Never did the world make a queen of a girl who hides in houses and dreams without traveling. ~ Roman Payne
If you’re a twin or a triplet, you may have experienced something different, but few of us came into this world holding someone else’s hand.
Maybe you needed one or two good pushes from Mom but in the end, you took off boldly ~ and alone ~ on the biggest trip of your life to date.
And you’re still here!
So don’t let being “alone” keep you from traveling where you want to go now.
I had a TERRIFIC time on my last trip to Paris and say so to everyone who asks. Yet I still get the question, “But you went by yourself?!”
You’d better believe it. I traveled solo and arranged it all without much lead time.
Whether you’re going to Paris or any other large city, you can do the same.
Your Solo Trip to Paris
1. DECIDE YOU’RE GOING. The only thing you “can’t” do is put this off any longer. Prices are not going down and you are getting older. And you will come to regret the great things you didn’t do.
2. MAKE A LIST. Write down all the things you want to do and see in your travels. Get a good guide book to help you. And browse travel magazines like National Geographic Traveler or Afar for articles featuring your destination. Schedule at least one place or activity on the calendar for each day of your trip, but no more than two. You want to leave room for serendipity like enjoying this father-son game of chess at the Musée de Cluny, where you can view the largest collection of medieval art in France.
3. ENLIST A CREW. Share your travel plans with like-minded folks who will cheer you on. You may not know many in your circle of friends – if you did, you probably wouldn’t be reading this – but you’ll find oodles of travel lovers online. You’ll also find some among the members of foreign language and cultural groups within your local community. That was how I fell in with a great group of experienced globetrotters who were super-generous with sharing fun, current info about Paris and enthusiasm for the trip I was planning.
Now, there’s a wide sampling of restaurant and attraction reviews at Trip Advisor, of course. But you can strike gold with sites tailored to your specific needs and travel focus, like those dedicated to serving the needs of solo travelers.
4. PRIORITIZE. Certain activities and places will stand out more than others in your research. Zero in on these. Pay attention to those “I-never-thought-about doing-THAT-before” ideas offered by travelers in the crew you’ve enlisted to support you. For instance, I’d never seriously considered going to the Montparnasse Tower before. Such an ugly building that doesn’t belong in Paris, I thought. (Still do.) But, the view from the top is beautiful and now I can say I’ve seen it, too.
5. SECURE YOUR NEST. I’m all for renting an apartment if you’re going to stay more than a few days in one location. Lodging in a cozy space with generous sleeping and living space with a kitchen – even if you don’t cook! – will help you feel at home more quickly in an otherwise strange place than a single room hotel unit ever could. And you can often obtain a short-term rental for half the cost of a comparable hotel room.
6. GET LOCALLY CONNECTED. You’ll enjoy yourself more if you know someone there. Typing “Paris” or any other go-to city in the prompt at Meetup.com, for example, is a great way to find others who speak your language and are doing things you like to do. If you’re a person of faith, joining in with groups regularly worshipping in your city is another way, and the route I took. At The Bridge, an English-speaking church on the Paris outskirts, you meet people from all over the world, including France. And you can enjoy a fun time out with the photography club taking pictures, drinking café, and eating chocolates (of course.)
7. BOOK IT. I recommend you follow a two-step process here. First, research flights by getting an overview of all those offered through sites such as Travelocity, Expedia, or Priceline, to name a few. Second, once you find your flight(s) of choice, book through the individual airline. The process is smoother. Plus, direct communication with the airline is key when disruptions to your itinerary occur. Like when the day before your return flight an air traffic controller strike causes your flight to be canceled and you need to re-book but quick! (Oh, yeah, it happened to me.)