First real post on the blog and I am going big! HA
So, I just turned 30. Milestone birthday! AND I got to celebrate it BIG! I have always wanted to go to London and Paris… and now we have!
I want to try to do a recap of London and Paris separately with pics and highlights of the trip and such, but here I will go into some of the planning.
We have been wanting to do a big trip for quite some time and I have always been having my eye on trip deals. I have been socking some money to the side for such a moment that we decided to take the plunge. Just after this last Christmas, we decided we just needed to go for it. Add in that we would use this trip to celebrate 13 years together (February), my 30th birthday (March), and our 5 year wedding anniversary (July)= Perfect!
So where to go? We tossed around ideas but I kept coming back to London and Paris. From there it kept evolving. Originally, Tim just wanted to go to one place and focused more on London. I kept looking at even a day trip to Paris with the train, but was noticing by expanding a couple days we could definitely do BOTH! Got Tim on my side and boom we had our “where”. As for the when- we decided to go around my birthday since it is still technically winter/spring pricing, which is more affordable than summer pricing- PLUS MY BIRTHDAY, HELLO!
I contacted a travel agent we had used in the past, as well as looking at like Costco travel deals and other online packages, but everything was more than we could and wanted to spend. Where to start doing it on our own?? I found an online travel agency that helped adjust travel dates and hotels to see what was out there and affordable- then I took that information and used…. Expedia! And it worked out great! Booked the flights (Chicago to London, Paris to Chicago) roundtrip, then also fine-tuned the hotel search and booked those as well. Being an Expedia member gets you a little bit more of a discount too! Add in the train through Eurostar to take us from London to Paris- and we were set with the big particulars!
Then it came time for me to do some “hard work”. I started reading blogs and websites for recommendations, tips, planning advice, etc. Also, I am a big fan of lists on lists on lists- so of course I compiled so many lists! Created a list of top places we wanted to try and see plus operation times, tips on when best to go, and prices all in one spot. Itinerary wise we had a few things that were “set” but otherwise we just really wanted the freedom to wander, make impromptu stops, and basically re-adjust as we wanted to once we were there. For us, this typically means around at least 2 priority places a day followed by leisurely befores and afters; obviously this adjusts depending if we are doing tours of them or literally just ‘seeing’ it. We have found this type of formula to work out best for us.
Just talking about this makes me want to go back and do it all over again! Sigh.
I might just have to go look at trip deals now.