planning a weekend trip in Europe | travel

2019, lifestyle, travel

Hello!

When I first started blogging, my three topics of choice were lifestyle, music and travel and I really did not show that in what I was writing. I’ve made it a little personal goal of mine to write genuinely relevant travel content this year, not ‘I wish I could travel here’ and ‘one day I’ll go to these places’ but stuff that genuinely reflects where I am in terms of travel at the moment.

Long story short, my boyfriend and I have had a trip to Paris in the works since last January (yes, I mean 2018, 13 months ago) and after mishaps getting my boyfriend’s first passport, spontaneously buying EuroStar tickets in November because they were so cheap (£29 per person each way, £116 total – utter bargain, keep an eye on trainline because it’s so worth it in what you save!) and everything else – we’re going to Paris for 3 nights at the end of March.

Slowly I’ve been ticking off the things I need to do – this week I’m going to book a hotel (because gal’s gotta save) and for my boy’s birthday (one whole year after declaring I would take him to Paris in the first place) I wrote up a kind of mock itinerary and sure, he can scrap it and write a whole new one if he likes but wow, I put so much time into it.

(let’s pretend this screenshot of my laptop screen is edgy and creative and not just a bit weird or lazy, I was aiming for edgy okay)

So I’m going to have a little chat about how I made this itinerary – I got a bit hung up on hotels and stuff but a few people on Instagram said not to worry about finding somewhere too fancy because for our first trip to Paris we should spend as much time as we can in the city and where we stay is just somewhere to sleep. So at present I’m hoping to book this ibis hotel which is near the Gare du Nord train station where we’ll be getting the Eurostar too but a couple of people have told me to have a look on AirBNB as well but I’m kind of skeptical and it scares me a bit so if anyone has any AirBNB advice or where to stay in Paris recommendations please do let me know, probably on Instagram is easiest! Or a comment, whatever floats your boat.

But back to my itinerary! I put a lot of research into this but I also made the most of instagram by blocking my boyfriend from seeing my stories (it was a birthday present surprise, I was trying to be subtle!) and asking for recommendations and writing down everything that people had suggested.

And then, like the basic bitch I am, I googled ‘things to do in Paris’ – but more specifically, my sister recommended getting the Paris pass which gets free access to a bunch of attractions. I haven’t bought this (I’ll explain that in a second) but there is a free 120 page guide to the city that I downloaded and scrolled through and made notes of the things I thought Lucas (the boy) and I would be most interested in doing.

From there, I condensed the list to things I actually thought we would do and then I used Google Maps to be able to visually see where all these attractions were to try and group the things that are in similar areas and plan out our days a little bit. Most of Thursday and Sunday are taken by travel but there’s still two full days that we can fit in as much as we can!

When I grouped things I was looking for morning activities, afternoon activities and maybe one evening thing so there’s time for lots of things! Once I could see them all on the map there was a few things that I ruled out because they were so isolated but I grouped things and popped them on the itinerary.

From there I did a little more research into each potential thing and how much tickets or anything would cost and included that and I could also look around each area we’re in for breakfast/lunch/dinner and list a few options. Finding places to eat in advance I really struggled with – I think we’ll mostly just have a look at what’s around us when we’re ready for food and go where’s convenient and looks good but the one thing I have booked is Hard Rock Cafe Paris because I want to make sure we can get a table on Friday night. I’m so excited about it, ever since I went to Hard Rock Cafe in New York I’ve wanted to try as many as possible and I can’t wait.

I’m very aware that we’re not going to follow this itinerary to the letter (other than trains, we can’t miss those) and I’m so happy to go with the flow but I didn’t want to go into this trip with absolutely no plans because I definitely would have missed something amazing.

So that’s how I made our little itinerary and that’s our plans for Paris so far! I definitely want to have another look and potentially book a few bits in advance but I won’t be buying the aforementioned Paris Pass for a few reasons that I want to be explicit about – firstly, I think it’s incredibly expensive. If you’re going to do everything in the guide, then I’m sure it’s worth the money but for a two-full-days-in-city trip it is almost certainly going to be a waste of money. Secondly, developing on that – doing a quick price up of each activity that costs money that I think we’ll be doing and it costs less to buy them all individually than to buy the pass. Thirdly, I think it’s a bit gimmicky – being a tourist doesn’t have to cost that much money and if I wanted to I could definitely do this whole trip without paying for attractions or activities. The website sucks you in with ‘you’ll waste so much money if you don’t buy this pass!’ but when you add it up, it’s just not the case.

If there’s any recommendations or questions about Paris please do leave them in the comments! Although I’ve been on a few amazing trips, I’m still very new to travelling and being entirely responsible for everything we do so all tips and recommendations are welcome!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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2019 Travel Goals

2018, travel

Hello!

It must have been nearly a month ago now when I booked trains for a trip to Paris next March with my boyfriend – I’ve not booked a hotel yet because that’s 2019 Sophie’s money problem!

However, booking the trains and a few other hotels for other little breaks next year has given me a goal for the year – in an ideal world, I’d love to do a little trip every month. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean I want to go abroad every month because that’s just ridiculous. But so far in January I’m going to Newton Abbot for a wedding, in February I’m going on a Centre Parcs holiday (which I’m actually ridiculously excited about), in March I’m going to Paris, in May I’ve got a weekend in London for MCM ComicCon and in November I’m going up to Sheffield (I think?) for a friend’s wedding.

So, in between all of that I think it’s feasible to do another couple of European trips on some of the other months of the year! I just think it’ll be a really nice goal to have a couple of days away each money with my boyfriend, whether it’s visiting friends, a night in London, a new city in the UK or somewhere else completely.

I have so much ambition and next year I’m going to turn things around and really make a life for myself, so why not write blog posts about the ideal world and drive myself to work for it? Either way, I’ve got 7 more months to fill so I thought I’d do a little post on my top 3 European destinations that I’m keeping my eye on for 2019.

Amsterdam – what a stereotypical millennial! I know, but I’ve been dreaming about travelling everywhere I can since I first came back from Tanzania in 2013 and as well as being a stunning city that I’d like to see for myself, Amsterdam is a good place to go for a fairly simple ‘first trip’. I’ve never been on a plane on my own or been the lead traveller, it’s always been a trip lead by a teacher or a lecturer and I feel like Amsterdam is such a popular city to visit that it would be a good first flight trip (with Paris being my first train trip). So it’s a double sided coin – both a good trip for my boyfriend and I learning about travelling and a beautiful city to go see!

Berlin – to be honest, I’ve never been massively drawn to travelling to Germany but it’s an incredible city of culture and I want to learn more about it! It’s not that I didn’t want to go, it’s just that I wasn’t fussed about it, but I think it was that I was so bad at learning the German language in school that the thought of going to a country where I just couldn’t get to grips with the language is a bit daunting. But I can’t be put off by a whole amazing country because the language intimidates me and it’s an opportunity to learn some of the language I’ve convinced myself it was impossible for me to learn!

And last but not least, Santorini – I think I mentioned it in my last travel post but I’m fascinated by Greece and I think in the summer or around my birthday maybe a week in the sun could be really lovely. Last summer I was so jealous of everyone posting pictures from sunny summer holidays and it was extra frustrating because I just couldn’t comprehend having the money for a summer holiday but this year I’m going to make sure I have a summer holiday for myself! This one is top of my list I think, maybe a birthday-off-summer-season-beach holiday please.

If nothing else it’s all really motivating me to save for travelling and maybe a bigger trip in the future and I can’t wait! If you have any recommendations or travel advice please do let me know in the comments, on twitter or on Instagram – I post on Instagram every single day so I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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places I want to travel right now

2018, lifestyle, travel

Hello!

I’ve not written a travel post for a while, but I thought I’d write a little post about the top 3 places I want to travel right now because my beloved boyfriend finally got a passport! For his birthday in January part of his present was that I’d take him to Paris and he needed to get himself a passport before we could go.

Here we are nine months later and he’s just got a passport and no trip is booked.

But having seen so many people’s holidays on Instagram Stories, I’ve been collating a little list of places I’d like to go as my first look into organising my own travel and thought I’d write about them (mostly so I don’t forget).

Paris – to be honest, Paris hasn’t always been top of my list but I think considering my boyfriend has never left the country before, it’s only a short flight away from the UK (or the Eurostar if you didn’t fancy flying!) and I imagine the architecture there is beautiful. Obviously it’s quite commercial and a huge tourist spot but especially having been to New York, sometimes the tourist spots aren’t a bad thing! Especially for my first time there, I want to see everything and I’ll search out the more indie niche places another time.

Santorini – I’ll be honest, most of my experience with the beautiful islands of Greece has been from Insta Stories and YouTube vlogs but I’ve kind of had a digital love affair with Santorini for a few years now. It looks like an absolutely beautiful place, I’m definitely already thinking about the Instagram pictures and the Instax pictures would be just stunning. Obviously, I don’t really want to go to Santorini just for the pictures but it just looks like a stunning island that I’d love to visit.

Athens – back to Greece again! I loved Greek mythology when I was younger and the history and legends surrounding Greek culture really intrigue me and I’d love to go to the heart of Greece and see where it all originated. I’d need to do more research on what specifically I’d like to see in Athens but I imagine it wouldn’t take me too long to make a pretty exhaustive list.

I appreciate that two of these places are in Greece but what can I say – I think these would be good for first time trips as they’re not super long haul flights and I can’t imagine too much can go wrong, but I still have big places like Thailand, Australia/New Zealand and more of America on my list too!

If and when I get round to going to these places, I’ll definitely document the process, share anything I learn along the way and write about where I’m going! I love having my little space that I can look back on when I’m older.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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