When Donna and I started discussing the idea of traveling together, our goals were mostly focused on our shared genealogy. With both of us having northern european ancestry, we were considering primarily England, Scotland, Ireland, and Scandinavia. But Paris, and France in general, had always been a travel goal for both of us – and wound up being our first choice. While later doing some genealogy research in our ancestors’ hometown, we found a written account from a cousin in the 1920’s that suspected the Hewlett surname our great-grandparents shared was originally spelled “Hulet”. The writer suggested those ancestors were likely Huegenots from northern France, which to us made France the perfect choice for our first trip to Europe!

Donna and I have been on multiple road trips together. Living in Kansas City has given us plenty of opportunities to research nearby in Missouri, Oklahoma and Kentucky. Our next domestic research destination will be Virginia, probably next year. But I digress. The reason I bring up roadtrips is because you REALLY get to know your travel companion when riding together for hours at a time, as well as sharing meals, hotel rooms, and every decison that goes along with multiple overnights. Luckily we have found each other to be compatable travel companions. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned in regards to “buddy” traveling:

*Make sure you’re interested in going for similar reasons: Our shared love of history, music, food and wine make Paris a no-brainer. And wherever we go, we’ll at least find the food and wine…

*Utilize each others strengths: Donna is a meticulous planner who researches every detail. I’m a little more spontaneous, but like to have a “working plan” with some wiggle room if we decide to change it up. This works for us since our goal is the same – to squeeze every ounce of “joie de vivre”from our adventures!

*Communicate if you have a differing idea or opinion: Best to be honest about concerns, particularly regarding comfort, health, safety, or money. For example: “These shoes are killing my feet, mind if we take an uber this time instead of walking?” (I fully expect one or both of us to say this several times on every trip).

*What’s our budget?: We talk about this in detail ahead of time – where we’re willing to splurge, and where we’re willing to cut-back. I can’t stress this enough – make sure you’re on the same page with this one. We agree that spending a little more on accomodations in a central location where we can walk or have easy access to public trasportation is worth the extra money. Also, going on a few guided day tours or an overnight outside of the area we are primarily staying in gets us the most variety out of our trip.

Now it’s time to finish packing and say bon voyage, see you when we get to Paris!