Out the door ten minutes early, packing and repacking my bag, following my schedule to a T. These are all things I do constantly because I live life by my planner. When faced with traveling for 3 weeks, I thought every nano-second of our trip had to be planned out. Turns out, keeping an open schedule and a carefree mind was one of the best travel decisions I’ve ever made.
Here’s what I learned.
Had this been our normal week-long vacation, I would have blown a gasket over a travel delay. When faced with 2 flight delays and 2 train delays, I didn’t bat an eye. Instead, I embraced it. We’ll get there when we get there and getting there is half the fun! However, being stuck at Charles de Gaulle Airport during a security threat when the airport is shut down is pretty stressful!
Schedules are for work, not a trip.
With the exception of a few excursions and Disneyland Paris, we had an open schedule nearly everyday and it was lovely. Being in a place for a short period of time is always hard when there is so much to see. I believe because we didn’t have a schedule, we saw a lot more and were able to do more things. Plus, we stumbled across a few hidden gems we otherwise wouldn’t have found.
I had a budget all planned out for this trip and I thought it would be easy to stick to it. I was wrong. I’ve always heard people say you’ll spend double what you plan on spending. They were right. We blew our budget by 48%. So, here is me officially saying you’ll spend double what you plan on spending. We’ll remember this when saving for our next trip. Luckily, we had enough put back to cover the huge hiccup!
Doing laundry on the road sucks.
With us only taking travel packs, we had to pack lightly which meant doing laundry while we were on the go. Folks, let me just say that doing laundry in a hotel sink is about as complicated as herding walruses. From now on, I’ll be over-packing.
Leave your comfort zones at home.
Several times, I was pushed out of my comfort zone – walking through Paris’s red light district after dark, ordering food in a language I couldn’t understand, and being around leprechauns. Okay, so the last one didn’t happen. At the time, I struggled with it, but now I think you’re not getting the whole experience if you’re not living out of your comfort zone. Seeing, doing, or trying something new is why we travel.
Embrace the culture.
Drinking a pint of Guinness before lunch on a Tuesday or wandering through a cemetery for the fun of it doesn’t exactly fit in our American ways. Where we went, however, it is totally normal. While I didn’t particularly like seeing tweens wearing booty shorts and revealing tops in Paris, no one seemed to bat an eye there – it’s just part of their culture!Learning a few words in the local language and putting your new skills to the test is exciting. There’s no better way to experience a place than to dive in and act like a local. Embrace the culture, go with the flow, and have fun dammit!