For New Year we decided we’d take a short break, four days off where we could relax eat food and put our feet up, no such luck for our insane Co-Founders we thought we’d pack them off to France. Oh don’t feel too sorry for them they went to Paris on the Eurostar (hardly Timbuktu).
We struck a deal with Emma and Gemma, they could go on their Paris adventure on one condition, they would write up a wonderfully insightful guide on how to travel as a twosome (we know what you thought when we said twosome) or well how to travel as a couple of English numpties who can’t speak a word of the countries language their going to and have NEVER travelled alone without adult supervision, trust us these two need supervising.
Emma and Gemma accepted the Parisian challenge and quite frankly why wouldn’t they... next time ladies can we come to?
Emma: ‘I’ve always been on holidays with boyfriends or family so this was the first time I’ve travelled abroad with a friend, It was exciting by nerve wracking all the same time, I knew that I would have to be in charge of the organising and logistics, I’m not afraid to say this is because I like to do the organising. I do speak some French (very little, very badly) so I knew we could get by, I can read and understand it better than I can speak it, there was a lot to remember and planning was key!’
Gemma: 'Going to Paris was a fabulous adventure! With my lack of french vocabulary and knowledge of the culture I felt a bit vulnerable. Next time I will definitely educate myself on the french language/culture so I'll be less dependent on Emma's GCSE french skills and her knowledge of Paris. We saw some amazing things, met some lovely people, had some crazy food ( YES I ate a snail!!! YUK!) and I am very glad we took up the challenge ;-) Bonne annee belles personnes!!'
Before You Go:
- Remember your Passports (No you can’t get on the Eurostar or a ferry without it OR with just a driving license)
- Pack Toiletries in clear bags, before travelling check with the company what things you are and aren’t allowed to bring on your mode of transport.
- If the country you’re going to speaks a different language to your own DO NOT assume they will speak English to you. Try and learn some key phrases before you go, especially ‘Do you speak English?’ and ‘I don’t understand’.
- Buy a map before you go, if the city/place you’re off to has an underground system try and get a map of that too, much easier to get one in English before you go than rock up get one there and not understand the thing.
- Google Earth your hotel and surrounding area, this is an excellent idea, then when you get there you recognise key things you’ve seen so you don’t get lost.
- DO NOT pack your suitcase so it is too heavy to move or be lifted *cough cough* Gemma King.
- If you’re brave and trying not to splash out use the public transport available, our top tip is if you can’t speak or really read the language change the names of the stations/stops to something you remember, this worked a treat for us.
- You’re hungry, you don’t speak the language what do you do? Places that offer English menus will have it publicised out front, if you don’t see an English menu or British flag, then you can either man up and give it a go or find somewhere else, eating near tourist attractions means you’re more likely to encounter you’re native tongue but remember this will mean it’s more expensive and busier.
- Plan your site seeing, if you go to a city with lots of attractions then make sure you plan a sensible route so you don’t find yourself dotted all over and you might get snared up in masses of tourists.
- Pay attention to when shops, restaurants etc are open, especially in European countries people eat later and shut shops at random times.
- Use local amenities, we mean use local shops, it’s important for you to stock a few things in your hotel room just in case things don’t go to plan, we recommend you get; some water, a few snacks and tissues.
- When mingling in foreign countries don’t be silly, especially if you can’t speak the language, don’t think just because someone is offering you a drink or a ride in their car they’re any less creepy than someone doing that in your home town (you’ve all seen taken, extreme but be safe).
We’re glad Emma and Gemma made it back in one piece, next time though ladies can we have more than just a key ring?
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