Take it from me, there’s a lot that can be forgotten before you leave on your trip to Paris. For example, if you use a debit card, you don’t want to forget to call your bank or credit card company to let them know you’re going to be out of the country.
If you’re used to using American Express, realize it’s not accepted by some merchants and brasseries. It was embarrassing when our waiter told me, after our first meal, that my credit card was rejected. This was especially embarrassing since my father-in-law, Dick Young, asked me with a grin, “Aren’t you the survival guy?”
With that in mind, make sure you buy your euros before you leave. You hit the ground running. Actually, it’s quite relaxing thanks to your greeter whisking you through the gauntlet of buses, trains, customs, baggage claim, to your awaiting car service. But, you will need to have euros at the ready for proper tipping. And you’ll need them for the staff greeting you at the hotel too.
How much do euros cost? Today, one euro costs $1.18, but it will most likely cost around $1.25, for example, at your bank because of transaction fees.
Next, contact your cell phone carrier and find the best international plan based on your expected use. I’ve had problems with this in the past so it helps to talk with someone who knows what the best plan will be for you. For me, I got AT&T’s Silver plan but ended up exceeding my data allotment. Most of this was from browsing the internet without access to Wi-Fi. I had no idea shopping for shoes could take so long.
Speaking of shopping, take the time to photocopy your passport. You will need proof if you apply for your tax refund and copies are accepted. No need to risk losing it while your touring the streets of Paree. Keep your passport tucked away in the safe in your room.
In terms of peace of mind, I like to review the map of the airport before I leave simply to see where the terminal is located. Here’s a map of Paris-Charles De Gaulle Airport. I also like to have a sturdy pen or pencil, and a Dick Young recommended Travel Wrench.
Finally, try and learn a few basic words in French. Your efforts will be appreciated. But, at the end of the day some phrases are universally understood, such as, carte de credit rejetee.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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