Embarking on a 4-week summer escapade across Europe was a dream come true for our family and a journey filled with unforgettable memories.

Little did we know that behind the dazzling Instagram photos of flawless moments, our Euro trip was sprinkled with several mistakes and hair-pulling moments.

So buckle up, fellow travelers, as we unravel the tales of our mishaps and unveil the lessons we learned in the most unexpected corners of Europe. It’s often in the missteps that the most valuable travel wisdom is gained.

Catching the Red Eye to Europe from the USA

For those who are unfamiliar with the term “red eye flight”, it’s used to describe a flight that leaves in the evening and lands the following morning. Sounds convenient? Wrong.

Unfortunately, there is no real way to avoid a red eye if flying from the East Coast. They’re all overnight flights plonking you in Paris at 8am, which is 2am East Coast time. As it’s only a 6-hour flight, and a challenge to sleep on planes, it means you arrive in Paris early in the morning exhausted and you have an entire day before you go to sleep.

Getting a Taxi from Paris Airport

Doing the math for all four of us on the train into Montparnasse vs a taxi, the taxi was slightly more expensive, but appeared quicker. WRONG! It took two and a half hours to get into the city!! After a red eye from the US that was one of the worst taxi rides of our life!

Hiring a Car in Paris

We had a car rental booked from Charles de Gaulle to drive to the Loire Valley after flying in from  at the end of our trip. Again, this was all booked before we knew what Paris traffic was like. We were caught in Paris traffic for another two hours trying to get OUT of the city!

Possibly Cut France from Itinerary

While we all loved Paris and the Loire Valley, we feel it may have been a better decision to save it for another trip and focus just on Italy and our river cruise. It was quite a distance from our other destinations and Paris was an exhausting stop after a red eye flight.

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