Wednesday, March 19, 2014

France Itinerary & Costs

So one of the activities we did in Houston that I haven't talked about yet was planning out our trip to France. The cousin and cousin-in-law that I visited in Texas are going to France with us! The four of us haven't been on a trip together since Hawaii so this is long overdue because the four of us make an awesome traveling quartet. I'd planned out an itinerary on my own, just as a rough guide, thinking that I'd just share it and we'd discuss and and everyone would give feedback and we'd do some rearranging here and there. But everyone was on board with what I'd come up with (either they all trust my judgment or they're lazy bums that can't be bothered with decisions) so we just booked everything right then and there! Easy!
There are so many cities that I want to visit but I picked a few that were at the top of my list. I wanted to be able to spend a decent bit of time in each place so we're going to three cities (not including Paris): Lyon, Annecy, and Nice and we're spending at least 24 hours in each. Annecy has been one of my dream destinations for forever - probably since I saw it in a French textbook back in seventh grade - so I'm chuffed about that one in particular.

Itinerary
Fly to Paris: $705.50 per person
Take a train to Lyon: $91.97 per person
Lyon hotel: $108.31 per night x 2 nights (divided between two of us)
Rental car to Annecy: $137.73 (divided between four of us)
Annecy hotel: $103.08 per night x 1 night (divided between two of us)
Take a train to Nice: $76.98 per person
Nice hotel: $134.19 per night x 2 nights (divided between two of us)
Fly from Nice to Paris: $77.39 per person
Paris hotel: $3.00 per night x 3 nights (divided between two of us) - that's not a typo! It's really only $3 per night because I'm using my Marriott points!

So per person, that comes out to $1284.81 for transportation and lodging, which I think is really quite a good deal for a nine day trip. Especially considering the fact that right now, just the flights to Paris seem to be on the order of $1100. The free hotel nights definitely help that number out a ton but we also found some other great hotel deals. Plus, the direct flights from JFK to CDG that we found are so super affordable. The only downside is that they're on a charter airline that has some bad reviews but I'm not going to judge it until I've actually flown on it. To be frank, I think most people are quite spoiled, myself included, so the second we're not given first class service (even if we're paying coach prices) we think that we've been stiffed. As always, I will document any notable experiences and share them here.

Per my usual routine, I made sure to look up the hotels on TripAdvisor to make sure we weren't booking any duds. I'm not going to share the hotel details yet; I'll write all about them and give a thorough review once I've actually experienced being there. Plus, it's just a little safety net in case I have any weird stalkers; super doubtful but hey, you never know. I mean, I'm not so grotesque that the possibility that I'd have a stalker is impossible, right?
Of course, we'll also be spending money on local transportation - like the Metro - but that's quite insignificant in the grand scheme of things, isn't it? Don't get me wrong, money is money and one should never devalue even a small amount as it all adds up. But I suspect my food budget will be quite lavish in comparison. Never scrimp on food; never! NEVER! That is one of my mantras.

I'm also working on finalizing the slides for my "Holiday en France" Google Docs presentation. I always end up using these docs as a quick and easy reference since I store a ton of info there (like flight times and hotel phone numbers and dates). It's much easier to scroll through this document than it is to dig through countless emails. Plus, if ever my friends and/or family end up planning a vacation to the same place, I can just send them my research, easy peasy.

One fun set of slides I'm also throwing in are "Practice French" ones because I'm rusty. Plus, it'll be good practice for the members of this travel party who didn't take high school French. I've just thrown in a few basics. In general, I've found that people in other parts of the world seem to be much better at English than I am at any other foreign language so it's never been too difficult to get around. However, as I've been corresponding with our Annecy hotel in French only, I have a feeling I might be needing to brush up on those skills for at least that one day spent in the country.
I'm so excited! I've already started thinking about outfits - which, if you know me, is not surprising - and I'm going to be sharing some packing tips with you soon.

xoxo.

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