How to spend a week in Paris for less then $1200

This season we have a 12 day shooting hiatus during production this summer and I am ecstatic! I have extreme waunderlust and 7 months of straight work doesn’t allow for travel. But this season we have a break for Fourth of July! If you’re like me and have an incessant need to travel but are on a budget then here’s the “How To” for you!

How to spend a week in paris for less than a $1200

A Godsend in the world of Airlines: Nowegian air 

Norwegian Air is an affordable airline with the some of cheapest flights from the US to Europe.

The MEca of search engines: skyscanner.com

Sky Scanner compares millions of flights to find you the cheapest deal, fast. This is absolute best flight search engine I have found. However, if you’re a student I recommend you try Studentuniverse.com. You have to have a student ID and email address. I used Student Universe to plan my whole European backpacking trip when I was in college.

HOw to search for flights:
  • When searching search one-way. It’s usually cheaper then booking a round trip. You don’t have to stay within one airline so you have more options.
  • Leave from a major hub. I live in Norfolk, VA. It’s always cheaper for me to fly out of Richmond. Which is only an hour and half away from me. Another option I have is to leave out of New York. I can easily get to JFK (NYC) for around $150 from RIC. Or I take the 6 hour Mega Bus for just $25!
  • Search on a week day around 2pm.
  • Book flights about 6 weeks in advance if possible!
OUTBOUND FLIGHT

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Return FLIGHT

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TOTAL: $616

Hostel

If you really want to travel on a budget then staying at a hostel is the best solution. Hostels in Europe can be top-notch. If you do your research you can find excellent places that are cheap, modern, clean and friendly.

I suggest St. Christopher’s Inn. They have hostels all over Europe. Staying with a hostel chain means more accountability, better communication and higher standards. I’ve stayed our St. Christopher’s in London and at Gare Du Nord in Paris.

When searching for the right hotel I look for:
  • Breakfast
  • Bed sheets provided
  • WIFI
  • In room lockers
  • Organized Social events

Seven days and six nights at St. Christopher’s Canal, Paris: 33.62 per night

TOTAL: $238.35

FOOD Budget
  • Breakfast – Free
  • Lunch – $12 a day ($85)
  • Dinner- $15 a night ($100)
  • 25% off food and drink specials downstairs in Belushi’s bar and restaurant

TOTAL: $185

FUN

TOTAL: $115

TRIP TOTAL: $1155


Check out what I did on my last trip to Paris: CLICK HERE 

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Travel Bucket List

I’ve got a lot of work to do…

  • Sunrise at Angkor Wat
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    Magical Sunrise at Angkor Wat

  • Cooking Class in Tuscany
  • Sing “Don’t Cry for me”  in Argentina
  • Hike Machu Picchu
  • Sail Croatia
  • Cooking Class in Tuscany
  • Snorkel in Belize
  • Zip Line in Costa Rica
  • Carnival in Brazil
  • Rent a villa on the French Rivera
  • Go to the Cannes Film Festival
  • Rent a villa in Capri for the summer
  • Vodka Tasting in Russia
  • Rent a camper and travel across New Zealand
  • Karaoke in Japan
  • Thermal Bath in Budapest
  • Ski Austria
  • One wild night Las Vegas

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    Exploring the gardens of Versailles

  • Visit Versailles
  • New Years Eve in Eastern Europe
  • Visit Lochness
  • Sunbathe on the Gold Coast of Australia
  • VIP Coachella
  • Christmas in Helsinki
  • Full Moon Party in Thailand
  • Visit Auschwitz
  • See tigers in India
  • Hot Chocolate in Switzerland

Plus Size Girls Packing. Guide to South East Asia

PackforSEA

Before my trip to South East Asia I scoured the internet for packing advice to a plus size girl. I had very little luck. So in order to save you some time I’ve complied my recommend packing list for a curvy girl traveling in SE Asia.

1. Body Glide (Chub Rub Stick): Thick thighs, humidity and extreme heat do not mix. Invest in body glide! If you bring one thing with you, choose Body Glide! I went through two sticks during my trip. Prevents chaffing and irritation caused by rubbing skin or undergarments.

2. Maxi Dress with sleeves: Many temples in South East Asia require shoulders and knees to be covered for entry. Invest in a light weight maxi dress to look conservativ

Bright colors are a must in the tropics!

Bright colors are a must in the tropics!

e but stylish. This dress can also double as a swim suit cover up!

3. Two Linen or Cotton tank tops: Invest in light weight and flowy fabrics. These are easy to pack, layer and clean. I absolutely lived in my Maurices elephant print tank (pictured above).

4. Chiffon Kimono: Modesty is important while traveling in Asia. It’s okay to wear tank tops when at the beach or riding elephants, but when dining or going to the market I recommend covering up your shoulders with an airy kimono like this Floral Print Kimono from Maurices. 

5. Rose Water Spritz: I swear by Boots Botanics Organic Rosewater Face Spray. It cleanses, cools, and moisturizes your skin.  Check out this article on the benefits of Rose Water.

Invest in layering pieces.

Invest in layering pieces like a vest or kimono. 

6. Soft, flexible and Supportive Bra: Many of the packing tip articles I found suggested do as the natives do and “go braless”. Well as a full figured woman there’s no way I could let the girls dangle. Invest in a great bra. Something that will not retain moisture, move with your body, breath and give support.

7. Bring simple t-shirts: I wish I had brought two plain, simple, yet chic t-shirts with me on my trip. I can’t tell you how many mornings I went through my suitcase and simply did not want to put on any of my frilly blouses!

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Invest in loose fitting, breathable tops to keep cool.

8. Don’t bring dainty flip flops: When walking through Bangkok you can play “I spy the broken flip flop!” From crowds stepping on your heals, getting sunk in mud, or just plain bad luck your “Old Navy” $5 thongs will break. Invest in sturdier sandles. I suggest Birkenstocks. They are super fashionable right now. Plus they have a life time guarantee!

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Invest in “Harem Pants” before you leave. Plus sizes are hard to find at the local markets.

9. Don’t bring jeans: Jeans are heavy, stiff and downright miserable when wet. If you’re like me and love the look of jean shorts then find some shorts with a synthetic jean like appearance (like these from Maurices).

10. Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray: Ditch you curling irons, flats irons and hair spray. Your hair will not withhold the humidity. Use a Sea salt spray to add sexy, tousled waves and a light matte finish to any hair type.

11. Beware Harem Pants: When in SE Asia you will be surrounded by stick thin hippies wearing “Elephant Pants“. You will desperately want to join the cult. However as a size 14+ girl you will struggle to pants that fit in the local markets. I tore three pairs during my trip! So think ahead and find a pair at your mall before your trip. They’re all over the stores right now!

12. Flattering, but conservative swim apparel: Modesty is always important in Asia. I love my body but when I rocked my cleavage boosting bikini on our first seaside outing I felt like I was given death stares at by the locals. I’m a confident woman but I did not like the glares.

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I wish I had brought a suit more like this cute, flattering tankini.

13. Bright Lip Stain and eye liner: You’re going on vacation so why not give your skin a break as well? Ditch all of your make-up and go all natural. Everyone else will as well. Plus any foundation, ect. will just melt off in the humidity. My essentials in Asia were my bright coral lip stick by Pixi brand (Target) and liquid eye-liner for fancy nights out.

14. No Jewlery: Twice on my trip girls lost their jewelry and one girl had her jewlery stolen from her suitcase at the airport! Don’t brink expensive rings, necklaces or family heirlooms with you! It’s not worth it. Instead pick up some cool accessories at the local markets!

15. Scarf: I have a rainbow scarf that has now been two 6 countries with me. It is my number one travel accessory. Invest in a large scarf that can double as a sarong, shirt, blanket, towel, bag, and more! Carry it with you all the time. It will keep you warm, modest, stylish and protected from the sun when needed.

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This temple in Thailand required your knees to be covered. Good thing I had my trusty scarf with me!


Want more information on what I packed?

Packing

Check out my detailed packing list for my Big Indochina Adventure!

The Floating City, Venice

This morning I sailed into the “floating city”. Venice is the city I’ve most looked forward to on this trip. Growing up my mom told me magical stories about her time in Venice. So I was “heaps keen” (as the Australian’s say) to experience Venice and all its wonders.

We went on a walking tour that led us through the winding streets, hidden piazzas and narrow passages of Venice. I saw the Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Square and the bridge Rialoto. After the tour we went to a fascinating traditional Venetian mask shop called Ca’Macana. Where we met the shop owner and master designer. She taught us her techniques and told us about the different traditional masks. I bought a cat mask that is orange and teal. It will look great hanging on my wall!

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Then some of my tour mates and I decided to try to find the Jewish Ghetto. We walked for quite a while before realizing we were very lost. But Venice is the ideal city to be lost in! Everything is so picturesque. Every corner is more magical than the last. We settled down for lunch as a charming little cafe. I had pasta and sampled one of my mate’s black squid dish (gross)! I also tried the traditional aperol spritz drink. I wish we had more time to sit and enjoy our meals but because we were lost we knew we had to give ourselves more time to get back to the meeting point.

We basically ran from the restaurant to St. Mark’s square where we were meeting for our gondola ride. It was low tide during our gondola tour…which I think really affected our ride. It was pretty smelly and we could see the sludge covered walls. Also my gondola had six people on it. So only two people got good seats. The rest of us had to sit on uncomfortable wooden chairs. It was not the magical ride I’d dreamed of. But it was nice to see Venice by gondola at sunset.  I’ll have to go back take a ride just for two one day.

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After the water tour we headed to really nice restaurant for a great family style meal. Then we headed back to our hotel which is outside of Venice.

Where did I stay? Venice Holiday Inn

At the hotel a bunch of us decided to extend our night and hang out at the hotel bar. We played a great game of kings (we made up a lot of rules), drank a little to much and had a genuine good time. Once the bar closed we headed upstairs and had a little hotel room party. Good, good night.