3 Things I Learned During My First Solo Trip

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Paris passport My long weekend in Paris this summer was the first time I ever traveled solo, and I learned a lot within that short span of time. I had a lot of questions before I left, which I can assume are the same nervous jitters most people get when they travel by themselves for the first time, especially to a foreign city. Starting in Paris was a good "intro" to solo travel, so if I ever travel by myself again, I have a good impression of it.

3 Things I Learned During My First Solo Trip

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1. Do your research

I read travel blogs, looked up places I was going on TripAdvisor and Yelp, and skimmed a couple guide books. Since I didn't do any formal tours of the city, I looked up a quick history of the main attractions I'd be walking past to have a little background knowledge. Most importantly, I found quite a few tips and tricks over TripAdvisor and Yelp about where I was going - like cutting my time in line at The Louvre in half by going in the underground entrance! Research also helped me be aware of the tourist scams so I could avoid them.

Paris arc de triomphe

2. Walking is the best way to see the city

I lucked out in Paris with beautiful sunny weather every day, which made walking everywhere enjoyable. One morning I got up early to make an hour-long trek from my hotel to Notre Dame. I loved seeing the city slowly wake up and the peacefulness of walking along the Seine. I took a couple wrong turns (but quickly found my way!) and stumbled across cool things I never would've found, had I taken a cab or public transportation.

Paris champs elysee

3. People are friendly

The hotel staff was very friendly, because, well, they're a hotel staff. They were so nice and gave me tips and showed me scenic routes to walk on a map. But even out in the city, people were friendly too. If I had to ask a Parisian something, of course I would try to attempt my best to say it in French first, or at least ask them in French if they spoke English. I never experienced any of the stereotypical "Parisian snottiness," everyone was friendly. I met a number of other people traveling as well who were from all over the world. Smiling is the universal language.

Paris in the summer was a great intro to solo travel for a number of reasons: it's already a pretty safe city, and since it's high season, there are plenty of people/tourists out and about; it happened to be warm and sunny, which was great for walking (and saving money on not using public transport); and there is so much to do in the city that you're bound to avoid boredom and loneliness. I would definitely suggest Paris as an intro to solo travel.

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