frenchie. I have worked with a lot of French guys and they are the most charming and sweetest men ever. They are like young boys who never grew up. They are not pushy like Italian (who are also hot but not as nice) or Spanish guys. They just wanna flirt and be cute.

And English men are fun too.

I say flirt as much as you can. Nobody knows you there, you can call yourself Chantal and say you are a Southern Belle who trains horses for a living.

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TOWR • May 1, 2009 at 11:58 am

Boy, you aren’t kidding on the prep time for a European vacation. I’ve probably spent 50 hours (that’s a conservative number) looking at flights, hotels, car rentals, tourist sites, etc. to figure out the whats, whens, and whys of our trip (leaving in 26 days!). Planning takes a lot of time, but it’s well worth it in the end. I actually gathered all our information (hotels, flights, car rental, tourist things we want to do/see), printed three copies, and bound them in school report folders. That way I have a copy, my friend has a copy (that’s two copies in Europe in case one gets lost) and my parents have a copy so they can tell/fax me the info in the unfortunate event that both our European folders get lost. We probably won’t even lose one, but I like to be prepared. (And since we’re staying at TEN different hotels, we definitely need the preparation.)

I agree with you about the shoes. Wear the most comfortable ones you have, because your feet are going to kill, even in those. :)

I’m so excited to hear about your trip!

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she overflows • May 1, 2009 at 11:59 am

Hmm…I didn’t know that sneakers would tag you as an American. I will have to remember that if I ever plan a trip to Europe! haha.

I hope you have a blast!

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Jenn • May 1, 2009 at 12:07 pm

You bought Rick Steves!! I really enjoyed his travel books and approach to getting off the beaten path. When I went overseas I wore brown leather hiking books which gave my ankles more support than tennis shoes. But if sneakers feel best, then do what you must do. And enjoy yourself!

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vivi • May 1, 2009 at 12:30 pm

wearing sneakers is like tatooing the american flag on your forehead… yes, but… do you really care? You have three options: don’t wear sneakers, wear sneakers (people think you’re probably american) and wear sneakers and a cap (people will know for sure you are american).

Do you know sockets in England are different than in France? Both run on 220 V (unlike the US) but besides the converter 110V to 220V you’ll need an adapter to make this:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_I5ep3WFhLiU/SIedJjHOQfI/AAAAAAAAAfA/BQWsf2ZB55U/s320/enchufe.gif

fit into this:

http://www.forolondres.com/enchufes.jpg

in England.

In France (and the rest of Europe), sockets look like this:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Yw__JkEYsHc/R76WbqDZW-I/AAAAAAAABqU/bX1bunHHu7s/s320/enchufe_electrico_internet.jpg

Have fun!

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logtar • May 1, 2009 at 12:45 pm

I have never been to Europe but really want to, and I actually had no clue that there was a train from London to Paris. Kind of awesome. Bon Voyage.

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victoria • May 1, 2009 at 12:59 pm

I went to Paris a few years ago. I spent a year working on my French and reading about French culture. I was convinced that it would be so unforgivably gauche to wear sneakers or running shoes that I packed only my most fashionable, elegant shoes for the trip.

I was in agony. Those shoes were perfectly comfortable for my normal life at the office, when I walked only a few hundred yards each day, but they were by no means adequate for tromping miles and miles around Paris. My feet were blistered and exausted, and all I could think about, the whole trip, was how much my feet hurt.

I’m going back to Paris this summer, and THIS TIME I’m wearing running shoes, and good, thick, cushy socks, everywhere. I’m leaving my $900 Lanvin platform stilettoes at home, even though they add 6″ to my height and make me look willowy and sexy, because none of those French people is ever going to see me again, anyway. If we go out to a nice restaurant, I’ll wear a soft, cushy pair of ballerina flats.

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Rina • May 1, 2009 at 1:11 pm

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wearing sneakers, but it’s not true that you can’t find comfortable shoes that look like shoes. I wore sneakers exclusively until I discovered the Clarks brand of shoes – they have lots of different styles, most of which are very comfortable, and some which are just clouds strapped to your feet. Highly recommend. They are actually a British brand, so you could buy a pair there. But it would be cheaper to buy it here in USD than there in GBP. Good luck and enjoy!

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msmezzo • May 1, 2009 at 1:14 pm

My first trip to Europe was about 10 years ago, and I am re-living that excitement through you! I travel a lot now, and heres some things I have learned along the way. ONLY wear comfortable shoes. Leave the uncomfortable but cute ones at home. Wear the comfortable ones on the plane, pack one dressier pair for “going out” and you’re done with the shoe thing. Think about only packing a carry on. You won’t be seeing the same people everyday, and they won’t know you wore that same outfit three times already. And if they do know, they won’t care. Bring stuff you can wash in the sink, roll up in a towel to wring it out and hang in the shower. This has worked for me everywhere (Tokyo, Marrakesh, Germany, you name it). Even if you forget something, you will be sure to be able to buy it and get something cute you can say later at home “oh this shirt? I bought it in Paris last summer” At the end of the trip (usually a month or so) I never want to see those outfits again, but I so love not having to check a bag. I am low-maintenance in regard to beauty products, so I only bring travel size shampoo, deodorant and toothpaste. There are pharmacies all over the world, and you will always be able to buy what you need, and try some new/weird stuff along the way. (France has the most awesome beauty products…!!)

I sort of cringed when you said “money belt”. I treat my money and important papers the same way I do at home…very carefully…and I have never had a problem, even in the souks of Marrakesh, where pick-pocketing is all the rage. The worst that happened there was having my backside explored by a randy 16yo Moroccan, but thats another story.

Sorry for the long comment. Can’t wait to hear how your plans shape up. Preparation is part of the fun!

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Jessica • May 1, 2009 at 2:01 pm

You have probably already heard this, but I always make several copies of my passport, birth certificate, driver’s license and write down the numbers and phone numbers from my credit card and ATM card. I keep one set in my suitcase, one in my daypack, and leave one at home with my parents. That way if you somehow lose them, you have copies to bring to a US Embassy, or can call the US to get the numbers from your mom. I think you will be fine in London and Paris, but my brother-in-law was mugged in Barcelona and he canceled the credit card within minutes and so felt good that the thieves only got away with a few bucks. Also for the shoes- unless you are used to wearing your sneakers every single day all day, bring another pair of shoes as well. The streets and sidewalks in France somehow still kill my feet even in my most comfortable most broken in running shoes. I bring two pairs and alternate days so my feet aren’t always in the same position as I walk. One day after running shoes all day even my dress shoes felt more comfortable just because they were different than what I had worn all day! Have fun! I am SO JEALOUS!

Jessica

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Quix • May 1, 2009 at 2:24 pm

No constructive comments, since I’ve never been out of North America, besides have fun, be safe, and I’m jealous! I’d be more jealous if I wasn’t going to Vegas around that time too though, tee hee.

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Villia • May 1, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Oh please, I spent a lot time in Europe in the last 15 years and every bit of that time was in sneakers. That’s old info. Europeans wear them too! Be comfortable, be friendly and you’ll have a great time.

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Rebecca Hoover • May 1, 2009 at 2:52 pm

LOL, I remember those pics of your feet. Go with the sneakers, sister! Can’t wait to hear about the trip.

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Loup • May 1, 2009 at 2:57 pm

In London – don’t miss what is called the Queen’s walk (along the Tower bridge) and Covent Garden (Do try to catch a show there, its brilliant), Camden Market is another interesting place to visit.

Paris – Please don’t miss Montmartre and there is a small bakery off the Eiffel Tower towards Les Invalides where they serve the most heavenly croissants at 6.30 AM.. don’t ask :). Grab a picnic basket and lunch at the Tuilleries.

BTW – there are buses from London Victoria to Paris – think its slightly more than an overnighter and its quite cheap and comfortable. Would be worth checking out National Express.

Hope you have a wonderful trip :-)

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Aline • May 1, 2009 at 3:08 pm

@Villia – as I said before, depends what kind of sneakers you mean. I was talking about the white, mesh, running shoe variety. I have lived the first 27 years of my life in different countries in Europe and no, Europeans do not wear running shoes to do anything. Well, I am sure some do but 99% of the people don’t.

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being recognized as American and there is definitely nothing wrong with being American – I am married to a really great one. But some people just want to just be left alone and thus want to be unrecognizable. I am one of those people.

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Aline • May 1, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Oh and in Paris – you have to check out the Shakespeare Company! Such a special place – read up on it – I am sure it’s in your Lonely Planet.

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Libby • May 1, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Hiya

Don’t worry about wearing sneakers (known as trainers) here in London – many people do. Smart ofice workers wear them for commuting and change at work. People like me are lucky and can wear them at work too.

Have a fab time. I hope we treat you well :)

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Liz • May 1, 2009 at 3:20 pm

I spent a few days in Paris several years ago at the end of backpacking trip. Because I knew I had limited time and didn’t want to spend a ton of time on the metro, I bought a relatively inexpensive ticket for a line of hop-on-hop-off tour buses. It was the best decision I made. You see every site that you’re “supposed to” and get to stop off at the places you really want to explore. For me it was the Musee D’Orsay, which I highly recommend.

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Mary • May 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Very exciting! I’ve been twice now and Paris is so beautiful! Wear the sneakers – be comfortable – just not the Old Granny Orthopedic White on White ones. And while you’re over there buy some European Kicks as they are just too cool to pass up.

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Pam • May 1, 2009 at 3:34 pm

I am an American living in Europe and trust me, even the Europeans wear sneakers. Have a great time, but don’t be so focused on your list that you forget to go with the moment. Some of the most amazing travel experiences are those that aren’t planned, but just happen.

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Penelope • May 1, 2009 at 6:18 pm

I’m SO happy you’re going!! And I’ll be anxiously awaiting your report back!!

Paris is amazing! My husband and I are VERY American looking (i.e., tennis shoes and overweight) and the French people could NOT have been nicer! We’re both friendly and I even *attempted* to speak French…it’s amazing how far a nice “Bon Jour!” will get you. Highly recommend Musee D’Orsay. Also highly recommend the bus system in Paris. While both the Metro and bus system are SUPER easy to use and very clearly marked (the easiest I’ve seen in the other European cities I’ve been to – rome, athens, prague, madrid…maybe others?) the bus is so great because you get to see the beautiful city pass by rather than being underground.

HAVE FUN PQ!!!!!!!!!

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Lee • May 1, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Wise choice on the shoes.

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Karen • May 1, 2009 at 7:44 pm

I’ve been to Europe many times, and Europeans wear sneakers! And so can you BUT just be choosy in the pair you decide to wear. Big white ones are out and will generally make you stand out like a sore thumb, but you can blend in wearing sleek black Adidas or Pumas.

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Karen • May 1, 2009 at 7:48 pm

@Karen – Also, I wanted to add that you can go shopping and perfectly match a Parisian street outfit and, believe, everyone will still be able to tell that you’re American. Don’t worry too much about that (but do invest in a pair of black sneakers).

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Lydia • May 1, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Say “Bonjour” a lot in France and you’ll get along. Your compulsive smiling will go a long way. Don’t worry about the shoes. What you DON’T want are sore feet to ruin your time. Have fun and if you can, please tell us all about it, with pictures, when you get back!

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BridgetJones • May 1, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Have a great trip! You earned it!

I was looking at the travel books you have, and wondered if you had read anything from the “Culture Shock” series. You might like to read one about France or one about England. But the funniest book in the series is “USA” lol. Apparently we Americans are inscrutable!

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leah • May 1, 2009 at 8:34 pm

Sneakers, schmeakers. I have chronic pain problems and weird feet, too. I figured that as a plump, 6 foot tall woman, I had no hope of blending in, anyway.

Funny, the only disparaging looks I got re: my footwear was on the TGV to Paris. An elderly gentleman looked me up and down and shook his head in dismay.

I also wore skorts all over Europe and they freaked people out. They would stare at me like they’d never seen these “1/2 shorts, 1/2 skirt” monstrosities before. This was in ’98, so they were plenty “in” in America. :)

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Deb • May 1, 2009 at 8:51 pm

I stayed in the smallest hotel room known to man when I stayed in Paris. It was comical. I was with a friend so there were 2 beds. But they had to be so close together to fit in the room that we may as well have been sleeping in the same bed.

You’ll have so much fun!

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Suzanne • May 1, 2009 at 9:17 pm

I have to second the person who said to say “bonjour” when you enter a store. It’s the polite thing to do in France, and although they will instantly know that you are American, they’ll be nice to you and will attempt to speak English, though that may not always be a lot better. Don’t worry about hotels, the concierge almost always speaks English. But make sure that you know a little train/metro lingo, as I think I ran into one ticket seller who spoke English well enough to help me. The key phrase is “Un carnet, s’il vous plait,” which gets you 10 paper tickets (unless they’ve updated their system). It’s more convenient than buying them singly, and better for you ’cause I think they only sell passes in 1 month increments. Also, my only frustration in Paris were the skeevy dudes who tried to scam every tourist there. I feigned lack of French-ability (“je ne parle pas francais”), but it doesn’t always work. Have fun! Eat some chocolate croissants (pain au chocolat) and try remembering the meats you do like, ’cause the list of weird meats in France is long and extensive, unless you’re into that sort of gamble.

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Jennifer • May 1, 2009 at 10:24 pm

I grew up in Germany when I was a child, and went back to visit after college graduation wtih my brother (who was living there at the time) in 1994. We went to France, Spain and Italy via eurail. It was AWESOME. Such a cool thing to do when you are young and childless! However, must add…..we did get scabies. Just sayin’. Good luck and have a wonderful time!

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Shannon • May 2, 2009 at 12:51 am

I’ve lurked here for years but never posted. ;) If you’re still looking for places to stay, we stayed at http://hoxtonhotels.com/ in London (really cheap on the weekends!), http://www.hotel-marignan.com/ in Paris (also inexpensive and a good location). I *highly* recommend http://www.parismuseumpass.com/en/home.php – not sure how many days you’re going to be in Paris, but definitely pick up a museum pass for at least two days. It’s worth the price for a short line to get into the Louvre.

Enjoy some macarons and other tasty treats – and the sneakers are so worth it. ;) If you can, bring a pedometer – we averaged 10 miles a day in London and about the same in Paris, rarely taking the Tube or Metro.

Have a great time!!!

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Bb • May 2, 2009 at 3:08 am

Someone has probably already said this, but it sounds like the places you are visiting are very tourist oriented. Wearing sneakers won’t be a huge faux pas. However, once you see all the women in their wonderfully coordinated outfits and fabulous shoes, you’ll probably want to swing into a shoe store just to try some on.

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annie b • May 2, 2009 at 6:17 am

I’m very excited for you! I first went to France at age 29 (when I lived in Texas) and felt why did I wait so long? I’ve caught the travel bug since. Now I live in the UK.

About footwear, just be comfortable. It’s true we don’t wear white sneakers and jeans over here, well it’s very rare. Dark colored sneakers are more the norm. Rockport and Merrell brand walking shoes are great. In the UK, there is Clarks. In France, you can go to Mephisto shops.

But who cares about white sneakers and looking American? If you smile, if you are friendly, if you are not unrealistically demanding, if you appreciate the sights you will see, locals and other tourists will be nice to you (if they still aren’t, that’s their problem) and you will have a great experience. That’s all that matters.

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annie b • May 2, 2009 at 10:20 am

this is a great site for the public transport in paris

http://www.ratp.info/orienter/plans.php

you can click on ‘metro’ or ‘bus’. personally, i prefer to take the buses because you see a lot more. and the buses in paris are so organised, all the stops are marked (as you can see on the site) and announced on the bus, so it’s hard to get lost. but if you are going from one corner of paris to the other, taking the metro is faster.

i also prefer to take the bus in london, sit on the top level. have fun!

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Marla • May 2, 2009 at 5:40 pm

I am certainly not a sophisticated world traveler, but here is my big advice based on my own experience: don’t drive yourself crazy trying to see EVERYthing. Pick one thing per day that you really want to see, and spend the rest of the day wandering around seeing what happens. There are so many serendipitous adventures that won’t ever happen if you’re on a rigid schedule. For me, although I love seeing museums and monuments and all the famous stuff, I also love walking through a neighborhood and eating at the local greasy spoon and trying to experience what living there would be like.

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Melissa Fast • May 3, 2009 at 8:20 am

Curb water consumption. I drink a LOT of water, but I found public bathrooms are not nearly as numerous in France as in the States! Taking individual packets of tissues also helps.

The best hot chocolate can be found at Angelina’s – 226 rue de Rivoli, 1st Arrondissement, Paris; phone: 011 331 42 60 82 00 (from the US). It’s a couple blocks from the Louvre. It instantly transplanted me into Wonka’s Chocolate Factory!

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Rachel • May 3, 2009 at 8:47 am

Just remember, some of the best places aren’t found in guidebooks, they are places that you end up finding by accident!

My new travel site addiction is this one:

http://www.bravenewtraveler.com/

Great resources to be had!

Have a wonderful trip!

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Mary • May 3, 2009 at 6:01 pm

PQ, I just got back from Paris and lived there when I was your age. I too say go with the sneakers! One of the great joys of Paris is how walkable it is, a city on a human scale. I see s/o sent you a link to the RATP (public transport) site, which is interactive. You can find out exactly where a bus or metro stop is.

Don’t know what your hotel budget is, but you might want to look at the Citadines chain (citadines.com). These are apartment hotels. I once stayed at the St. Germain Citadines which was an ideal location. Some of the less central ones would have lower rates, though. If you can afford a little studio in one of these hotels, like the Bastille-Marais or Place d’Italie ones, you could save a lot on food and have the pleasure of shopping for your breakfast.

On this last trip I discovered Monop stores which are little food markets with lots of prepared meal items that looked delicious. You could get nutrition info that way, too. Have you checked out Chocolate and Zucchini blog? Clotilde, the blogger and author (a web developer and writer like you) has great hints about lunch places.

Secrets of Paris is a blog written by an American expat that’s full of great info.

I like Rick Steves but would never stay anywhere he recommends for fear of being surrounded by Steves readers!

Have you heard about the Velib, the rental bikes found all over Paris? There seems to be some problem renting them b/c you need a credit card with a “puce” (chip), but you could probably figure that out.

Have a wonderful trip.

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Keebler • May 3, 2009 at 8:37 pm

I think people are way crazy with how much prep they are saying you have to do! I’ve never even booked a hotel before going to Latin America–and my Barcelona trip was booked about a week ahead of time. I just circled some things I wanted to see and brought a map. No problems, and had a blast. Speaking the language helps, but tourist industry-fueled areas speak the language of American tourists, always. Don’t worry and have fun.

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vivi • May 4, 2009 at 4:26 am

Sneakers issue. (In case you are worried about it):

Because an image is worth a thousand words, here in Europe people walk in the street, go to school, work, etc. wearing shoes like these:

http://www.kicksonfire.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/adidas-gonz-superstar-vulc.jpg

But these are only for running and no one wears them to work:

http://cn1.kaboodle.com/hi/img/2/0/0/32/8/AAAAAvz0QQwAAAAAADKIpw.jpg

Cheers and have fun :)

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AndyS • May 4, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Love the site and it’s DEFINITELY the right thing to do to take the plunge and travel – sneakers or not! The only things you’ll need are a sense of adventure and an idea what to do – there’s loads of London ideas on how not to spend a fortune on http://www.moneysavinglondon.com. And make sure you take what Rick says with a pinch of salt. If you see loads of other people nosedeep in his guidebook in the same place, it’s time to throw it away and explore for yourself!

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Sassy Molassy • May 4, 2009 at 7:20 pm

You’re going to have an awesome time! I leave this Friday for Europe-Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Switzerland (not sure what cities yet), Paris, Munich and Berlin and back to ITaly for Venice and flying out of Rome. Finding cheap but decent places to stay is not easy, but we’re only booking a few cities out because we want to have a flexible trip to some degree in case we say “hey, we want to stay here a little longer” or go somewhere else entirely.

And, I’m with you on the shoe thing. I know I’ve said it before. My feet are awful as well. I’m taking with me…my favorite pair of running shoes, teva shoes http://www.zappos.com/n/p/p/7374010/c/104455.html and some flip flops. Comfort is more important than fashion when you’re going to be on your feet all day, every day for hours on end.

Have a blast!

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bloomie • May 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm

I lived in London.

My not to miss spots that aren’t so touristy are

- Borough Market (the most AMAZING farmers/artisnal market in the world)

- Kew Gardens

- Hampstead Heath

- See a show at the Globe – they’re even doing Romeo and Juliet this season! It is the most amazing theater you will ever go to in your life.

- The pubs in Wapping on the Thames are unreal, 400 years old and gorgeous.

- Eat Indian food (or as they’ll merely say curry) – it’s the best outside of Southeast Asia.

- Watch a football (ie:soccer) match in a pub

- And the most British thing you can do is get rip roaringly drunk and make out with a stranger!

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The Making of CHOCOLATE & VICODIN
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European Vacation

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