Friday, September 13, 2013

The Travel Mistake I Made in Paris (Cringe Worthy)...

I'm just going to go ahead & state the fact that I seem to make quite a few more mistakes than the average traveller... Or at least it often feels that way. I'll just dive right in to one of the last memories I will always have of Paris. Word of warning, be prepared for sarcasm.

One of multiple shopping trips I took that year, this one in Saint-Michel.
 
So let's start the day before my flight home... I'm in my guest house, frantically trying to (last minute) pack up my year's worth of shopping, refusing to let go of even the silliest of things. To give you more of an idea, I was packing items such as three different types of bar soap from the South of France, multiple 'shades' of nude lipsticks, Winter coats that I had purchased (because every girl definitely needs multiple wool coats in varying lengths & colours) & about 5 or 6 pairs of high heels alone. These were just a few of the ridiculous items I managed to pack into my suitcase. Of course, the suitcase was literally bursting at the seams, but I still absolutely refused to leave anything behind.  
 
As far as carry ons, I was using my weekender bag & a giant handbag, stuffing both to the brim, to the point where I had to carry my laptop in my hands, without a case I might add. On top of this, I also had a snowboard, complete with boots, helmet, jacket & pants. Oh & without a case also. Yes, at the age of 18 I would rather spend my money on an oversized ostrich skin, ridiculous looking handbag than cases for my laptop & snowboard. So what did I do? What would any other Canadian do... I duct taped (or as close as I could find to duct tape in France) my snowboard to my suitcase, I even have photo proof. Priorities ladies, make yours smarter than mine.
 
No words...

Qeue that night, before the flight, with me frantically calling my Mum back home to transfer money over to my account so that I could actually afford a taxi to the airport. I had blew my last week's pocket money on a night out to say my goodbyes to all my expat girls. In terms of my savings you're thinking? I'm not even sure if I knew what that word meant... Needless to say my Mum was NOT too impressed, but had not seen me for months & just wanted me home so thankfully agreed. Did I mention I was an over dramatic 18 year old & I was in tears this entire day/night?

So... Booking the taxi. You'd think after a year of living in France & speaking French everyday, I'd be able to do this no problem? Well, I did. Except the company I called, never came. Turns out they didn't feel like driving out to Versailles at 3am but failed to mention that to me over the phone. The first train didn't leave the terminal until 6am & my flight departed at 9am. The train ride alone was an hour & a half... & if you've ever flown international, you'll know that that's cutting it extremely close to check-in time. Actually my check-in time was supposed to BE at 6am, so during this train ride I did not even know if I would be seeing Canada that day.

Champs-Élysées, I blame you for my overpacking.
 
The journey was the worst, due to my overpacking naturally. I walked a half hour to the station & being the 100 pound girl I am had a pretty tough time heaving my luggage behind me. No gym membership & wine apparently make for weak muscles, who knew? When I got to the station, of course the booth was closed (being 5 in the morning), leaving me without a way to purchase a ticket having no cash, which... Resulted in me being forced to jump over the barriers & find some nice, young gentlemen to lift my luggage over after me.

Luckily there was only one connection during the train ride, in which I actually did not make, because the doors decided to close on my suitcase with my laptop & handbag still remaining on the platform. Of course, this tacked on an extra 20 minutes to my trip, having to wait for the next connection to arrive. The next connection I was slightly smarter & enticed a few Frenchies to help me haul my luggage, at least I knew how to do that right? Haha...

When I got to the airport & finally found the correct terminal (my luck it was the furthest away), it was already nearing 8am & to my dismay my luggage was 30 pounds overweight, due to my utter ignorance. At this point the frustration was getting the better of me & I just wanted to get the f!@# back to my English speaking, hearty food eating, heavy whiskey drinking home country.

Seriously though!

So I opened my suitcase in the middle of Charles de Gaulle & proceeded to pick up heap after heap of miscellaneous items (clothing, makeup, shoes, books, you name it!), dumping it on the counter as I went. The nice young lady serving me was a tad baffled/in complete shock & I had my fair share of stares from onlookers, which to be honest I was used to anyway for half of the questionable things I did that year.
 
Without waiting, I picked up what was left of my belongings & walked through security, only to make last call for my flight. They were calling my name over the intercom. Story of my life, but seriously, I am that annoying person, my apologies if you're ever on a flight with me. I didn't sleep a wink on the flight home, even with the few glasses of Shiraz I slugged back. I say few meaning about 10. Au rev(f!@#ing)oir Paris!
 
If you've managed to read this far, I first applaud you. I second apologize, I'm fully aware my story telling needs some work. Though, I sincerely hope at least one person finds enjoyment out of my story. Personally, I find this hilarious now, which is more than I could say at the time. Also highly embarassing how inexperienced of a traveller I was, oh to be 18 again. Next... I have just a few key pieces of (slightly obvious) advice, so keep reading please!

Versailles in Winter, my home for the year.
 
The Advice:

1. You do not need to bring home 10 magazines. Or 3 pairs of yoga pants. Or the pillow that you bought at Ikea... In fact do not bring these items with you & please do not purchase them on your travels either, with the exception of magazines, but discard, discard, discard.

2. You will regret bringing a weekender bag as your carry on. You will also regret carrying an oversized handbag on your shoulder. Opt for a backpack & a crossbody purse at most. Trust me.

3. Have a backup plan if your way to the airport fails. Even if this means calling 3 cab companies & turning down 2 of them if they all arrive. This is a piece of advice I am swearing to from now on, due to sheer paranoia.

4. Buy cases for your expensive items. This is one area not to be frugal in & although you would think this one's common sense, obviously it was not for me. My $800 snowboard took a pretty good bang up job on the way home, all my fault... & in terms of my laptop, how did I not get robbed?!

& lastly...

5. Do not blow all your money while travelling. Have at least an emergency fund for unplanned transportation, food & even a night or two stay incase you miss your bus, train or plane.

I like to think my boy Nelson knows my struggles.

I'd love to hear any of your travel mistakes, big or small?! Send me a blog post you've wrote or comment below! (Seriously, it will make me feel better about sharing my own humiliating story...) Or if you don't have a story, maybe just some obvious tips you've neglected to follow over your years of travelling? I know I can't be the only one.
xxx

* Disclaimer: I am thankful to say I am a much more experienced & mature traveller at this time, though I hate to say I'm positive many more mistakes are sure to follow... Also please note that this is written in a dramatic fashion, I'm aware. Please give me some grief, I know that there are much, much worse things that could've happened to me throughout this journey. I'm merely sharing for entertainment purposes!

28 comments:

  1. I can't stop laughing at the snowboard taped to the luggage. Oh my goodness. To be 18 again!!!

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    1. Hahaha I know, so embarassing but hilarious! I literally had no shame. x

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  2. Wonderful post...I like your blog.^^
    Maybe follow each other on bloglovin?
    Let me know follow you then back.
    Lovely greets Nessa

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  3. I think we all cringe a little when we look back at some of our first travel experiences. I definitely way over-packed for my first Europe trip - I seriously don't know what I was thinking. My bf and I had such a difficult time getting on and off trains, and everyone stared when we showed up at hostels - so embarrassing! I love the duct tape - only a Canadian would come up with that idea.

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    1. Hahaha I am so happy I'm not the only one that was stared at in Europe ;) & lmao YES duct tape solves everything, firm believer in that :) x

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  4. The snowboard is HILARIOUS! I thought I was bad! I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one that overpacks....I am currently on a 5 week road trip for my job and struggling to cram all the stuff I've purchased and brought with me into my suitcase to move to the next location. Meanwhile, the 3 people I'm traveling with all bought enough clothes for only two weeks and just keep doing laundry, and their suitcases are perfectly easy to handle. Lesson learned.

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    1. Hahahaha oh guaranteed I am worse :) You sound exactly like me, but exactly hopefully next time 'round for both of us we'll limit our packing ;) x

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  5. I agree with Jessica, we can all cringe a little when we look back at some of our first travel experiences (especially mine). I used to pack way too much stuff going for a weekend and I was always told off by my friends :)

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    1. Oh for sure! That is only the tip of the cringe worthy things I have done whilst travelling. I'm 'that' friend as well :) Well at least I was! Fingers crossed I've learned at least something. x

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  6. Ah, I'm constantly either drastically over or under packing! Either I have way too many clothes and have to haul them around (along with my daughter's of course, since I do the same thing with hers) or I hate my choices and beg, borrow, or steal them from other people.

    Fun post!

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    1. I feel you on that one! It's either one extreme or the other, almost seems impossible to find the in-between :P Can't even imagine having to pack for a little one too! :) x

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  7. Thank you so much for the follow.
    Follow you back on bloglovin.
    Lovely greets from germany :-)

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  8. Oh Versailles! That was my home for a year too... I only left in May so you're picture made me a little like ooohh Versailles! Haha.
    How are you finding it being home?

    I have had many a taxi issue like yours, taxis in Versailles are nigh on impossible!

    Kate | Diaries of an Essex Girl

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    1. Aw that's so cool! :) Well I've been home for 2 years now, went to school & am now going abroad again ;) So that sums up my time being home! I'm not going back to France though, Ireland this time. I found it much more welcoming of a country to be honest! I don't think I'd ever live in France again...
      & yes glad someone understands! So frustrating because most of them didn't feel like coming that far. Thanks for the comment :) x

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  9. Wait... did you leave your stuff on the counter or did you get to take it with you?
    Kudos on the duct tape job, very creative! :)

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    1. My only choice was to leave it on the counter :( Well that or pay over 200 Euro in overweight fees... I imagine there are a few Parisienne's enjoying my purchases at the moment haha & why thank you! ;) x

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  10. "It's impossible until it's done" well, i really like that quote. thanks you

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  11. Oh man! What a story! Thanks for joining the blog hop today! So glad to have found your blog & happy to be your newest follower!

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    1. Aw thank you! :) So glad I found yours too. x

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  12. Had such a laugh reading this! I love the picture of your board taped to your suitcase! Am now following and look forward to reading about your experiences in Ireland :)

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    1. So glad to hear :P & thank you so much! :) I'm sure there will be even more laughs in Ireland... Hahaha. x

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  13. Haha, oh to be 18-19 again! My overpacking nightmare was my first trip to Ireland. Then I went to Australia a few months later and packed far less...but used the same human-sized suitcase. So I still had to lug the stupid thing around. Not my brightest moment.

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    1. Hahaha exactly! :) Ugh, makes me feel better to know I'm not the only traveller having hauled a ridiculous suitcase aroung! x

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