Travel Planning in New Territory

February 20, 2018

Every day I work on travel planning for others seeking their own personal adventure in Italy. Italy is my specialty. It is a country I love and a place I feel I know a good deal about.

I help others to experience what they want to feel and see when they visit Italy. It is not a group tour that I do. It is different for everyone.

Now, I need to do it for myself. And I am doing it for an adventure in France, beyond my expertise.

My god-son and his family have asked me to meet them for a weekend in Paris. This will be my third visit to the City of Lights. Still, there is so much to see and experience in Paris itself.

And I have decided to add a few more days to my journey so I can see places I have only seen in my dreams.

Now, I understand why so many people I work with have difficulty deciding what to do in Italy. Do you wonder what are the essential things to see when you want to travel? As I plan out my own adventure in France, let me share with you how I can help you to experience not the Must-See places only. Let me show you what we can accomplish together to create your custom journey.

  1. Research what is available to see and do in France—internet, books, word of mouth, people I trust.
  1. I have to ask myself how much time can I spend in France?

For this adventure, I am working on a plan to spend up to 12 or 13 nights in France, including Paris.

  1. I need to set a budget for myself and I prefer to do that by the day.

This is difficult. As I plan this adventure I am attempting to spend less than 200 Euros/night, including lodging, transportation, museum entrances, food. I may be surviving on French bread  while I am there. Lodgings seem expensive.

  1. How will I get to Paris? How will I travel within France after my family members leave?

Even though traveling from Liguria to Paris would be cheaper on a low-cost airline, I have always wanted to take a night train with a private berth. I am looking at the cost of such an adventure.

I plan to travel by train and bus throughout the country.

  1. What do I want to experience in France in the time that I have set for myself to travel?

I want to enjoy a few excellent French meals, wine included.

I love art and architecture. I will visit the Louvre again as well as the Orsay and more in Paris. I must spend more time in Notre Dame in Paris and I want to eat crepes nearby.

I want to visit Giverny, the Inspiration for Monet.

I want to visit Chartres Cathedral and walk the labyrinth, take a thousand photos, touch the flying buttresses and experience the energy.

Mont San Michele, the island in the mists with its mythical history, is important to me.

Normandy is on my list and the museum and cemeteries.

Carnac, the standing stones of France, calls to me. I love the esoteric, mysterious.

Chambord & Amboise, where Leonardo Da Vinci lived out his last 3 years of life, and influenced  the construction of Chambord itself. And Leonardo is buried there.

Arles, the city of Van Gogh. I hope to see this city on my way home.

What do you think? This sounds like WAY too much to do in 12 nights with 2400 Euros. And, frankly, I would prefer to spend fewer Euros.

  1. What is logistically possible to do in the time allotted?

I need to cut out a few things.

I think Giverny has to go as does Normandy. I will hope for one good French meal. I cannot afford more. Carnac may fall to the goddess of time and money too. My magical overnight train ride may have to wait also. I won’t know until I check all the costs of travel, museum entries, lodgings.

  1. What is important to me, the traveler?

I have learned from my Italian brethren that taking your time and experiencing the moment with the locals, if possible, is the way for me to enjoy my adventure. Art and Architecture are highpoints for me for travel in France. Da Vinci and Van Gogh are personal heroes. I want to keep them on my list. The mystical appearance and mythical history of Mont San Michele intrigues me. If I can get there I want to sleep on the little Island in the midst of the sea.

  1. How much can I walk and climb in my current physical shape?

Since I broke my foot, I have been forced to walk less and slow down. I will need more public transportation than one year ago. I need cash for that too.

  1. How do I take all this information and create a workable plan for myself, and for my clients seeking their adventure in Italy?
  2. I will check pricing for entrance fees to the places I want to visit.
  3. I will chart a preliminary route of travel, including the sites I have not excluded.
  4. I will price train and bus travel to these locales.
  5. I will check the cost of lodgings in each place and decide how long I can stay and enjoy each locale. If possible, I will select places where breakfast is included.
  6. I will then tally up the costs without meals or purchases. At this point I may have to cut out one location to stay in budget or to increase the value of each moment while in France.
  7. I will create a spreadsheet of travel, lodgings, entrance fees for absolute visits and possible visits and tally the costs on that sheet.
  8. As I complete this project, I will remind myself that those places I cannot visit on this adventure simply indicate I must return.

When you begin your plans for your travel in Italy, you can use my checklist if you like, to help you hone in on what you really want to accomplish on your Italian Adventure. Take Me Home Italy is here to assist you in making those important decisions that create a travel experience uniquely yours. Contact us at I would love to help you make your dreams come true.

Ciao for now!

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