COST BREAKDOWN: AROUND A WEEK IN PARIS

This cost breakdown of my Spring break trip was inspired by The Luxe Strategist. She is one of my favorite bloggers and my favorite financial blogger. If you haven’t already  started following her, I highly recommend you do!


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To me it meant a lot to travel to Europe. My entire life I had flown back and forth to India almost every year from the time I was eighteen years old to twenty-two. Despite all the stamps on my passport, I had never visited Europe and really wanted to experience what that was like. This past July I went to England for the first time and this past week, I visited France.

I traveled to Paris, France with two co-workers and we all had distinctively different styles which I believed added a lot to each of our experiences.

I decided not to include any pre-trip expenses as well as shopping while there. I did shop a lot and will be sharing a diary of that at the end of the month.

Cost Breakdown 

I spent $1,651.46 for my time in Paris. We had stayed there for 4 full days and two half days.

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You can also get an idea of how much everything cost day by day. I decided to divide this by 5 because with the half days, we really had 5 full days in Paris. I actually only had four because I got so sick one day and couldn’t do anything. However, that doesn’t influence any of the categories except for food/transport.

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Flight= $745.35

We payed a pretty penny for our flight, it was $745.35. I think if I were to visit Paris again, I would go during February and go through London first. Though I will admit that it much easier to get through the airport in Paris than it was in London. A friend messaged me that he was planning to do that with his wife and got tickets for under $400, but at an off peak time.

Our airline was pretty much the international flight equivalent of Spirit airways. It was super barebones. But it did provide an in flight meal as well as a free checked bag. Those were two things I tried to not compromise on when booking my flight.

Housing=$296.52

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I need to offer a huge thank you to everyone who recommended the neighborhood of Le Marais. Many people confirmed that this was a great neighborhood to stay in. Several years earlier my financial counselor had visited Paris and stayed in this very neighborhood and was kind enough to even share walking tours of different neighborhoods with me. It was much cheaper than other neighborhoods and was pretty close to almost everything we wanted to do. We could walk, take the metro or split an uber to everywhere we wanted for a super small cost.

I adored my airbnb. It was pretty small for three people but beautifully decorated and a good compromise because I didn’t want to spend anymore on housing costs.

If you’re interested in trying Airbnb, use this link for $40 in travel credit. After your first trip I get $20 in travel credit.

Food- $225.63

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The meals in Paris were not cheap but everyday we unintentionally skipped at least breakfast or lunch. We ate lots of pastries and croissants to compensate for this. I thoroughly enjoyed our food as well as the delicious desserts.

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I should have guessed it, but I didn’t realize how important potatoes were to French cuisine. It did feel super heavy to eat though!

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There’s a huge coffee culture in France that I really enjoyed. People also drink orange juice with a lot of their meals. It’s also almost always cheaper to get the combo meals that you can then spilt with others.

Local Transportation= $84.96

This number includes the cost of an uber to and from the airpot. Super cheap, right? In most instances, ubers were a great option because we could spilt the cost 3 ways. Most rides ranged form costing between $2.50-$5. At times I opted for the metro which is around $2 or we would just walk because so many things were within a 20 minute walk from us.

Activities=$299.00

I’m so happy we didn’t get the Paris pass. But we still overspent on activities. We didn’t realize how tired we would be once we reached Paris and didn’t even do everything that we had payed in advance for.

It was really helpful to pay in advance for museums though and buying a “skip the line” ticket for the Palace of Versailles was one of my favorite experiences from the entire trip. The tour guide was funny and we literally saw ourselves skip a huge line of people.


 

Overall, it was a great trip! My inner frugal person knows I could do it again just a  bit cheaper and one day I intend to do that. I think it’ll be a few years until I visit Europe again (or at least, European cities).

Have you been to Paris? What was your experience like? 

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The Dress That Doesn’t Fit

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*See the original post on Instagram*

Fun fact: The dress I’m wearing here was thrifted for less than $30. It seemed like such a steal, it still had the tags on and was from Nordstrom. I bought in on a whim, assuming it would fit me. Another fun (or not so fun) fact, it doesn’t. It zips halfway and then meets the point of no return and lies open. The two halves of the zipper just decided that they refused to meet and the distance between them was too large to travel.

In the past, when I put on clothing, I felt as though it was my responsibility to fit in my clothes. That my body should change to meet the demands of changing fabric.

“When I lose weight, I’ll wear those pants”

“I’ll fit that dress after I start working out”

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Newsflash, I now eat (pretty) clean and workout regularly but as I tried my best to zip up this dress I realized that it just wouldn’t fit, that it may never fit. That my torso is the smallest part of my body. That it’s pretty much as small as it can get for me while still being healthy and that even if I lost more weight, my naturally medium frame would need to be smaller to fit that dress.

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So I decided to be okay with this dress not fitting. To be content with the fact that my bones and chest are broader than this dress is willing to wrap around. Instead of running after an unattainable and likely unhealthy perfect, I decided it’s okay for me to love my body even if it would never be a size 2 or 0. That maybe it means there’s just more of me to love.

Dining alone at The Ritz London

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While going out to eat with friends we would toy with the idea of dining alone. Would we dare? As if eating alone were some kind of accomplishment. But in a society in which many people are uncomfortable with themselves, in some ways I guess it is some sort of feat.

Some friends thought it seemed exciting, others said that it was something they would never want to do. Traveling alone to London has managed to teach me more about myself than I imagined, which is a topic I’ll explore more in upcoming blog posts. But today I wanted to write about dining alone at the Ritz, London.

At times I am exceptionally frugal, as evidenced by my decision to buy salads at grocery stores or cheap eats from Borough market for a lot of my trip. But I also love the occasional taste of luxury and at 57 pounds for an afternoon tea at The Ritz, London. It was definitely luxurious but worth every darn penny.

First of all, it is an experience. You start off with sandwiches and light desserts like a macaroon and lemon tart. You have your choice of tea and can add milk and little squares of sugar. Later you are given scones and jam and at the very end you have the choice of cake.

I often feel like spending time alone traveling is glamorized and as an extrovert/introvert I have to admit that I missed having a friend’s company. There were moments of awkwardness when realizing that there was no random conversation to fill the silence, just you and yourself. But there was also a feeling of freedom in taking as long or as little as I wanted to eat and feeling almost invincible in knowing there was a freedom in being in your own company with no-one to really judge you other than yourself.

Regardless, if you ever have the chance to ever have afternoon tea or afternoon tea at the Ritz, I couldn’t recommend it more.

 

How To Make: Momma’s Beef Curry (Kerala)

I’ve taken AP classes, graduated from high school and college, worked full time- the list goes on. Yet, the idea of making beef curry is more intimidating to me that any academic endeavor I could ever take. In this blog post I’ll be walking you through poorly taken pictures that outline very simply how my mom makes beef (in our case pork) curry. This blog post is for me to look back on but hopefully it can serve as a guide to you as well.

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Sauté ginger + garlic + oil (lots)

The bottom of the pot was coated in a layer of oil with ginger and garlic beginning to brown. 

Add in onions gradually.

We added enough to also cover the bottom of the pot completely. 

 

Add one heaping tablespoon chili powder

Add 2 heaping tablespoon coriander (gives the gravy)

Add 1 heaping tablespoon garam masala

Add 1 teaspoon of cumin powder

Keep in mind, this is not a science, it’s an art. My mom adds in spices based on what she sees is necessary. 

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Add a Sprinkle of asafoetida powder

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Add in beef, in our case we actually used pork instead.

Add water as needed so the pork won’t get dry.

Again, add in as necessary. Too much water and it was watery, not enough and it dries out. Use your discretion. 

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Cook, stir occasionally on high heat (approx 30-40 mins, we ended up needing to wait 50 minutes)

We added 1 additional tablespoon of chili-powder because the dish seemed to be lacking color.

We also added 1 tablespoon of tumeric to adjust to what the dish seemed to need.

When the dish is almost done, add in 1 more tablespoon of garam masala.

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IT’S DONE! This ended up taking 50 minutes instead of the 30 minutes we anticipated.