Friday, April 29, 2011

Vacation Question

We're in the process of planning our first official vacation as a married couple.

And we've been married for almost 3 years!

Due to circumstances, some beyond our control (losing our job, getting delayed in starting our new one,) and some within our control (choosing to spend money on things like living room furniture or towards student loan debt,) we have not yet had the funds to take an actual vacation.

About 10 months ago, we set up an extra bank account to automatically put money in towards a vacation fund. We've dipped into it twice now, for spending the night in the Big City, but other than that we've been able to save some (a very tiny amount) of money.

All of that to say, we're finally starting to think about where and when we want to take that first vacation.

We know we want to get out of the Arabic speaking world, to give our minds a break and to be able to let our cross cultural guards down a little bit- so that rules out the Middle East, parts of Eastern Europe, and some of North Africa.

We also know that our work is flying us to Turkey, for a conference, in the fall, so we want to not use up all of our vacation funds in case we want to extend our time in Turkey into a mini vacation.

We also don't really feel like venturing into Asia right about now. Truth be told, Asia isn't high on my world traveling priority list, I'm not really sure why.

We'd really like to go somewhere where we have friends, in order to get some fellowship and it not just being Ian, myself, and Grace, in a foreign country (because we do that enough already, honestly.)

So, we're looking at going to France! In August! It's just an inkling of an idea, so we'll see if it actually pans out. We have friends that live in a Mediterranean coastal town in France so we'd have free lodging for awhile.

We know we'd fly in and out of Paris, so we would just have to book a hotel for a couple of nights. (This part makes me nervous- does anyone have a place they would recommend?)

My real question is....How do you do it? How do you plan a vacation to a foreign country (or, I guess anywhere,) and not feel like you have to see everything?

I figure, we'll only go to France once on vacation- how do we manage to fit in everything in that whole country into just two weeks? This stresses me out to no end. I know France has so much more to offer than the couple of days we can give it, but narrowing down what we will see is going to be tough.

(I've been to Paris, by the way, but only for about 24-36 hours, before we moved on, so I know we'll go back and see the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre. What else in France do you think are "must sees?")

I suppose this post should have been entitled vacation questions, since this turned out to have more than one question. Any and all advice is appreciated here!


Unknown said...

Use before booking a place to stay. They are the best site for reviews and opinions on everywhere. It provides rankings in comparison to other hotels, etc. We use it on every trip, and are never disappointed, and the majority of the reviews truly reflect the location.
Have fun!!

Erika said...

I have been to France twice. The last time was for our honeymoon. I strongly suggest buying a RIck Steves travel book. He's amazing! He will help you plan 2-3-7-10+ day trip hitting all the main sites you want...and tells you the cheap ways to do it too. Also if you go to the museums, download the Rick Steves audioguides (better than spending 6+ euros on one there) and his audio tours are way better! You are going to have a great time. And people in France really do love babies and mamma's, so you will get the royal treatment. Have fun! Email me if you have any questions:-)

Unknown said...

However you get there you will LOVE it. France is such a stunning country!

The Barker's said...

I think you made the best decision! I went to france about 11 years ago and it was amazing! What about finding a tour group to tag along with and hit the major spots? We traveled with CHA (I think that was the name) and our friends just went there a few weeks ago and went with a tour group. That way you are forced to "pick" which areas you want to see and do! How fun!