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  • Writer's pictureKD Bryant

Travel Tips & Tidbits: London & Paris

My first trip to London and Paris was nothing short of amazing. I'm already planning to go back with my hubs, 75-year-young mom and the boys. Here are a few travel tips and tidbits.

  1. Compression is your friend. Wear your compression socks or sleeves for long flights to keep swelling down. If you do like us, we dropped our bags and hit the streets. If you're going to do a lot of walking, you should wear your socks or sleeves.

  2. Collapsable bag. I planned to bring lots of goodies back for family and friends. My collapsable gym bag fits perfectly in the corner of my suitcase. You can fill your bag with souvenirs, or in my case, all the preserves and tea one can have. It's cheaper to pay the airline's bag fee than to ship. We tried to ship. It was going to cost between $350 - $400. The $30 checked bag fee was much more feasible.

  3. Designate shopping days and touring days. If you're spending enough days in a city, try to do your tours and shopping separately. It keeps down the hassle of getting back to the hotel to drop off shopping bags before heading to a tour, especially with the bag policies and limits on what you can bring to certain sites.

  4. Stack hack. I coined this term from my many trips to Disney World. Stack hacking is planning to do as much as possible in one area, rides, eating, snacking, etc., to avoid the dash from one side of the park to the other. Stack as much as possible into that area. The same applies for touring. If you designate days (see number 3), try to schedule tours and make reservations for lunch or dinner in the same area or close by. That way, you're not on one side of the city for a tour and then rushing to the other because of dinner reservations or a tourist attraction. Some famous restaurants are booked weeks in advance, so stack hack when and where you can. It's worth it.

  5. Budget for transportation. Navigating public transit can be fun and save money from multiple Uber or Bolt (Europe's Uber equivalent) rides. However, if you're traveling with seniors or small children, setting aside a budget for rides may be worth it. I enjoyed public transit most of the time but knew my mom would not be up for that hustle. If you stack hack, you can also reduce the number of rides needed.

  6. Build in downtime. The excitement of a new city will have you going from sightseeing to shopping to dining. We had a short stay, so we packed in as much as possible. If you have more time, consider building in a half-day or day with nothing scheduled so that you can sleep in, enjoy the long dining experiences, soak up the culture and savor the moments.

  7. Follow the locals. Some of the best food and entertainment are off the beaten path. Famous tourist sites are great but don't sleep on where the locals are eating and being entertained. Research before you go, check out apps such as Local Eats, Viator, Zomato and others, or ask your taxi driver, hotel attendant or shop owners. I do this everywhere I travel.

Have travel tips to share? Drop them in the comments. I'm going back soon because there's so much more to see. May your travels be filled with happiness and moments, you will forever savor.

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