Thursday, September 29, 2011

odds & ends

I know you thought I was done talking about France, but I thought I'd share some random things that I noticed or found convenient on our trip:

MetrOapp If you get one app on your iPhone (not sure if they have this app for other types of smartphones), get this one...MetrO.

It is free and it works for 400 cities (though I only tried it for Paris) and you can use it while you have your phone on "airplane mode" (not roaming).

The 400 cities it works for have mainly train/subway type of transportation systems.

Choose the city you want to use it for.

Put in the station you want to start at (green flag) and the station you want to end at (red flag) then hit the "running man".

It will give you the shortest route to get to your destination. We used this along with a tourist map and got around pretty quickly.

If you hit the "back arrow" it will give you information for the reverse direction of what you just entered.

unecarnet A ride on the Paris metro is 1.70 euros, this includes transfers as long as you don't step outside the station. (Unlike Japan's system which charges by distance and for most transfers to other modes of transportation.)

We bought a carnet (book of tickets) 10 tickets for 12.50 euros and shared it. It can be used on the Metro, RER (some areas), Bus (some areas), Tram & Montmartre Funicular.

So, you can transfer from Metro to Bus, and all sorts of combinations.

TIP: A lady at a shop told us that if you use a ticket to ride from point A to B, do your shopping and then get back on within an hour, you can use the ticket longer than you are supposed to (for 2 rides than just 1).

We tried this several times and were able to use our metro tickets longer than they are intended for.

Not too sure but I think there is a one day pass for the metro too.

elisetran I used a shoulder type bag while traveling. It was really convenient to keep an eye on my things, to have them right in front of me.

Never have your bag resting on your backside.

TIP: our tour escort gave us long twist ties to "lock" our zippers. Stick the twist tie into the eye of the zipper handle and wrap the twist tie around your bag straps. It is good for when you are at sight-seeing spots, where you may be "busy" taking photos and not paying much attention to your bag. It isn't too good if you are out shopping, p.i.t.a. to take your wallet out frequently.

inmybag In my purse I had these items...a folding umbrella, my passport holder, a wallet, pocket tissue (just in case the bathroom didn't have t.p.), sunglasses, mints (by the way, those VerMints are spicy! plus I think with the addition of ginger they help with motion sickness), iPhone, a moleskine Paris notebook (with maps and places to write addresses and notes down), a pen.

Oh and my digital camera.

Also handy were a set of utensils, this was good when we ate in our room and on our picnic.

I also brought these sachets, for my shoes. I didn't bring more than one pair of shoes, so these sachets were necessary.

If you have your own shopping bags, they are convenient too, not all markets give bags.

Ooh and bubble wrap is good to have too, especially if you buy wine or jam (or both).

Some places we picked up foods for dinner are Daily Monop', Monop', Franprix, Carrefour City, these are a combination convenience store and supermarket and sell toiletries, pre-packaged foods, alcohol, fruits and veggies. We didn't have a way to heat up food so most of the foods we bought were ready to eat.

alolivier I bought these mini-dressings by A l'Olivier at La Grande Epicerie...6.30 euros. They come in a box of 12, 4-olive oil + balsamic vinegar, 4-olive oil + citron + balsamic vinegar and 4-olive oil + basil + balsamic vinegar.

They are about 1 tablespoon (20 ml) each and I think they would be perfect if you are staying in an apartment while in Paris. I used one on roasted veggies when we came back from our trip and it was delicious.

cdg92011 (4) On a side note: I noticed that all the clocks in the Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport were Rolex.

And on a funny note: This was our first time to Schiphol Airport (AMS). We had gone to Amsterdam for our honeymoon but had not gone through the airport. It is beautiful and if you have some time you should check out Rijksmuseum, it is free and a nice way to see what the museum has to offer.

The thing I really enjoyed listening to were the airlines call late passengers... "Mr. (insert name here), you are delaying the flight. Please proceed to gate (insert number) or we will proceed to off-load your luggage. Thank you".

Hope these tips were helpful, are there any specific items you travel with?


jalna said...

Awesome travel tips!! Thanks! Kinda scary about having to twist tie your zippers shut.

K said...

Great travel tips!

Japan Australia said...

Some great travel tips and that looks like a handy gadget :)

Japan Australia

K and S said...

Thanks Jalna, I know scary but better safe than sorry :0

Thanks K!

Take care you two.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a very nice time. Wonderful tips! Thank you!

Rowena... said...

I'm still laughing at the airline call! What really shocked me is the extra precaution for pickpockets/purse thieves. I was in Paris only 4 years ago and didn't feel like I had to be super careful, but what with the economic crisis and people out of work... Were you guys always with a group or sometimes went off on your own?

K and S said...

Thanks Paz, we did :)

Actually someone in our group had their passport taken Rowena, I am not sure when though. For most of the tourist spots, we were with the group, only towards the end did we have more free time for our own gallavanting.

Take care you two.

Tamakikat said...

Hi Kat,

great ideas implemented in great ways-especially like your cutlery holder.

I do similar things to you.

I take wet tissues with me as well as tissues.

I always buy a 500ml plastic/pet bottle of tea before getting on the train to the airport, finish the tea before going through the baggage check but keep the bottle, and use the bottle for a water bottle for my trip.

I am also very fond of ziplock bags. I use small ones to store different country currencies and the like. And large ones for storing bottles of liquid etc.

I also take a foldable bag for souvenirs bought along the way.

K and S said...

great things you bring TK, thanks for sharing!

Take care.

Deb in Hawaii said...

I love those mini dressings--anything tiny is always so much more fun. ;-)

K and S said...

I agree Deb!

Take care.

ParisBreakfasts said...

Love the idea of the shoe sachets - I definitely can use those.
And the MetrO app.
I never travel without wearing a sports bra - I stash my credit cards on one side and cash/passport on the other - so no need to worry about thieves though i wouldn't like to lose my sketchbook.
Thanks Kat

K and S said...

that is interesting about the sports bra PB! I don't think I have "enough" to hold things in there :)

Take care.