Backpacking Summer 2014: Paris

After a few nights in Belgium, Brian and I took a high-speed commuter train to Paris. We stayed there from June 7-11.

One thing that made our traveling experience a little different than a typical tourist trip was Airbnb. After some research on where to stay (distance from the airports and public transport, user reviews), we booked mostly Airbnbs. Some relatives and friends thought it would be strange to stay in strangers’ homes. Sometimes it was, but most of the time, it wasn’t. We stayed with 20-year-olds and 60-year-olds, retirees and young musicians. I would definitely choose this approach if I planned the trip again. I think you have a much better opportunity to understand a city’s lifestyle and culture if you stay with a resident. Hotels can offer amenities and soft towels, but you don’t have the opportunity to sit on a couch and talk for a few hours with other guests (or at least I’ve never had that experience). Hostels were also an option, and we stayed in one in Rome. But in my experience, hostels are pretty cheap, and the standards aren’t always quite livable, so I tend to avoid them. (Example: A few years ago, I stayed in a Paris hostel that didn’t have lights or windows in the bathroom. I had to balance my phone’s flashlight on the sink to make sure I had grabbed toothpaste, not my hydrocortisone, to brush my teeth.) Lastly, I have to mention one huge advantage of Airbnb: it’s much cheaper than most hotels.

These are some photos from our stay in a Paris Airbnb apartment. Our host Joanna was kind and welcoming. Best of all, the place had beautiful views of Le Marais.

View from the Paris Airbnb where we stayed.
Brian stands under a stoop on a rainy day in Paris.
Le Marais really came alive at night. People were hanging out on the bank, drinking wine and playing guitar.

On Backpacking

As soon as I graduated from school a year ago, I took a job.

I needed to start earning money, and I was eager for experience, so I put off a dream of mine: backpacking through Europe. A year, an internship and a temp job later, I had saved up enough money to travel. So I did.

For one month, my I traveled with my boyfriend, Brian, through Belgium, France and Italy. It was shorter than I would have liked (keep in mind that I am fresh out of college and have to budget accordingly), but we made so many memories and had an amazing time.

Here are some photos from the trip–it was an unforgettable experience, and I’m excited to share it.

Here’s a photo I took in Venice–one of my favorite destinations on our backpacking trip.