I grew up in a small town in Illinois (Kewanee -- Go Boilermakers!) with an appreciation of all things Paris. When I was just 11, my parents sent me (kicking and screaming) on a solo trip to Paris for the entire summer vacation between 5th and 6th grade. I had never before met my Aunt Ginette, Uncle Robert or cousin Florence but they embraced their little American and gave me my first taste of la vie francaise. My memories of that sweet summer started a lifetime of pursuing, plotting and stealing the means to get back to Paris. Lucky to be married to a fellow travel nut, my husband Gary and I have made countless trips to France and beyond. We've had the good fortune to include our daughter Sara from time to time as well as sister Jackie, brother Eric and their spectacular families. Travel is not easy. Planning is essential. But, mapping out a basic itinerary is half the fun of the trip. I start planning my next journey the minute I take the dirty laundry out of my suitcase. You don't have to be a millionaire to have a good time in Europe, not even when you're planning a trip to one of its most expensive cities. A few hints: Don't break the bank. Assume it's not going to be your one and only trip of a lifetime. Read Rick Steves Guidebooks from cover to cover so you learn how to bank, what to pack and how to avoid long museum lines. Read blogs, articles, books. Watch movies. DREAM! Remember, just like Mia, you can't please everyone all the time so make sure to please yourself and smile a lot. An open mind is the key to getting the most out of your trip. If you like to walk and your mate doesn't, deposit him in a cafe or sports bar while you take a hike. If he insists being chained at the hip the entire trip and brings you down, leave him at home next time. If your best friend decides to stay out too late and gets drunk every night, get some shut eye so you can start out bright and early the next morning without her. Travel is a compromise but if you expect to have fun, you will. PUSH BACK! Final words: Laugh, eat too much, talk to people. Take your time, don't rush from one place to the next. Be respectful of their country and customs (no loud voices, please) and learn a few basic words of their language. Most important, practice makes perfect so do it again and again.
AUTHOR MICHELLE MOGGIO Thanks for visiting my blog!
I've been experiencing the joys of Paris since the ripe old age of eleven. As a big fan of duck fat, raw oysters and bad French movies, my long career in advertising helped pave the way for drinking at lunch. When not living la vie en rose, my husband Gary and I live in Brentwood, TN, where we stay busy planning our next travel adventure and offering unsolicited advice to our daughter.