Two months from today, I will land in Paris at roughly 10 a.m. local time, and my six week solo travel adventure will begin. I'm beyond excited! So much so, in fact, that I've forced myself to be a little more Type A than I'd like, and I've made a series of lists, basically a timeline of things I need to accomplish before I leave. Today, I'm sharing that timeline with you. While you might not be visiting Paris, I think it may offer some useful tips for anyone who is planning a major trip of some kind.
Since I have two months left, I thought it made sense to organize my 'to-do' list by month.
Accomplished in March: (Of course, I'm posting retroactively, so you can see how much I have already accomplished. I need rewards and incentives like that, you know.)
1. Ordered & received my road id bracelet in case I meet with some sort of unfortunate accident
2. Ordered & received my Capital One Venture card that has no foreign transaction fees
3. Reserved apartment for final two weeks of my stay (I'd originally only reserved the first month)
4. Purchased Heidi Swapp memory planner and several supplies for travel scrapbooking on the go
5. Read books from my Paris list - both fiction and guidebooks (5 finished so far!)
6. Ordered monogrammed cross body travel purse (It's ready to be picked up right now!)
7. Buy comfy shoes for trip and begin wearing on a daily rotation to make sure they are back/foot friendly
8. Finish cleaning/organizing the guest room for Kel and Jake, so that they have a comfortable space of their own in my house during their stay
9. Plan Paris budget
10. Make plans for the week my friend, Tonia, will join me in Paris :)
April's To Do List:
1. Practice my French daily with DuoLingo (I've been bad about skipping some days)
2. Travel to Mexico for spring break (Ok, that's not really a to-do list for Paris, but it is happening)
3.Stock up on supplies for my house while I'm away - dog treats, dog food, vegetarian meals/snacks for Kelsey, paper goods, etc. (Since Kel and her boyfriend are housesitting/petsitting for me while I'm gone, I need to make sure the house is fairly well-stocked for them. If I buy a few things each week, I don't think it will add too much to my expenses.)
4. Purchase trip insurance and potentially a medical insurance rider; need to talk with my health insurance plan to see my level of international coverage (I dread this so much!)
5. Complete urban sketching class I already purchased on Craftsy. Decide if I'm willing to actually try urban sketching on trip or if I should just give up on it. I'm always intimidated to learn new things that don't come easily for me, but I want to work on this about myself.
6. Practice visits with my dogs, Kelsey's dogs, and our next door neighbor who is going to check in on the pups/house while Kel and Jake are at work each day. I want her to feel comfortable coming in on her own and the dogs to feel comfortable seeing her without any of us there. Practice, practice, practice.
7. Begin wearing the outfits I think I'll take to Paris to make sure that they are comfortable, well-fitting, and appropriate for my trip. As I wear them, launder and set aside to begin the packing process. I've warned my friends that I'll constantly be asking, "Should I take this to Paris? What about this?" Haha!
8. Write and schedule several blog posts during my trip so that I'm not pressured to blog daily from Paris. I will be blogging on my trip, of course, but I will want some "off" days too. Plus, if I do decide to blog daily while I"m gone, these others will go "in the can" for when I'm back in the USA and jetlagged.
9. Begin drinking water with meals instead of soft drinks. I'm trying to acclimate myself to that difference in European culture, so I don't stand out like a sore thumb or blow all of my cash on Cokes.
10. Continue making lists in my Paris notebook of attractions, restaurants, shopping, and activities by neighborhood in Paris. This will allow me to focus on specific areas of the city as I visit them and not miss out on what others have suggested/recommended.
May's To Do List:
1. Schedule bill payments for June and July; most are already set up, but some that fluctuate (like electricity) will need to be estimated and scheduled. Transfer money to account I will be using for ATM withdrawals in Paris.
2. Make a doctor's appointment to obtain hard copies of prescriptions I might need while away and refills on ones I take already
3.Stop newspaper delivery unless Kel tells me they'd still like to get it each day
4.Order $100 in Euros from my bank, so that I will land with enough cash for transportation
5. Iron and pack items for trip - plan on 1 checked bag, 1 carryon, and 1 personal item
6. Notify bank and credit card companies of my travel plans to avoid my accounts being potentially frozen due to international activity
7. Notify the American Embassy in Paris of the dates of my trip (recommended for extended stays)
8. Investigate and potentially purchase a VPN to allow me to use the internet abroad without account location restrictions
9. Schedule vet visits for pups and leave instructions regarding illnesses/accidents while I'm out of the country
10. Make lists for Kelsey regarding household needs, to do items, check in procedures, emergency procedures, and my insurance policies/will (I do this every time I leave the country because I wouldn't want her to feel unprepared in case something terrible happened. Better safe than sorry!)
11. Research more info about a French SIM card and borrow old iPhone from my boy bestie.
12. Contact Jerry (who owns the apartment I'm renting) and make specific plans about arrival day; obtain actual address and print out to hand to my taxi driver upon departure from the airport.
While I have to say that I don't love this part of the planning process, I do see that it's necessary since so much has to be done. I need to get busy! Stay tuned for more info on Thursday of each week about my upcoming travel plans. Maybe you'll even have some great suggestions for me?!