by Marie Miguel

My home away from home is Paris. As an American, I always daydreamed about traveling to Europe, and Paris was at the top of my bucket list. I wanted to see The Eiffel Tower sparkle at the top of every hour (I know, how American of me), eat croissants and drink espresso outside of a small French café, walk the rainy streets of Paris with my Nikon in hand and bring home trinkets from the flea markets. My two trips to Paris have been nothing less than amazing.

If you’re a native European or from another country, there are several ways to have a relaxing trip to The City of Light.

Rent an apartment instead of staying in a hotel.

Of course, this is a matter of preference, but I found that staying in a hotel is a très parfait way to experience Paris. While we visited tourist attractions, it was beyond lovely to come “home” at night and enjoy the comfort and quiet of our own Parisian abode in the 16th Arrondisement. Rent from locals on a site like homeaway.com. There are so many options, and you will be able to get something in your price range and desired area. Immerse yourself in the local culture and neighborhood. Even as a tourist, you will feel like an actual Parisian.

paris-843229_640(1)Plan everything in advance.

Know which attractions are at the top of your list and ones that you will get to if you have time. Look over a Métro map to try to plan your stops and destinations before you get there. Purchase tickets for attractions in advance, if available. While many of us may be tempted to soak in all of the sights all at once, balance your trip schedule as best as you can. And plan at least a couple of days of relaxation where all you do it sit and write while looking outside of your Paris apartment window or walk down to your local supermarché for local produce and cook dinner in your apartment. Get some more tips here.

Be prepared.

Take extra camera batteries. You could be like me, and one could explode while you’re in Paris. Pack all of your essentials and pre-plan your outfits. Don’t fill your suitcase on the way there because, chances are, you will bring back items from Paris. Pack a first aid kit. And be sure to learn some common phrases of the French language. You will want to learn some food items, greetings, how to ask where the restroom is and more.

Don’t let traveling stress you out.

Marie-MiguelYou could be experiencing language barriers or are homesick. Talk with someone you care about on Skype or a social media platform. Get a travel cell-phone plan that allows you to talk with anyone on the go. If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed, talk with someone on betterhelp.com or reach some of the advice on the site. If you have anxious tendencies and are traveling, the advice on the website could really help you.