20 Jun 10 Things You Need Take Care of Before Traveling to France
France ranks as one of the most visited countries in the world. A unique culture and diverse landscapes draw millions of visitors each year.
A vacation (or holiday as most countries outside of the United States call it) to France is an unforgettable experience. A little preparation can go a long way toward making your holiday there the best it can be.
Here are ten things to put on your to-do list before you depart for your dream vacation in France:
Discuss Your Trip with Your Bank
Let your bank know you are traveling to Europe and ask about foreign transaction fees. Most banking institutions will charge you a percentage or flat rate for each card swipe or ATM visit.
If your bank charges a large amount for withdrawals, consider taking a substantial amount out of the first ATM you see when you get to France. If they say there is a substantial fee for each transaction made with your credit card, look into applying for a card with no foreign transaction fees.
Many local French businesses prefer cash and will charge you a fee for using a card. Keep this in mind as you visit the ATM.
Contact Your Cell Phone Provider
Every cell and data plan is different. Let your cell phone provider know you are headed to France. They can tell you if your phone will work or if you need any special equipment like a new SIM card.
Most cell companies will offer you a temporary expansion on your current plan to include international calling and data. Expect to pay a little more on your bill the month following your trip.
Learn Key Phrases in French
The French are sensitive, and being polite is a must when traveling around their country. Learn the key phrases to make sure you do not come across as rude. Some important sayings to be sure to know:
- Hello (Good Day): Bonjour
- Good Evening: Bonsoir
- Goodbye: Au revoir
- Please: S’il vous plait
- Thank you: Merci
- Excuse me: Pardon
- Yes: Oui
- No: Non
Get comfortable with these phrases. It will make your trip easier. Also, be sure to say hello and goodbye when entering and leaving businesses.
Learn a Few Cultural Nuances
France is a beautiful country. Like most countries, it has some unique cultural behaviors. Get comfortable with the common nuances before arriving in France.
Smoking is prevalent in France. There is no use complaining about it. Avoiding second-hand smoke is nearly impossible. Be prepared for it.
Touching items in markets is frowned upon. In America, picking up an apple and inspecting it is common. This is not the case in France. Ask shopkeepers if it is okay to touch items before picking them up.
Traveling offers a chance to experience new cultures. Take the time in France to absorb their way of life.
Paris is one of the key fashion capitals of the world. Take the time to spruce up your wardrobe before heading to France.
You do not need to buy an entire closet of expensive clothes, but finding a replacement for sweatpants and t-shirts is ideal. Wearing workout clothing to the café is not as common as it is in the United States.
Plan Some Excursions
France is a country with beaches, mountains, and metropolises. Plan on visiting many different parts of France while you are there.
The French train system is reliable and connects many places. Plan ahead by viewing train schedules. French workers often go on strike, so it may be a good idea to check for any current transportation shutdowns.
Learn the French Schedule
Mealtimes, business hours, and daily habits are all different in France. Many businesses close from 12 PM – 2 PM for a midday break. This is when most people eat lunch in France.
Dinner is later there, too. French restaurants often serve dinner between 7 PM and 10 PM. Be prepared to shift your eating schedule if you are planning on visiting the good restaurants.
Sundays are sacred in France. Not necessarily for religious reasons but to dedicate time to family. Expect local businesses to be closed on Sundays and plan accordingly.
Check for Discount Deals
Many popular French destinations, like Paris, offer discount cards for the major attractions. If you are visiting major cities throughout the country, check ahead of time to see if you can save some Euros.
Protect Your Computer and Phone with a VPN
Cybersecurity threats do not stop when you are on vacation. Download a VPN to any computers and phones you are traveling with. A VPN can protect your information by creating an encrypted pathway to browse the internet, read emails, and conduct transactions.
A VPN could also help avoid geographic restrictions. If you need to access a server for work or do not want to miss out on your streaming media, a VPN can make it appear like you are back in your home country.
Order an Adaptor
The electric outlets are different in France. Order an adaptor so you can charge your cellphone, computer, and other electronics you may have with you.
Many French convenience stores sell the appropriate adaptors, but they will cost much more than if you order ahead of time.
France is a popular vacation destination for a reason. Use these ten tips to plan ahead and make the most of your French holiday.