Have you waited much too long to travel to France and built up great expectations over many years? Are you ready to take the leap, with no further delays? Will this be the year you see Paris, at last?

What a wonderful decision! And I know your trip can be exceptional and life-changing. But take care to make the right choices as you move ahead.

If you have not traveled to France before, or even if you have, believe me when I tell you this. Do NOT waste your much-anticipated trip to France by settling for a group trip. Be firm that you will travel to France independently.

But, equally essential… Do NOT waste your hopes and dreams by heading off without a full plan and all your necessary bookings made before you leave. Give yourself the trip you have envisioned in freedom, but avoid stress and disappointment by following a trip plan designed by an expert, with all your essential bookings made in advance.

There are many reasons to make your trip “free from the bus.” One top benefit is that you then will be free to enter into crowd-avoidance mode, moving against the crowds, not with them.

As appealing and easy as an advertised group trip may sound, pause for a moment and think about it. If you are part of a group of 30 people heading in the same door, or taking in the same masterpiece, or ordering lunch, you are, by definition, ALWAYS traveling in a crowd.

If you are traveling independently, when a tour group swarms in, noisy and oblivious in its “crowd bubble,” you will be free to use your flexibility to go somewhere else for now until the mob disperses. Then you will return when the crowds thin out, and see what you came to see without obstruction.

And, if you are use an expertly pre-planned trip, you will be in the know. You already will have purchased the “magic” of a Paris Museum Pass that will allow you to walk past the lines at the museums in Paris, or a timed entry ticket so you can immediately step into the elevator of the Eiffel Tower (and eat lunch or dinner there if you have pre-booked your reservations).

Using the know-how and experience of  your “Great Trip Guide” Day-by-Day trip plan,  you will travel smoothly, with essential know how. You will activate your Paris Pass (that will allow you to bypass the lines to the Louvre and d’Orsay, where the lines are impossible!!). But you will activate your pass NOT at the Louvre or d’Orsay with the ticket lines you are attempting to avoid, but instead in the small souvenir shop across from Saint-Chapelle.

And, then, Paris pass in hand, you will be all set to enter as many museums in Paris as you please, gliding past the line and in through the doors. Also importantly, you will be able to enjoy many  experiences you otherwise might have skipped, going round and round about them one by one to decide if you are willing to spend money for entry when you only have limited time for a visit.

Traveling independently, but with a plan, you will have the luxury of thinking strategically about where the crowds are NOT and going there. And you certainly will make your restaurant reservations in advance so you can be certain to have a table, preferably at an outdoor table!