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It’s certainly been a while! Usually when I go on a vacation, I lug around my laptop and use it only about three or four times. This vacation, however, I decided to pack lightly and unplug for a little while.There is something to be said when I manage to pack for a 2+ week vacation without using a full sized suitcase. Although before I go patting myself on the back for being a savvy traveler, full disclosure: I DID pack seven pairs of shoes. 

Douce France cher pays de mon enfance... I don't remember anymore of the song lyrics..

Douce France cher pays de mon enfance… I don’t remember anymore of the song lyrics..

What started out as planning for a trip to Vietnam changed suddenly to a trip to France and Ireland. It’s a long story for another day perhaps. While I was bummed for not making it to Vietnam this time around, I can’t say I was too upset with Plan B. I mean, Paris? Dublin? Yes and yes please.

My mama's luggage. I think she might have brought about 70lbs too much! She's a big 'just in case' packer.

My mama’s luggage. I think she might have brought about 70lbs too much! She’s a big ‘just in case’ packer.

The first leg of the journey was to Paris where I met up with my mom. We stayed in a hotel near Invalides, which is actually relatively close to where I stayed during my time doing study abroad. It was a really nice area. I arrived pretty late at night, tired after the 13+ hour flight (and a layover!). That of course didn’t stop me from wandering around to find myself a baguette. After months of a bread-less existence, I was in heaven. So crusty. So soft. So perfect.

Late night demi baguette.

         Late night demi baguette.

Although I had spent some time in Paris before, this was the first trip for both my mother and my boyfriend, so we spent a lot of time visiting the usual suspects. Eiffel Tower? Check. Pere Lachaise? Check. Louvre, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, Catacombs? Check, check, check, and check. Paris is a sprawling city, but the metro system is surprisingly easy to navigate. And while it does take a lot of time to get to and get into (hello lines!) many of these places, I did manage to take time to visit some of my favorite corners of the city that I loved when I was a student. The little park near my old apartment, the old church we visited during our art and architecture class, these were the places I knew I wanted to share with my loved ones.

Taken the day my mom arrived. We spent a lot of time walking around to beat the jetlag.

Taken the day my mom arrived. We spent a lot of time walking around to beat the jetlag.

Anyway, I’m feeling shockingly well considering I endured a 1.5 hour flight, a 4 hour layover, an 11 hour flight, a 3 hour train ride and a rather large time difference. Whenever I know there’s going to be a good chance of jetlag, I try to stay hydrated and avoid caffeine like the plague. If I’m arriving at night, I stay awake during the plane ride and power through the last few hours before I go to sleep. If I’m arriving in the morning, I try and sleep as much as I can on the plane and stay awake through the day. I do allow myself a short nap if I’m really struggling, but anything more than an hour tends to cause me to sleep poorly and wake up at 4am the next morning. Traveling across time zones is really difficult, but if I follow these tips, I usually feel fine the next day.

A little treat yo self for myself. Ladurée macarons. A bit pricey, but totally worth it.

A little treat yo self for myself. Ladurée macarons. A bit pricey, but totally worth it. You better believe I ate all of these that day.

I love learning new travel tips as they always make the journey much easier, so if you have any travel advice, please share it with me!

All I need in Paris at mealtime is some bread and some cheese. All day. Every day.

All I need in Paris at mealtime is some bread and some cheese. All day. Every day.

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